After recently reading the wonderful little book Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back (Thomas Nelson, 2010), I saw the miscarriage from a new perspective. Todd Burpo’s book recounts the near-death experiences of his three-year-old son, Colton, who almost died from a burst appendix. After Colton recovered, he described with great precision the things he saw while on his own personalized tour of heaven, and his story is amazing. He told his parents in some detail about his operation and his family’s reactions to his crisis as if he had been looking down on them from above. He also described sitting in Jesus’ lap and looking at the “markings” on His hands and feet and meeting John the Baptist along with a man who fit the description of a great-grandfather he had never known.
His most compelling testimony, however, was about meeting a sister of his whose existence was unknown to anyone but his parents. The sister had been lost in miscarriage before Colton was born, and the parents didn’t even know that the child was a girl. In heaven, this child ran up to Colton and hugged him and told him that she was his sister who “died in [her mother’s] tummy”. When his mother asked what her name was, Colton simply replied, “She doesn’t have a name. You guys didn’t name her.” He then added, “Yeah, she said she just can’t wait for you and Daddy to get to heaven.” He went on to explain with childlike directness what she looked like, that she was okay, and furthermore, that “God adopted her”. After that, Colton kept on repeating that “Jesus really loves the children”—all children.
My heart was so touched by reading this book that I had a discussion with Connie about the baby we had lost through miscarriage. Our baby all of a sudden became real to me, to us, but like Colton’s parents we didn’t know the sex of the baby since it was impossible to tell that so early in the pregnancy. We decided to name the baby, and it was our daughter Britanny who came up with a name that could fit either a boy or a girl: Jamie. Such a perfect name! More than anything, the very parental act of endowing the miscarried child with a name helped me to restore the bond with the lost child and to recognize his humanity and value. I am the father of three children, one of whom is in heaven and, as Colton said, “can’t wait for me to get there”.
The book gave our own miscarriage experience a new interpretation. If every child is infinitely precious to God, no matter how small the child may be, then our society’s practice of abortion is truly abhorrent. I always knew that abortion is wrong—no one had to teach me that—but as a young man I never paid attention to the issue, which I always thought was just a political thing. Little Colton’s reflections helped me to understand the truth about the humanity of every unborn child. Each one is totally and fully human from the moment of conception. We have to recognize the value of unborn children and put our efforts behind every attempt to save them from abortion. I trust that God adopts all the innocent victims of abortion, but after reading that book, I can never again be silent in the face of such a great evil. God indeed reveals truth “out of the mouths of babies and infants” (Mt 21:16).
The favors of the Lord are not exhausted,
his mercies are not spent;
They are renewed each morning,
so great is his faithfulness.
My portion is the Lord, says my soul;
therefore I will hope in him.
-- Lamentations 3:17-18, 21-24
Excerpted from “A Voice Undefeated” by Colin Raye.