Infant Graves

lily of the valley 2“[N]ever better, than at the grave of those little ones do you understand that quiet disappearing, the snatching away of the fieldflower in the grass… just lifting up its colourful little head above that grass. And the wind came from the desert, carrying the breath of death. And under that touch it succumbed. The little head bent itself; the colours paled; the forms melted. And so it disappeared, to leave behind nothing but a hovering image, and round about it memories at play…

It was a coming to go; an appearing to disappear. And so they die away by the hundreds and thousands, those little darlings, known of God, but passed unnoticed by men… The dying of these little ones is therefore so rich in significance; you miss so much, when you pass lightly over their mysterious disappearing.

When a great man passes away, there is always so much to be said about that great man, that there is almost no notice taken of God’s doing; but at the deathbed and grave of an infant, God’s doing is so largely the one that counts.

That little infant barely had reason for existence, except in what God intended to do with him. And of God’s plan with such a child you scarcely knew anything, and even now you know so little. It was like book of which you read the first ten pages and then it was taken out of your hands. All the rest of it remains to you always a deep hiddenness.

Neither do you have any token, with a dead infant, by which to estimate his piety, and form an idea of God’s grace in their life, placing your hope on what was before your eyes. For also in the life of the soul everything here was equally enigmatical. All that was done in and to that hidden life of the soul, was done by God.

Because of his years that infant was still so altogether passive, and a work of grace could be there only from God’s side… You can only know about such an infant what God spoke of this little one; what addresses you with all blessing and comfort, is His holy and glorious promise; what as an event of the past pours rest into the soul, is his baptism…

But for those dead infants, their advantage is great, since the dying unto sin took already place so early…our development in the knowledge of God is slow, while for them in death, suddenly and at once the full light dawned.

We do not know why God calls away one-half of the children of men so early. We do not know what the reason is, that He brings one-half of His elect to blessedness to altogether differently from the other half that remains behind on earth. This question forces itself upon us, but God does not answer.

He, the Lord, remains the all-powerful, the Sovereign God, who deals not only with us, but also with our children according to His good pleasure… No sentiment, no emotional play of feeling, faith alone remains here also the starting point.” – Abraham Kuyper, “A Flower of the Field” in In the Shadow of Death (262–268), revised and updated.