There’s No Such Thing as Other People’s Children

It’s better to feel pain than nothing at all.  The opposite of love is indifference.
- The Lumineers

I attended a baby’s funeral yesterday. If a person ever needed some sign that the world is not as it ought to be, it’s a baby casket. Baby caskets just should not be.

It was an unexpected death. There was no forewarning, no last goodbye from mama and daddy, no last hug from sister. She was just gone.

It’s hard for me not to feel angry with God. I know that God can take it as I shake my fist at him and demand answers. I felt like God’s PR agent and he had just totally screwed things up and it was up to me to fix it. Get it together, God. Stop screwing up simple things, like babies dying. You had better do right by this family, God. They had better not experience one more awful thing in their lives. You need to make this up to them. Do you see that little baby in the casket, God? She’s just sleeping right? She’ll take another breath and get up and hop on her little ride-on horse set next to the flower arrangements, right? You can do that. Why aren’t you doing that?

I hugged the daddy and told him he was a good daddy to her.  That he loved her well. He sobbed and said “I know”. I hugged the mama and told her the same. 

I will never know the right thing to say in a moment like that. All I know to do is show up.

I tend to mentally dwell on the events in life where God seems indifferent. It’s unhealthy. I can’t keep living in those small moments where I feel God’s fingerprint is lacking. I have to look where his fingerprint is, even when it’s hard. His fingerprint is in the people rising up and saying no to injustice, even at their own cost. It’s in the life of a little girl who is born of another woman who calls me Mama. It’s in grandmas raising their grandbabies, neighbors looking out for each other, people standing in the gaps for those being trafficked. There’s people saving babies from a dumpster, rescuing people from slave labor camps, and feeding refugees right now. Those are the fingerprints of God.

We all know someone who is suffering right now.  There’s a family down the street who is on the brink of falling apart. A neighbor of yours has a special needs kid and feels discouraged and alone. A friend of yours is working through a significant loss. There’s a woman whose husband is in hospice and has little kids to raise. She herself is overcoming a recent stroke and her husband is in a wheelchair next to her. And she says to me, “This church. It isn’t going to leave anyone behind.”  

We can’t leave each other behind. 

Love is not a concept. It requires things of us. We show up to those hard moments, even when we don’t have answers or know what to say.  We show up for each other. We remind each other that we are not alone, that we are seen in our suffering and that we will help each other through it.

Nothing can happen--no tragedy, no suffering--that cannot be survived through the love of God and people...when you say to me, "I will see you through this," I can endure.
-Jen Hatmaker

The people come, even through the roof, so that in our homes the weary find rest.




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