[Yesterday morning a man in our church requested a copy of a brief meditation I had given a few years ago at a memorial service for a stillborn child. He is currently ministering to a young woman grieving multiple children aborted before her recent conversion to Christ. I thought it might be useful to some of you as well. Only slight edits have been made to remove specific names.]
Some people may wonder why we decided to have a memorial service for an unborn child. Let me give you seven reasons:
- First, the obvious reason is to minister comfort and compassion to the parents, siblings, and extended family. Second Corinthians 1:3-4 says, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. The church is a body composed of many interdependent parts. When one part hurts the whole body hurts. Therefore, this moment in time is divinely-appointed for each of us to be trained to become a more effective “minister of comfort.” By nature we are not compassionate and, therefore, God has given us this opportunity to grow in this grace.
- Second, there are perhaps many of you here today whose past contains the grief of miscarriage or stillbirth. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will use this memorial service to minister to you in profound and perhaps unexpected ways. Sometimes people carry, for far too long, tears that have never been shed or feelings of blame that they were somehow responsible for their unborn child’s death. I trust our compassionate God to minister to your heart today. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted (Ps 34:18).
- Third, there are some of you whose pre-Christian past includes the sin of abortion. I know that if you could go back and undo that part of your past you would do so in a heartbeat, but you cannot. As your mind is directed to unborn life today, my prayer is that God will minister the fullness of His grace to your heart. God’s truth wounds us in order that it may heal us. My prayer is that you will experience true healing by reflecting on the fullness of the forgiveness that belongs to you in Jesus. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood…to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen (Rev 1:5-6).
- Fourth, we need to be reminded that because we are made in the image of God human life has amazing value—both born and unborn. It should be fairly obvious to all that we live in a culture of death in which the sanctity of human life is continually diminished. Abortion destroys the lives of millions of babies each year just in the U.S. alone. Euthanasia grows more and more common as the value of the elderly, as well as the disabled, is minimized. And in the quest for “the perfect child” or the building of “a superior race,” the science of genetics has given man increasing power to toy with the physical make-up of human beings or eliminate those who may be “more trouble than they are worth” from a godless perspective. Therefore, it is good and necessary for us to recognize the inestimable value of human life that results from the image of God being stamped upon us in creation (Gen 1:26-27; 9:6).
- Fifth, we must renew our minds concerning the value of children from God’s point of view. I have searched the Scriptures in vain to find a single negative comment concerning the receiving of children from God. Though strong words are directed at worldly, rebellious children and their parents, Scripture never considers children as an unnecessary burden, inconvenience, or distraction from a “more fulfilling career.” Instead, children are always viewed as gifts from God (Ps. 127:3), divine image-bearers. Thus Psalm 127 depicts the man whose quiver is filled with children as being blessed, and Psalm 128 depicts that same man as doubly-blessed if he exercises great care and faith in the raising of his children to walk in the fear of the Lord (Ps 128:3).
- Sixth, this memorial service is a means whereby we may express our belief in the sovereignty of God and have our faith strengthened. None of us knows why God chooses to take some children to be with Him before they are born. But we know that God is both sovereign and good and, for the believer in Christ, He works all things together for our good and for His glory (Ps 103:19; Rom 8:28).
- Seventh, the death of an unborn child, like all deaths, steers our spiritual eyes away from the uncertainty of this earthly life toward the eternal glory that awaits those who repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ by faith. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Rom 8:18).
May the Holy Spirit sent from heaven minister to all of us today as we consider these truths.