2 Samuel 11-12, 1 Chronicles 20: Hope For the Unborn

The subject of today’s reading was the story of David and Bathsheba. This is a familiar story to most of us and it is worthy of more exposition than I can provide here. I wrote briefly about a particular aspect of this story in a previous post, which you can read here. And, for a very unique and moving take on this story, you can read the poem Uriah, by John Piper.

So, instead of addressing the story itself and all of it’s Gospel implications, which are many, I wanted to share a personal story.

Before Jessica became pregnant with Caleb, we suffered a miscarriage. Now, this is not uncommon, but commonality does not diminish the pain. We were rocked to the core with grief and spent many days mourning the loss of our first child. It remains to this day the most difficult point in our marriage, and I have a new and deep empathy for those who have lost a child through miscarriage.

It shouldn’t surprise you to hear that I began wrestling with the fate of my baby’s soul. I have always heard people say with confidence that every little baby who dies goes to heaven, but I had never heard anyone defend this notion from the Bible. Most times it seemed like people just wanted to feel comfort, and I understand this. But I wanted to know if I could truly believe my baby was with Jesus, because I desperately wanted to believe it.

As I studied, I was very helped by the book The Five Dilemmas of Calvinism by Craig Brown. In the final chapter of this little book, Craig deals with this issue delicately and excellently. I commend it to anyone dealing with the loss of a small child.

But what was most helpful for me was a particular verse from today’s reading.

David’s one night stand with Bathsheba produced a child who, after battling with a serious illness, died in infancy. David fasted and prayed continually while the baby was sick, but after he died, David resumed his daily life. His servants, rightly confused, ask David why he is no longer mourning, even though his child is now dead. And this is David’s response:

“While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”

Now, I don’t know if we can develop an entire theology on one verse, but David’s claim that he will see his child again brought me immense hope. He was so confident that death was not the end for him that he ceased mourning once his child had left. I don’t think that it would be unwise to carry with us the same hope, and what a sweet hope it is.

It is completely within God’s power, and totally consistent with His nature, for us to believe that every baby who dies is His elected, adopted child. And these children have been given a truly unique gift of grace. For, like my baby, the first face they ever see is that of Christ! No sadness, no corruption, no rebellion, only grace, beauty, and glory. These babies were created by God to enjoy Him forever, virtually without ever knowing anything else.

Yes, I believe that all babies who die are saved, and I believe that we can be as confident as David in this. And one day, I will meet my little baby face to face, and that reunion will be sweeter than a thousand days together on earth.

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