Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sentimentality and Infant Salvation

In “A Grief Observed,” C.S. Lewis discusses how he found himself focusing more and more on his perceptions of her personal attributes, but not necessarily what she was actually like. He feared that the further he traveled down the road in his remaining life away from the date of her death, the more his memories of her personality would diverge from the reality of who she actually was.

Similarly, we find that some grieving parents tend to sentimentalize the life and innocence of their children that have died at a young age. I, too, am guilty of projecting an unrealized future for our now-deceased child based upon an over-idealized past. That is, we tend think to think about how, if they were still living, how perfect and beautiful they would be, or how they would be engaging in such-and-such an activity, or excelling with this-or-that skill.

Living in such groundless sentimentality provides us with have no real basis upon which we can believe anything. This is of particular relevance as we consider the eternal destiny of anyone who has died as an infant or a young child. Such sentimentality provides us with no solid ground by which we can believe that our children will be saved for all eternity. As I discuss on the “Hope For the Mourning” website, we can take great hope in the fact that, by the blood of Jesus Christ, our children are indeed saved for all eternity.

It is crucial for us to understand that our children who died in infancy or as a young child are not saved because they were innocent or because of a projected “good” moral life had they lived longer; it is only by the blood of Jesus that our children are saved. Rather than drifting in an ocean of unfounded sentimentality about our children, we can rest in the strong and sure promise that Jesus of Nazareth, by his blood, has saved our children.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Commonplace Religion

Enduring significant suffering seems to create the opportunity to be drawn deeper into a relationship with God. In his book "The Call," Os Guiness writes, "If we have never had the experience of taking our commonplace religous shoes off our commonplace religious feet, and getting rid of all the undue familiarity with which we approach God, it is questionable whether we have ever stood in His presence. The people who are flippant and familiar are those who have never yet been introduced to Jesus Christ." It is certainly not necessary to have to endure significant suffering in order to get rid of a flippant religious attitude or what Guiness calls "undue familiarity" with God. But for me and for other grieving parents we know, we have realized through the death of our children how much more mysterious, profound, powerful and loving are the ways of God than what our simple minds had previously understood. When Christ calls us to follow him, He calls us to set aside our overly-simplified conceptions of who God is and know Him and His love for us through even the most difficult life events, even the death of our child.