Raising children in Liberia, Africa, with a father who taught zoology, we were almost nonchalant about animal life and death, finding it all academically fascinating. None of this prepared me for what I met one early morning. Answering a knock on the door, I invited in a distraught mother from the village near our house.
She cradled in her outstretched hands a tiny infant. Clearly suffering from fever and dehydration, he barely had strength to whimper. We had some clout with the hospital authorities who had refused to treat the baby earlier in the day. They finally made a reluctant effort when we stood next to the poor woman with her child. Still, it was too late to save the precious life.
On Easter Sunday, the next day, I was wakened by the heartbreaking wail of a grief-stricken mother. All I could do was sit next to her, quietly joining her mourning. This was not a pedantic experience; grief etched it indelibly in my memory. I had little to offer my friend that morning. Only days later, as she continued to visit our home, was I able to share Resurrection hope and introduce her to a Savior Who could walk with her along the dusty trails of her poverty-defined life.
How precious is God’s gift of life! It may seem like a gasp, vulnerable and fleeting. Still, it gives us, by God’s design, an opportunity to breathe in His breath and permit the Holy Spirit to prepare us for what lies ahead once we have walked our assigned trail through death’s valley.
It troubles me that so much today robs us of this truth. We feel helpless as the global realities of violence, aggression and war cruelly snuff out human existence. Media’s virtual reality permits the stricken to get up and move on, thus dulling the pain and denying the loss – so different from real life.
A tiny life was snuffed out by cruel circumstances and neglect. No one felt the loss like his mother, my friend. I still carry a scrap of that grief in my heart remembering all it represents. I believe my loving Heavenly Father grieves, also. After all, His original design was very different.
We can’t go back to simpler, better days. Still, can we find ways now to protect our children’s natural love of animals and inborn sense of awe for God’s gift of life? Can we carefully plant the seeds from God’s Word in their hearts, nurturing them into the sturdy growth of eternal values?
I believe we must – and we can!
Luke 12:7 The very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows.