Four doctors in surgical greens stood before Dave and Jana at the Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena.
I stood by helplessly as one doctor spoke. "Your baby has died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. We want to give you a chance to hold your child before we take her."
I watched this young couple; their shoulders shook with emotion as they held their firstborn for the last time.
My mind raced to find something to say to the shocked young couple.
I wanted to tell them that everything would be okay, but that wasn’t true.
Their baby was dead.
All my pastoral training and experience seemed to fail me then.
"Dave and Jana," I began, with words that were broken and slow, "I don’t know why this awful loss has to come to you. But I know God loves you as if you were the only ones in the whole world to love. If you accept his love…if you believe he does love you, you’ll make it. If you don’t, you won’t."
Those were the only words I had for them. They seemed awfully empty at the time.
I choked back my own emotions while they tried valiantly to cling to their newfound faith.
But something happened in that hospital room.
Neither the couple nor I had words to erase the pain.
A Holy Presence invaded that place.
God joined the three of us.
Just as in the Old Testament story of the fiery furnace, when God himself came to comfort Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, we felt in the fiery trial of suffering an assurance that God was caring for us.
In all the pain, I remembered what a precious time we had a few weeks earlier when we dedicated their baby in the worship service.
I confess that a few times in my ministry, the whys from my heart have almost made me quit.
I am sure you have experienced similar anguish.
But in our heart of hearts we know that there is no satisfactory human answer to the problem of evil.
One day, after coming to Focus on the Family, I received a letter with a picture of Dave and Jana holding a beautiful baby.
H. B., you probably don’t think we heard you when you encouraged us to cling to the love of God when our baby died.
But we heard you ...
Continue reading this sermon illustration (Free with PRO)
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Owen Bourgaize on Oct 27, 2000
I read an amusing story about the first Duke of Wellington. An inventor was trying to interest him in a bulletproof waistcoat he had made. It was absolutely marvellous and could save the great man’s life if somebody tried to assassinate him. The Iron Duke asked the man to put it on, and he ...read more
Contributed by Henry Maxey on Jan 3, 2001
Truett Cathy, founder or Chick-fil-A shows he know what Jesus Would Do. Since 1948 he has lost millions of dollars because he will not have the restaurants open on Sunday. He has cared for children by developing the foster home system called WinShape Homes. His favorite truisms is "It’s ...read more
Contributed by Gregory Dawson on Jan 4, 2001
In his book, Just As I Am, Billy Graham writes of the following event. "One summer while in New Jersey, I was having lunch at a roadside diner when I was greeted by a big, smiling man whose eyes grew large as he studied me. “Hallelujah!” he shouted, grabbing and pumping my hand. “What an ...read more
Contributed by Simon Rundell on Jan 19, 2001
The devout priest was caught in a flood one day, and he climbed onto the roof of his Vicarage and as the water started lapping up over the roof he prayed “Lord, deliver me from this flood”. The water continued to rise and a policeman in a rowing boat passed: “Can I help you ...read more
Contributed by Ronald Zamkus on Feb 24, 2001
During the 1970’s when the San Diego Chargers had Dan Fouts as quarterback, in 1 particular game, both Fouts and the team were having a bad day. With 2 minutes remaining in the game, San Diego was down 14-0. Frustrations were high so the coach pulled the star Fouts and put in the backup ...read more
Contributed by Ed Vasicek on Oct 18, 2000
Often time, the difference between serving the Lord significantly and just using up the time period we call our lifespan is just a little bit of faith and courage; not a lot of it, just a little faith exercised in fear and trembling!