Our son, Judah Chase Kerr, was born at 3:26PM on August 12th, 2019 weighing 2 lbs 5 oz. He is a beautiful boy, wonderfully made, knit together lovingly by the Father above. Judah never breathed his first breath. He went to be with the father early Sunday morning, one day before the day of his birth. But he lived a good life safe within his mother’s womb. We know that all of his days were written in the Father’s book long before he was even conceived. God is loving and kind and we trust that He knew what was best when he determined that number for Judah.
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. – Psalms 139:13-16 ESV
We went to the hospital instead of church Sunday morning because Judah had stopped kicking. Sometime in the early hours of the morning his little heart had stopped. The hospital staff was so kind. After an ultrasound confirming what we feared, they moved us to a labor and delivery room and began the induction process. After a trial of labor, he was born in the afternoon. We spent time with him cherishing his short life, and were eventually moved to a section of the hospital where Krystal’s recovery could be monitored. They did not put us with all of the other mothers who had just given birth. It was an act of kindness. The hospital has a “cuddle cot” which is a special bassinet designed to keep the baby cool so that your time with him is not limited. In the old days, Judah would have been taken to a morgue. Instead, we got to say our goodbyes in our own time.
Nowhere in the Bible is there a promise that followers of Christ will live healthy, wealthy, happy, perfect lives. Instead we are told to consider it pure joy when we experience trials. Jesus said it bluntly. “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33). We have found his words to be true. But we have also found Him to be kind, loving, compassionate, full of grace and mercy. We have seen his loving kindness throughout this trial.
- For example, God allowed us to be surrounded by family and friends. Krystal’s mom was able to get off work and her aunt helped her catch a flight in the day we were admitted to the hospital which is a small miracle. Our church family visited us at the hospital. Neighbors cared for our dog so that we wouldn’t have to worry. Our parents looked after Shiloh. Rob’s brother hosted everyone in their house near the hospital.
- God was gracious and allowed us to know that our baby was going to die in advance. We do not have an empty car seat to drive home with and an empty nursery waiting for us. We were also able to make intentional memories with Judah before he was born. Dr. Seuss said it best, “a person’s a person no matter how small” and we like to think that in his own way Judah enjoyed all of the adventures we took him on before he passed.
- God allowed us to have Shiloh before this experience. She is a bundle of both happiness and joy. She cheers us up!
In an experience like this your mind can go a lot of places, but we choose to praise God in this circumstance and have learned that You can praise Him in every circumstance.
- For example, one of the things you can start to think about is that there are people living totally wicked lives who seem to have no problem with their pregnancies despite their lifestyle decisions. It hurts. especially because we personally know numerous people like this. People who don’t even bother to stop taking drugs during their entire pregnancy. People who deliver healthy babies only to abandon them to the care of the state for their life of drugs. Why does the Lord give them a baby and not us? Well, God gave us a verse for that question. Psalm 17:14-15! We know the Lord! They don’t. There is absolutely nothing to envy from the wicked, not even their children. He is our portion! One day we will see Him face to face!
- Another place the mind can wander to is what happens to a baby when he or she dies? The Sunday school answer of course is that the baby goes to heaven. If all babies go to heaven, shouldn’t we support abortion? Actually the theology around the topic is a bit complex. Strict calvinists believe only the babies who are chosen go to heaven. Others believe only the children of the righteous go on to be with the Lord. Others believe the ones recieving baptism do. Still others think all babies do. and on and on. We don’t have a deep theological answer for all of these views where scripture is silent, but God gave us a verse for this too. 2 Samuel 12:23! David was comforted knowing that he would go someday and be with the son he lost, and we take comfort knowing that in the same way we will go and be with Judah some day as well. And in that day, Judah will not have a birth defect!
- In fact we have learned that praising God is always a choice. In that same passage, the first thing David did when his son died is went and worshipped the Lord. That is the third thing God showed us. God gave us Genesis 29:35 in our time of sorrow to see that it was possible to praise the Lord even in the face of crummy, horrible circumstances. But it is a choice. In that story, Jacob has an unloved wife who keeps thinking she can earn his love by giving him children. When her fourth child is born, she realizes that her terrible circumstances are never going to change, but she chooses to praise the LORD despite her circumstance. She then named her son, “Judah” which is the Hebrew word for “Praise”. We too named our son Judah as a permanent reminder that we can always praise God!
Yes we are grieving. Yes there great tears of sorrow. Sadness is a woefully inadequate word. But in it we also have comfort. Judah is in heaven. We will go to be with Him some day. On that day we will see the face of the Lord! In that place there will be no stillborn births, no birth defects, no death, no tears, no sorrow. In this life you will have trouble. We set our eyes on Jesus and #choosepraise.
Hike the Good Hike,
Rob and Krystal, aka Sherpa and Porter