The Loss of a Baby: A Christian Perspective

October 15th Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is a day set aside for bereaved parents to remember their children, and for friends to reach out in support. On October 15th, at 7 p.m., people around the world will light a candle, turn on a porch light, or drive with their headlights on in honor of the babies who left us much too soon. This day of remembrance affirms bereaved parents, who may sometimes feel invisible in a society that often doesn't understand their loss.

Christian parents who have lost an infant face a special challenge. In some churches, there is such an emphasis on submission to "the will of God" that grieving parents may not feel free to express the natural emotions of loss – anger, guilt and depression. Christian women who have had an abortion, and regretted the decision, may fear criticism if they share their loss with the church.

However, the Bible has great comfort for parents who have lost a child. The Bible makes it clear that every child is precious to God, and that every child is a unique creation known to Him even in the womb. God tells the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, "I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb..." (Jeremiah 1:5, NLT) And Jesus made it clear to his disciples that babies and children are very important to Him: "Beware that you don't look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father." (Matthew 18:10, NLT)

Nor is grief a taboo subject. The Bible shows that God doesn't stifle grief, or resent its xpression. Books like Job and the Psalms echo with cries of pain and loss. Job was a good man who nevertheless lost all his children in one terrible day. The book of Job is an honest record of his pain: "My eyes have grown dim with grief; my whole frame is but a shadow." (Job 17:7, NIV)

A Christian woman who has had an abortion, and repented that decision, has no reason to fear that God will condemn her. The Bible compares the forgiveness of God to the vastness of the sea and to the fresh start of each new dawn: "As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:11-12, NIV)

And the consistent message of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is that death is a door – not a wall. Christian parents who have lost a baby have God's absolute assurance that the parting is temporary. Jesus' own words to His disciples before their parting may also be applied to Christian parents who have lost a child: "...Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." (John 16:22, NIV)

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