We were all expectant and looking forward to a safe arrival – none more so than the parents to be. The anticipation was mounting as the due date drew near. A firstborn son was on his way and there was much excitement in the air for the newly wed couple, their family and friends. We were all looking forward to experiencing the unique joy that only a baby can bring and we couldn’t wait for those first photos and precious cuddles.
Almost a year earlier, Naomi and Matt stood before a crowd of witness to pledge their love for each other and dedicate their lives and marriage to God and His glory. Little did they know that their resolve to trust Him, no matter what, would be tested so soon.
Gabriel Jack was born soon after his due date, but never felt the passage through his birth canal. He never opened his mouth to breathe in the air of this world or fill his lungs to cry out his first wail. He never nestled at his mother’s breast or heard her whisper sweet nothings in his ears. He never opened his eyes to see his proud father smile at him with absolute delight. He never got to live in the home so lovingly prepared for him.
In the mystery of creation, Gabriel’s little body was perfectly formed, but his spirit was protected from being tarnished with the imperfections of this world. God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, allowed little Gabriel to be born directly into His everlasting Kingdom. It was there that he breathed in his first gulp of the fresh, untainted air of heaven. It is there that he is now nurtured and loved as a unique treasure. There his ears are open to the echoes of love that ring out across eternity and it is there that his eyes are able to gaze upon the wonders and freely look upon the face of his proud Heavenly Father who adores him. Yes, it was a safe arrival and he is free and living in the eternal home so lovely prepared for him.
Although it may seem to the contrary, Gabriel was indeed created to be born. His brave parents have released him into the arms of a loving God in the midst of their blinding pain. Oh how they grieve, and this is right and good, but they do not grieve as those without hope.
As they held Gabriel in the time after his stillbirth, they were able to say all the hellos and goodbyes their broken hearts could express. They shared him with their extended family and took him home for a few hours to finish reading the children’s Bible they had started to read to him while in his mother’s womb. In their sadness, they also rejoiced and gave glory to the One who gives and takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!
Whilst they could not see, hear or feel his real birth in the eternal realm, by faith in Jesus Christ Naomi and Matt are choosing to believe in the promises that declare that their son lives! Perhaps in due time they will be shown what incredible, joy-filled celebrations were held in honor of their son as he was born into the Kingdom of God that birth-day.
Those of us born into this world also have the opportunity to be born into this eternal Kingdom. The passage is narrow, the labor painful and few endure through unto the end to find life. Gabriel’s life brings to our attention a life-saving message that rings out for all those who have ears to hear… BE Born in Jesus Christ!
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John 3:3
The Bible tells us that exuberant celebrations are in order for all who will be born into this eternal Kingdom! (Luke 15:10)
I grieve with our beloved friends that they cannot have ongoing relationship with their darling Gabriel in this life. But I rejoice with them that he did get his safe arrival after all and I hold dear an anticipation of meeting this precious boy one appointed day.
Naomi and Matt are still ‘expectant parents’ and their parents still ‘expectant grandparents’. The joy of meeting Gabriel and living life with him has just been delayed… we are all going to have to wait a little longer than expected, but we believe the glorious reunion is on its way and of this, we are grateful.
I wonder if my own daughter, Naomi’s friend Bethany, who dearly desired to be a midwife in this life before being birthed into heaven herself, was present when Gabriel was born? I wouldn’t be surprised at all if God arranged such a thing. After all, He has woven the fabric of our lives together here on earth so it seems natural that the relationship we share should flow on into eternity.
Bethany was besotted with babies and perhaps she will help dear Gabriel grow up in the Kingdom and prepare him to be reunited with his parents when the time is right? I am not sure, but this I do know…
“Weeping may remain for a night – but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5
We love you dear ones. What has happened is not your fault but a tragic symptom of our broken, fragile world. But take heart! Our Lord Jesus has overcome the world! This will shape your lives for better or worse, but knowing you and the stand you have already taken, it will not destroy you or take root in bitterness. Instead, the depth of your suffering will create opportunities for your lives to be transformed into the image of Jesus and glorify God in ways nothing else could.
Rest and heal now in the arms of your beloved Saviour. He will restore your souls and lift you up as you wait, expectantly, on Him.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3
In loving memory of…
Gabriel (God is my strength) Jack (God is gracious) Tesch 14 January 2016
They say life is but a dash –that sacred space between the ordained dates of our birth and death.
The dash may seem large, it may seem far too small – or there may be no dash at all.
But each life is precious – uniquely fashioned by loving hands to live forever.
Each life has a destiny, a purpose to be fulfilled – if you are reading this, then you have been granted the gift of a dash.
In the light of those with no dash to shine, I ask myself,
“What will I do with mine?”