You may have heard the very sad news that baby Elijah died on Monday afternoon at the age of only 5 months 11 days. As Jess, his mum, said on Monday, “Elijah had spent more time in her womb than in her hands.”
All death is bad but when it reaches the young, whether it’s a miscarriage, stillbirth or as in Elijah’s case, with so few months on this earth it deeply grieves our soul.
Our minds race through with so many questions but we only have a few answers. But they are profound answers that speak hope into our grief.
We know that when God became flesh and faced the tears of two sisters (Mary and Martha) upset at their brother’s death, Jesus wept with them.
God becomes flesh and does what he expects us all to do; to weep with those who weep. The heavy rain this week reminded me of the tears of Christ for Andrew and Jess and their wider family and friends.
But Jesus not only weeps with us in our pain he tackles death head on. Our Lord both defeated death in his resurrection and will return again to destroy our final enemy, death, once and for all.
As a child of parents who believe in Christ, Elijah is deemed to be in the covenant of grace. He is viewed in 1 Corinthians 7:14 as being ‘holy’, not because he escaped the sin and guilt of Adam but because he too has been washed by the blood of Jesus.
We take heart that Elijah is part of the new creation where there is no more grief or pain or death.
In the meantime, the body of Christ is to express Jesus’ love for those who suffer. Jesus cares through our love, our tears, our meals, our hugs, our words of support, and our prayers. I thank God for your ongoing support of Jess and Andrew and their wider family.
We are all impacted by this news. We realise that we can’t take life for granted. We understand that life is fragile and time is precious. One person told me that they have been hugging their children more since hearing the news of Elijah.
We don’t have all the answers but we know that we are called to love our children for as long as we have them and that is what Jess and Andrew have done. They have been loving parents who cared for Elijah to God’s glory.
Jess wrote on facebook,
“I wake this morning with a hole in my heart. I will never get to hold this tiny, fragile body ever again. But I know I will see your gorgeous smile again when I come to be with the Lord. He will look after you better than I have and ever will. How I need you though. I got used to waking up early each day to come and visit you in your hospital bed. You would sometimes be upset but when I held you, I knew you felt at home. You would never fail to give me (or anyone) a smile. And when I got the camera out, I dunno you realised you could make this a fun game of us finding creative ways to get a picture of you smiling lol.
I'm so glad you waited for both daddy and I to be with you before you left us. For us to be with you when you did. I got to hold you right before you said your goodbye to us. And I am so glad I got to hold you when you left us. I wish I could hold you forever, but no, I have to hold you in my heart, forever. Until we meet again. I know you will enjoy Jesus’ presence more than mine, my sweetheart. I love you.”