Friday, December 03, 2010

Miscarriage and "The Necessity of Baptism"

So Wednesday morning in chapel (after Rachel called about the baby but while there was still a smidge of hope that the ultrasound might find a heartbeat), we prayed in the Great Litany for expectant mothers. And then on Thursday morning we had the story of Leah and Rachel and their children. And then during Bible class we discussed the article in the Augsburg Confession on baptism and how baptism is "necessary for salvation."

Bonnie asked about the thief on the cross. Pastor's mini-answer was that we don't know he wasn't baptized. But then the main answer: even if he wasn't, Jesus said, "Today you will be with Me in paradise." Jesus' word is what matters!! Pastor also pointed out that "without God's word, the water is plain water, but with the Word of God, it is a baptism, that is, a life-giving water." In other words, it is the Word which makes baptism what it is. It is the Word that has the power. It is the Word of God which saves, which imparts faith, which forgives sin.

I had to ask after class about little babies who die before baptism. In my intellect, I knew the answer. But I still needed to hear the answer.

Pastor re-spoke what he had said in class about the malefactor on the cross. He reminded me of God's desire to save the baby and that this child's lack of baptism would not thwart God's eternal plan. He reminded me that the baby had been hearing God's word. (And none of that "but the baby doesn't have ears yet." Go look at Romans 10:17 and all the stories where Jesus healed the deaf -- God's word creates hearing even when the person doesn't have the physical equipment to hear the gospel which is being preached to him.)

Pastor pointed out 1 Corinthians 7:14, where it says the unbelieving wife is sanctified by her Christian husband, and the unbelieving husband is sanctified by his Christian wife, and how their children are holy. He reminded me that "the Word of God is the only holy thing we have" and that is what Paul is referring to in his advice on marriage. But this also means that the Word of God spoken and sung in the lives of the parents is how the Holy Spirit is working faith in their children, "when and where He pleases, in those who hear the Gospel. And the Gospel teaches that we have a gracious God, not by our own merits, but by the merits of Christ, when we believe this."

And for the sake of my small brain which needs pictures and illustrations and simple explanations, he gave me an analogy. Nutrition is necessary that the baby might grow and live physically. Babies get their nutrition by suckling at the breast. But does that mean they don't get any nutrition before birth, just because they cannot yet suckle? Of course not. How silly. Things are different before birth. God provides nutrition in a different way prior to birth. In the same way, Jesus' blood is necessary to cover sin. God's Word delivers His atonement to us. But there are some differences in how that merciful blood is delivered to us before and after birth. (Okay, it's not a perfect analogy. But it's good. And it helps.)

Jesus took on human flesh in the womb of His mother Mary. He joined Himself to us that He might save His little brothers, even the ones still in the womb. "He was little, weak, and helpless. Tears and smiles like us He knew. And He feeleth for our sadness. And He shareth in our gladness." He became man and died for our sin that our babies might have the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. For the promise IS "to you and to your children."

Okay, y'all didn't need to hear that, I suspect. But I needed to write it out.


  1. I did..(need to "hear/read" it). I was trying to explain to james what I was hearing in Bible Class. Not that I don't understand what Pastor says-but only that when you take the time to write it out in this way and I can read and reread it; it seems to stay with me longer.
    Thank you, Susan. And what you write ALWAYS helps.

  2. Susan, it is always good to hear words like this. We both know others who have suffered the death of a child through miscarriage. Perhaps these words can help them find comfort in the loss of their children.

    Thanks for writing this.

  3. Yes, yes! Susan, that little baby's salvation is just as sure as yours is! The Father does not expect us to do the impossible - and baptizing a baby in the womb is physically impossible. He provides another way for those babies! Be sure you will meet that baby someday on the other side.

  4. I needed to hear/read this today, Susan. Your news and the news from others has brought back empathetic pain from when we lost a baby years ago. We all need to be reminded of the love our Father has for all of us, no matter what our age.


  5. Thanks Susan for posting this. Even though it's been two months since our loss, I still have some bad days and it is always a comfort to hear God's word, especially right now in regards to our lost baby. Thanks!