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Saturday, November 20, 2010

November of Thanksgiving: 20

Twenty: I am thankful for the assurance of heaven and a gracious God who does not forsake children who die before they are old enough to understand their need of a Savior.

A few weeks ago when my husband and I arrived home from church, I stepped out of the car and noticed this leaf on the sidewalk. It was out of place. I thought, why did this one fall so soon? There were other leaves on the ground as well, but they had already turned their lovely, golden-yellow color, proof that their lives were spent. But this leaf was just starting to turn and it should still have been clinging to its branch. 

At that moment, I was overwhelmed with sadness. That very morning, our pastor had announced to the congregation that the wife of one of our beloved elders had been told that her baby had died in her womb. The family, and those of us who love them, were heavily grieved by the news. This is a good and right response to death. Death is a horrible, painful reminder that we live in a fallen world. It's closest companion is pain - both physical and emotional, and it steals away our loved ones without a thought for the wounds it rends in the hearts of those who are left grieving. 

"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope" (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

At the same time, we have the blessed assurance, the blessed hope, that one day we will meet that sweet baby in heaven and spend all eternity serving and praising our Lord together. This is one more reason that Jesus Christ died on the cross.  I have become convinced of and now rest in the truth that all little ones who have not matured enough in their understanding to be able to accept or reject God will not be condemned to hell. 

John MacArthur believes* that God embracing babies who die explains how this verse can be true, "And they sang a new song, saying, 'Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation' " (Revelation 5:9, emphasis added). 

Since the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6, Romans 10:17), and there are many, many tribes, tongues, people and nations throughout history that have never even heard of Jesus, let alone His faith-producing work, God's drawing those babies to Him is the only way that large portion of the heavenly population could exist. This is divine mercy. This is amazing grace.

"Jesus called for them, saying, 'Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these' " (Luke 18:16).

"O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" (1 Corinthians 15:55).

Join myself and many other bloggers as we participate in a month of thankfulness with Rebecca at Rebecca Writes. If you would like a button for your blog, you can get one at Lisa's blog, Lisa notes...

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*For a full treatise on this subject, I recommend you read MacArthur's book, Safe in the Arms of God, from Thomas Nelson.

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