People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it."
~ Luke 18:15 - 17
Still to this day, the hardest thing I encounter is the death of a child. It doesn't seem to matter how "expected" the death may be, it still leaves me often feeling the loss.
While serving my last congregation, our pianist and his wife suffered the loss of two children. Both sons were loved, even though they had not taken their first breath, quilts were being made, plans for showers were being shared, and names were already chosen. It was as if the entire congregation was pregnant.
With both pregnancies, they died while their mom was still pregnant with them. It was as if there was suddenly this darkness that seemed to overwhelm the entire faith community. And then the word for both, that their mother would be induced to deliver each child. We awaited for them to arrive, but the reality was very different than what we had planned.
There were some very hard days ahead for the parents, as well as, many people from the faith community.
I can remember a member of the community coming to me and saying, "Children are not meant to die. They are not meant to suffer."
There were no words for me to say. I struggled to find a way to comfort her, and then I learned that the woman had lost a grandson in a terrible accident. These were more than just words, these were words coming from her broken heart. I just remember telling her how sorry I was for her loss, and just hugged her as she cried.
In the days of Jesus, children were being brought to him. The disciples tried to stop the parents from bringing their children, even infants to him. He tells them to allow the children to come.
These are the words that I remind parents Jesus shared. While we live in an imperfect world where bad things happen to good people, even children, we are reminded that Jesus is present.
While I may not have the words to share, our presence for one another, and the reminder that all people are important, makes what we do for one another meaningful. Even if that presence is a silent hug, or the simple sitting with someone and letting them know you care.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams is the author of the book, "Remember Me When..." and is a former hospice chaplain and pastor.