Summary: This was a message I preached for the funeral of a premature baby that never came home from the hospital. Names and other private information changed.
O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is your name in all the earth, who have set your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have ordained strength, because of your enemies, that you may silence the enemy and the avenger. Psalms 8:1-2 (NKJV)
It seems that at funerals, we think a lot about how short life is – no matter how old the person was. Death always seems to come too soon. But I’m reminded of a passage, in 2 Pet 3:8
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 2 Peter 3:8 (NIV)
God’s perspective is so different from ours. Little Sarah’s life was 75 days long, giving God the opportunity to do 750,000 years worth of work. Time is simply not an issue for God.
That’s why Psalms can say “Out of the mouth of babes…”. God can use small and seemingly insignificant things to accomplish his purpose. As a matter of fact – that is what he chooses most frequently.
We seek the aged and the learned. But sometimes the greatest lessons are learned from the smallest things. If we’re not listening, we may miss it – but sometimes God is speaking to us through a baby.
First of all, Sarah teaches us something about faith. I remember how that from the beginning, everyone said she was a fighter. And the fight that was in her spirit certainly contributed to her survival. But ultimately, she was too weak to live on her own. She depended on others.
We felt much the same way. We were all fighting for her. If we could have willed, breathed, anything… But ultimately we were as weak as Sarah concerning the challenges she faced. We depended on the doctors, we depended on God.
Sometimes we think of faith as a personal strength. But in reality – faith is only born in weakness. Some might say, I didn’t have enough faith. But the Bible never speaks about the quantity of faith – only the quality. Luke 17:6 – mustard seed. We can’t take any credit for the size of our faith… Faith is knowing who we can depend on when we are weak.
Greg and Susan, and this entire family had great faith. Along with Sarah, their spirits fought. But they knew where to take their weakness, and from the beginning – the dedicated little Sarah to the Lord, and covered her with prayer.
Because Sarah inspired this family to great faith, she also speaks to us of hope. We all hoped that she would be coming home from the hospital. We all hoped that we would hear her laughter in the Go Fish room here at the church. I love the kids, and I was hoping that one day I would be able to hold her in my arms and make funny faces at her (that’s really all I’m good for).
One might think that all of those hopes died along with Sarah. But that is not the case. You see, great faith inspired this family to commit Sarah into the hands of God. And that same faith keeps hope alive.
Sarah did come home from the hospital. She just bypassed 1158 McFarland Place [address of family - changed]. And thus hope is born in us like never before. If we have it – what is there to hope for? And so we still hope to hear her laughter, to see her smile. She’s healthy now – she’s breathing fine. And I can see her, in my mind’s eye, saying – Dad, Mom, Brother, Sister, Grandmas and Grandpas… Don’t ever give up hope!
Finally, Sarah taught us something about love. Every once in a while, an opportunity to experience true love comes along. That’s such an abused word in our culture today, isn’t it? True Love. But Sarah came along and reminded us of what love really felt like. She reminded us of the difference that love makes in the life of both the recipient and the giver.
After all – what is true love? It is giving of yourself without the expectation of a return. This is the incredible power in love. It is completely independent from the response. True love cannot be rebuffed. Others are powerless to stop the power of love. Whether the intended recipient recognizes it or not, whether they are able to receive it or not – we are so much the better for loving.
I watched this family, and this church, love little Sarah. And I saw a change. Other problems and worries lost significance. Loving that little baby brought us all together again, and helped to shift our focus to what is really important.