One and a half weeks ago, our new grand-niece Gracie Lou was born. She was three months early, but she had stopped growing, and the pregnancy was putting both her and her mother at great risk. So she arrived by emergency C-section on April 16, weighing just under a pound, not much longer than a new pencil.
For eleven days, Gracie received the best medical care available anywhere. She was saturated in constant prayer by countless friends, relatives, and those who didn’t even know her but cared just the same. There was certainly no lack of faith or commitment on behalf of the intercessors. She was loved and wanted. And she struggled, fighting for her life.
Yesterday morning Gracie died. Her underdeveloped lungs just couldn’t keep up. As her parents tenderly held her, she simply ran out of steam, and slowly let go of this world.
We know that Gracie is in heaven now. She no longer struggles to live. She’s surrounded by God’s love and care, and all is well with her. But her family still grieves.
Not only that, but God grieves too. In John 11 we read the story of Lazarus, Jesus’ very close friend: “Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. So the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick.’” Lazarus died, and Jesus arrived to find Mary and Martha in tears. Verse 33 continues: “When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. … Jesus wept.” Even though Jesus knew He was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, even though He knew that Lazarus would be in heaven when he died—and even though He knew exactly how wonderful heaven is!—Jesus shared the grief that Mary and Martha were experiencing. He too wept.
It will take me a while to process all that Gracie Lou’s short life taught us, and how taking her home so soon fits into God’s good, loving and perfect plan. In the meantime, please pray for Dave and Jonelle, and Gracie’s big sister Natalia, who is not quite two years old. Pray for the four grieving grandparents. And please pray that they are abundantly aware of God’s loving arms wrapped around them all.