“You shall be comforted”

Some three decades past, I was called by my brother in law to my sister’s side at the hospital. My beloved younger sister was in mourning, having just delivered a still born babe. The baby had passed some days before birth, denying his heart broken mother the opportunity of taking him into her arms to lovingly caress him before his departing. Hers was a quiet grief, and through tears she sought comfort. Would I give her a blessing, that she might know God’s will concerning her, and concerning her perfectly formed but still born baby?

With humble heart, and moved by a grief that was palpable, I placed my hands upon her head, silently intoning for help from that Spirit which is revelatory, that I too might know, and speak as inspired from on High. In blessing my sister, the words came, and as best as I can recall, were something such as the following: “My beloved sister, I promise you in the name of the Lord, that provided you live worthily, you shall at a future time be privileged to take this little child in your arms and raise him to maturity, and this after the resurrection of the just. You will experience every joy with him which you would have experienced had he been born alive and raised from a child. No blessing concerning that child will be withheld from you. You shall hold him, and rejoice in him.  He shall be yours to raise in that future time, only be faithful.”

Afterwards I had reason to ponder over the words of my blessing. I knew that babies and little children are alive in Christ, and saved by Him, for they are pure and cannot sin. This babe however, was still born. I prayed and pondered much, and as I prayed and pondered, it was given me to know that this baby was alive at the moment he was quickened in the spirit, while yet in the womb. When that time was, I knew not, save that he was full term when he passed.

My heart goes out to those who grieve without consolation almost, even as the author of the following poem.

“I feel as though my heart must stop with pain.
I miss you so, the darkness will not pale.
My darling child, come to me again.
I know you cannot come, and still I strain
To put my arms around you through the veil.

I feel as though my heart must stop with pain.
Other lives and loves call me in vain.
I try to turn away from you and fail.
My darling child, come to me again.

You are my unendurable refrain.
Back and back I hurry to impale
My heart on you, to stop my heart with pain.
Yet nothing that I do undoes the plain
Brutal fact which always must prevail.

Ah, my darling, come to me again!
You are both my sunshine and my rain,
My dearest joy, my anguish, and my grail.
I feel as though my heart must stop with pain.
My darling child, come to me again.”

(Nicholas Gordon)

Can there be so great a grief, such as only a parent who has lost a little one can understand? But God is mindful, and for every tear shed in the loss of a little one, great blessings are in store, at another time and in another place, and it shall be even as was promised unto my sister in blessing. The promise of the Lord is that, “You shall be comforted…be still and know that I am God.”

We recall the words of Job in question, “If a man die, shall he live again?” (Job 14:14) Our faith and our hope is in Jesus Christ, of whom Luke records: “Jesus … saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. …Then opened he their understanding…And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day.” (Luke 24:36-39, 45-46)

He was seen by many, both singly, and in large groups, in the Old World and the New, for His comfort is unto all. We peruse holy writ, and are comforted in the hope of that which is the better. “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:19-22)

Latter Day Saints share additional witnesses of a literal and universal resurrection as described in the Book of Mormon. “The death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death. The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time…Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but every thing shall be restored to its perfect frame.” (Alma 11:42-44)

We are on a journey which is eternal. This life is but one step on that journey. Life does not end with this life. What we call death is but a beginning; a beginning and a doorway to greater living, all leading toward an eventual resurrection from the dead. The resurrection, when our spirits will be reunited with our bodies, will be that glorious time which will signify the end of our mortality and the beginning of our immortality.

It is my sacred witness that life does not end here. I know that Christ lives, and through Him I have a sacred knowledge of life beyond this one. I have seen my earthly father, gone from this life three decades past, and others of my loved ones. My father is well, he is the same man in appearance and in loving personality as when last I saw him. I know of a surety. Life does not end here.

I want to live worthy, and I am encouraged to do so for the remainder of my life in anticipation of a joyful reunion with my father and with my mother, and others of my loved ones who have gone on before. I want their association in the resurrection.

I am grateful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This Sabbath Day which commemorates His resurrection from the dead is a Sabbath Day holy like unto no other. Because He lives, we too shall live! We are most lax in seeking an understanding of so awesome an event. Again I say, because He lives, we too shall live! In that day shall the tears of righteous, grieving, parents be no more, for they shall behold and embrace their little ones; then shall they begin to understand the full measure of the love of their Redeemer, even Jesus Christ, amen.