Summary: This was a message I delivered at the funeral for a child who had been born "still born".
(Funeral for a stillborn held at the church building)
During the viewing time I had an opportunity to talk with the mother (of the stillborn’s) son. He’s about 4 years old and was playing at reading a Bible in the back pew. I asked him if he knew what book he was “reading”. “Yeah,” he replied.
“Do you know what that book is called?” I asked.
“It’s called the Bible. It tells us everything we know about God.”
“Really!” he said.
“Yeah,” I replied. “And it has some really neat stories in it. Have you ever heard to the one about the man who was thrown into a lion’s den?”
“NO!” his eyes got wide.
We talked a little more and I said “Yeah, it has lots of great stories. It tells about a worldwide flood and a talking snake…”
“A talking snake? Was it real?”
“Oh yeah, that one was.”
The Bible is filled with powerful and intriguing stories… but perhaps the most powerful of those stories have to do with Jesus. And one of the most touching of those stories has to do with the time some parents “were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them.
But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’
And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.” Mark 10:13-16
OPEN: A woman had gotten a cartoon DVD for her grandson that told Bible stories. A couple of days later she got a call from the boy’s mom. "You have to get over here and talk to Tray!"
The grandmother asked “What's wrong?”
The mom replied “It’s that DVD you got him! He doesn't understand why Jesus had to die and he's asking all these questions about death and I don't know what to tell him!!
So she went over to have a conversation with Tray. He's only 4, so she tried to think of a very simplistic way to explain death. She told him “we love God and live for Him. Then after we die we get to go to heaven and live with him.”
Tray said, "But I thought Jesus lives in our hearts".
Oh my, she thought. But trying to keep it simple, she was going to say, "Well, before we die, He lives in our hearts and AFTER we die, we go to live with him in heaven" but I didn't get to finish her sentence. She started out “Well before we die, He lives in our hearts, and AFTER we die...”
And Tray interrupted saying, "Then we go to live in God's heart??"
And the grandmother said, "Yes, honey. That’s exactly right"
That little boy didn’t understand about death. He had questions that were hard to answer, but he trusted God so much that he KNEW there had to be an answer. And I think that’s one of the reasons that Jesus loved children so much. They trust God. They have faith that He will supply the answers they need.
So, when the disciples (thinking they were protecting Him from being bothered), when they tried to turn the parents away it says: JESUS WAS INDIGNANT. He was angry. He was furious. He insisted the parents be allowed to bring their children to Him… and then He took them in his arms, and He blessed them.
Why would Jesus do such a thing? Why would He insist on having those children brought to Him? Well, because children are precious to Jesus. Jesus loves kids. And because He loves kids, He understands how painful this moment is for you.
There’s something inside us that says – this just isn’t right. If we were having the funeral for a 70 or 80 year old person we could understand that. But a baby… a child… it’s just not right.
ILLUS: Years ago I had a funeral for 12 year boy. Brian was the sweetest kid. He loved Jesus and we baptized him into Christ and he ended up playing guitar with me at our Sunday night youth groups. But then one day, as he was carrying his niece down the stairs of his home in his stocking feet – he slipped. And he did the one thing a great kid like him would have done. He tried to protect his niece from getting hurt. But in so doing he fell and broke his neck… and he died.
At the viewing, someone commented: He died so young! He missed out on so much life. And it occurred to me that he was basically saying: “This just wasn’t right.” Brian was way too young to die. But then I realized how much God loved Brian. Brian was not just boy, he was a child of God. He belonged to God. And then I thought – Brian DID die young, but he hasn’t missed out on anything. He’s gone to heaven… and He’s with God.