I just finished doing a funeral for a baby that was lost about 4 months to birth. He weighed about 9 oz. Those who held him all commented that he was a beautiful, tiny, human being. Such a tiny casket — just a bit larger than a shoe box.
My grave side service took me into new territory.
I read the O.T. scriptures that speak of how God “knew me in the womb.”
I then talked about the funeral I did for the same family last year. It was for the patriarch of their family. A good man who was over 100 years of age. I remarked that there couldn’t be two more opposite situations.
Then I began to talk to them about the grace of God.
First, I described “transformational grace.” That was very clear in the previous funeral. The man had lived for God longer than any of us had been alive and God had done many wonderful things in his life.
Then, I described “prevenient grace.” I told them that this is “the grace that goes before.” Normally, we talk about prevenient grace in terms of enabling human beings to be able to respond to God — the Almighty at work in lives even before we ever think of him.
In this case, though, we see prevenient grace in its most simple form. The scriptures I read told of God’s knowledge of the unborn child before that child can ever recognize God or respond to him. I remarked that this life resembled a sheet of paper, totally blank except for three letters in the middle of the sheet — “G O D.”
It is because of prevenient grace that we believe that child is now in the care of God.
Finally, I talked to them about how God’s prevenient grace was at work in their lives too, but that they had to respond to that grace by allowing God to transform their lives — that without our cooperation, God cannot do anything to change us.
I came away from that little grave side service with a strong sense of having been helped by God to minister in a difficult situation. I have just written these things in an effort to “decompress” a bit. Thanks for reading.