Pristine Lives

Today I had an unexpected encounter. Under my prayer bench I found a yellow toy dump truck. I don’t remember how it got down here, but there it was, crusted with leaves and fir needles.

And then, without warning, I thought of my tiny unborn grandson who I never got a chance to meet. I saw him down here with me playing with that yellow truck. I wondered if he would have been a cuddler. Would he climb on my lap and sit for a few moments before going back to his excavation? How strange to grieve over a life that never was. Caught me off guard.

I know that “why” is a foolish question. This world is a dangerous place, especially to our most vulnerable, even in what should be the safety of a mother’s womb. As I frequently say, “this ain’t heaven.” I suppose grief is the most appropriate response to a dangerous world–Jesus wept over Jerusalem and outside a tomb. Grief, I suppose, is a fitting acknowledgment of the world east of Eden.

At the same time, we would not know what the garden is like if we didn’t have this world as a contrast. There is enough love and beauty in this world to assure us there is a heaven; and enough grief to remind us it’s not here. We recognize the wrongness of this world because we have, deep down in our soul, the picture of a garden where death has no victory and life springs eternal. I wonder how many unlived lives will be living there? Will heaven contain only those that opened the womb, or will we be surrounded with pristine lives never touched by the ravages of sin and never robbed of life before it began?