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I Know That Face!


By Robert Marsh

Taken From A Memorial Service for a Miscarried Child

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:16)

Today family and friends gather to grieve. The excitement of a long awaited pregnancy has come to a terrible, unexpected and painful end. In a time like this, we are cut to the very deepest parts of our souls. We are overwhelmed with emotion, with grief, doubts, anger and questions. “How could God let this happen?” “Why did it happen to us?” Those are questions for which there are few, if any answers.

I will not insult you by claiming to know what you are going through today. But I have suffered the sudden unexpected loss of my closest family member. In those days, I learned something that I want to share with you today. I learned that it’s OK to be confused, angry, and sad. I learned that God is sensitive to our pain and allows us, even desires us to express our emotions to Him.

In those days, I was drawn to one passage of Scripture that I would like to share with you today, because it just met me right where I was. These words were written by King David, and are found in Psalm 139:1-18.

I especially want you to hear the words of David from verses 13-16. “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.”

While this baby was never seen by us, He was seen by God. While his frame was hidden from us, he was not hidden from God. Even while his body was unformed, God knew him.

Verse 16 was especially important to me when my brother died. It reads “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before I lived the first one.” We often see death as untimely, or early – but God is in control. We are surprised, He is not. We grieve the loss, but heaven welcomes him home.

It may be surprising to you to know that King David, who wrote these words, also lost a baby. In the moments after that loss, David found comfort in knowing, “I can not bring him back to me, but I will one day go to him.” David rested in the knowledge that his little boy was with God, and he would be with him one day. Jesus promised that he was preparing a place for those who love Him, and He said, “Let the little children come to me, for the kingdom of Heaven is made up of little ones like these.” And He placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Your little, unseen, unformed, hidden baby is now one who makes up the citizenry of heaven. He has been welcomed into the arms of Jesus – and I don’t say these word figuratively – I mean them literally! I have no doubt in my mind that He has been embraced in the warmth, love and protection of Jesus Christ. His pierced hands rest on your child’s shoulder, tussle his hair, welcome him home.

In the last movie of the Lord of the Rings trilogy “The Return of the King,” there is a scene where a man is dying of his wounds, and his daughter runs to his side. As she places her face over his, he fixes his eyes on her, and in the midst of his shock and pain, his bearded face breaks into a smile, his eyes brighten, and he says, “I know that face!” He experiences great joy at the appearing of his child.

Today we grieve over the loss of a child whose face we never saw, whose form we could not recognize, but I want you leave you with this image in your minds. When that baby’s eyes were opened for the first time, they saw the glory of God. When those ears heard for the first time, they heard angels rejoicing. When those lips opened for the first time, they sang out in praise of God, and the first person to ever see that little face was Jesus, and His bearded face broke into a smile, His eyes brightened, and he said, “I know that face!”

Heavenly Father, in this hour of grief and sorrow, we need your touch. You have promised that you will never leave us or forsake us, but in these days, we need a very special reminder of your presence. Lord God, please bring your peace and give us the assurance of your love and mercy. Help us, Lord, to proclaim like Jeremiah,

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is your faithfulness!
Therefore I hope in Him!

By your mercy, Lord, do not allow us to be consumed by our grief. We place our hope in you, we trust in your unfailing compassion and your great faithfulness. We commit this beloved little baby to your care, and we look forward to the day when we will be with him, face to face, and with you, in the light of your glory, for all eternity. Amen.

©2010 Robert Marsh. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Bob Marsh is a pastor, church planter, and church planter coach. He and his wife Carol planted and ministered at Gateway Community Church in Mayville, WI for 16 years, before leaving to plant international churches in Germany in December, 2010. They have three grown children and one grandson. More information is available at www.ConvergeDarmstadt.com.