Very often, I’m asked to give comfort to people by telling them Sophia’s story. This is a response to one of those emails. The email is to L.P. whose grandson, Phoenix, was born with complications. I thought that this email might give some comfort to someone going through the same things with their child. I’ve adapted it with the grandfather’s permission.
In the name of Jesus. Amen. I got your email and paused because I wanted to collect my thoughts. Hearing about your story was like a shot to the chest – it reminded me of everything that we went through with my daughter.
My experience cannot do anything but tell you about what happened to Sophia. My daughter’s story is on my blog in various places (Sophia’s Reflection) and ("My Little Bump-on-a-Log"). But, hearing about other people’s experiences only gave me a little bit of peace, but it would pass as I rocked my daughter and wondered if I would be soon be preaching at her funeral.
Anecdotal peace is just that – anecdotal. It doesn’t change the nasty words and long named diseases that they talk to you about as you hold a child whose life is hanging by what seems to be an ever-thinning thread.
The place to go, the place to run, is not my daughter’s experience, but your Phoenix’s Baptism. That’s the only place where we find peace. What you know for sure is that your grand child is baptized. He’s a child of God. Nothing, absolutely nothing, not in the womb, not after he came out, not now, not in a few days, happens apart from the Son of God who loved him and gave up His life for your grandson. The only hope, the only peace, is in Christ. The only way we know that God cares for us when it comes to our children is in Christ.
In life. In death. In the resurrection from the dead. The only hope, the only comfort, the only peace is in Christ. Outside of us (extra nos!). For your grandson, for you too.
His Name on our foreheads is who we are, what we are, and what will be. We are children of God in Christ – and nothing – not even death itself will snatch that from us.
In the end, all our days, from in the NiCU, crawling, walking, running, playing, laughing, learning, studying, getting married, having kids, watching them grow up, being proud of them, holding our grandkids, getting old, falling asleep – all of the things that happen day to day are in His hands. Each particular day chosen by Him, given to us as gift, to use caring for others. We know this because for we have a Heavenly Father who didn’t spare the apple-of-His-eye, His beloved Son, to save us.
The thin line between life and death has already been clipped by Jesus. He went through our life and our death already. We are baptized. We died with Him. We rose with Him. Sophia has. Phoenix has risen too!
My daughter wasn’t supposed to do anything. Now she toddles around! What she can and can’t do comes to her as gift from a Heavenly Father who is Jesus-pleased with her. All of it, not one thing left out, happens in her Baptism. Every laugh, every tear when she needs stitches on her chin for falling, everything happens as a gift from her Heavenly Father. Not a thing, even death itself, will take those gifts from her. And if what the doctors once said of her not living very long comes true, then her Heavenly Father has more gifts for her in Christ than we could ever come up on our own. Oh yes, at the moment in which she falls asleep, He will be most of all her Heavenly Father.
"This one is the Lord’s." That’s the comfort! That’s the word I spoke over and over to my daughter. I still do. I speak it to my sons who do all sorts of boy-things. I speak it to my daughter as she toddles around. And if the day should come when their time here with us passes, I will hold them and say it again to them. "This one is the Lord’s." And if I should be gifted to run out of days soon, I have no doubt that they learned it from me enough to speak it to me too.
Yours too. He’s the Lord’s. Trust it. Believe it. Hold Jesus to what He did for Phoenix at His Baptism. In life. In death. Christ is the only hope we have. But… He is the most certain hope there is.
Our prayers are with your family.