We have gathered this morning to acknowledge and honor the short life of Cody Allen Bundy even as we mourn his death.
In a time of such sadness, disappointment and numbness our strength comes from seeing that there is something more than this life. I draw your attention to these words spoken by God in the book of Isaiah.
17 “Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy.
19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people;
the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more.
20 “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not live out his years;
he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth;
he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.
21 They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
23 They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. (ISA 65:17-23)
These verses remind us that when babies die it is a reminder that the world that is not right. The Bible says there is coming a day when the kind of pain you have experienced will be taken away. We look forward to that day.
Please pray with me. Father we gather today to acknowledge that you were the One who brought Cody life. You know Him and You love him. We come before you today admittedly confused. This family should be looking forward to Cody’s birth rather than mourning his death.
We ask you to help us today. We know we can’t understand the workings of your will but we do ask that you bring us your comfort and grace. Help us to find hope even in the midst of our sadness. Amen
Cody Allen Bundy, was born 24 weeks into his life on Friday, April 3, 2009. He died the next day, April 4th at St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria..
He is survived by his parents Jeremy and Erin Bundy of LaHarpe, and 2 brothers, Peyton and Bryson Bundy both at home, His grandparents, Medardus and Tawnya Bundy of LaHarpe and Greg and Lori Sivill of Macomb, Illinois, great-grandparents, Larry and Donna McCarty of Cornville, Arizona, Theresia Bundy of LaHarpe and Ruth Patterson of Alton, Missouri, and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
When a baby this young dies some people dismiss true grief. They say things like,
- At least you didn’t have a chance to get attached
- This must be for the best
Or my least favorite comment, “God must have needed another flower in Heaven’s garden.” People mean well but they minimize grief and make God look selfish.
When an infant dies before it has a chance to live, the loss is different, but it is still a loss.
A mother and father begin the process of loving and bonding with a child as soon as they learn (or get over the shock) of being pregnant. They begin to look forward to knowing and guiding that child in life. They wonder about the child’s personality and look forward to watching their child grow.
The loss of an infant robs parents of all these things. Like an engaging novel that is missing the last chapter, the death of a baby leaves parents feeling empty and a little lost. It is like an unfinished painting. All that is left are questions of what might have been. It’s the fact that we don’t have stories to tell that makes this loss hard.
This morning there are a few things I want to affirm to you.
First, I want you to know that Cody was a real person. I believe life begins at conception (as most Mothers clearly understand). Any death that occurs after the moment of conception is the death of a real person. Persons have eternal souls.
Second, I believe the Bible shows us that God has a unique purpose for every person. Pastor John MacArthur writes,
God has a unique plan and purpose for every child conceived. We may not understand His plan fully. We may not be able to comprehend God’s purposes. But we can know with faith that our perfect God does not err. He does not allow a conception that is beyond His sovereign plan and purpose. (Safe in His Arms p. 23)
Just because we do not understand why Cody did not live longer does not mean He was loved less by God.
Third, I believe babies who die go to Heaven. They don’t go to Heaven because they are innocent (the Bible says there is a dimension of sin that is genetic) but because God is merciful. Babies are saved the same way adults are: by God’s grace. That gift of grace is just extended in a different way.
For an adult we are made right with God when we admit our wrong-doing and rebellion against God and put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. Jesus invites everyone to trust Him. Those who do so are granted forgiveness and eternal life. Those who will not entrust themselves to Him receive what they have chosen: an eternity that is apart from God and all the good gifts He gives.
God does not want people to perish. He pleads with people who willfully reject Him to come to Him for salvation and new life. If God cares so much for those who deliberately sin against Him, would He not show mercy to those who died before they could make any distinction between good and evil? I believe He would and He does.
There is a story in the Bible about King David. He and his wife had a child and the child was only days old and very sick. Let me read you the story.
16 David begged God to spare the child. He went without food and lay all night on the bare ground. 17 The elders of his household pleaded with him to get up and eat with them, but he refused.
18 Then on the seventh day the child died. David’s advisers were afraid to tell him. “He wouldn’t listen to reason while the child was ill,” they said. “What drastic thing will he do when we tell him the child is dead?”
19 When David saw them whispering, he realized what had happened. “Is the child dead?” he asked.
“Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”
20 Then David got up from the ground, washed himself, put on lotions, and changed his clothes. He went to the Tabernacle and worshiped the LORD. After that, he returned to the palace and was served food and ate.
21 His advisers were amazed. “We don’t understand you,” they told him. “While the child was still living, you wept and refused to eat. But now that the child is dead, you have stopped your mourning and are eating again.”
22 David replied, “I fasted and wept while the child was alive, for I said, ‘Perhaps the LORD will be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But why should I fast when he is dead? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him one day, but he cannot return to me.”
David said: “I will go to him one day, he cannot return to me.” Even back then David understood that for those who trust God, there will be a day of reunion even with those who have died in infancy. David looked at his loss and understood that it was not the end of the story. Jeremy and Erin, the Bible indicates that someday you can know Cody. If you put your faith in Jesus, if you entrust your life to Him, you will some day go to him and spend eternity getting acquainted.
The strange thing about the story is David’s response after he learned the child had died. Once he learned of his death, he got up, washed, had a meal, and then went on with his life. He staff found that to be odd behavior. Now I don’t think for a minute that David never thought about his son again. I’m sure there were times when he felt the sadness well up inside of him. However, David understood that his relationship with this child would have to wait until another day. He decided to throw his energy into living now. He chose to concentrate on loving those who were present in his life.
I wonder if David comforted himself by realizing that his child would
- Never have a selfish desire
- Never utter a useless word
- Never perform an unkind deed
- Never think a sinful thought
- Never have to worry about what is beyond this life
- Never wonder if there is a God
- Never question whether or not you love them
- Never feel deprived
He would never experience
- a broken heart
- the sting of regret
- the pain of losing someone he loved
- or disease
Instead, his child would know the perfect love of God and the majestic glory of heaven.
I am not trying to minimize your loss. You have lost out on some great moments with your son, grandson and great-grandson. And you should grieve. However, as you do I want you to realize that your grief is for your loss, not Cody’s. I know you wanted the best for your son. Cody is now with Jesus. Draw comfort from the fact that it doesn’t get any better than that.
So here’s my challenge: First, write down your thoughts, your hopes, and your dreams for Cody. Stick it in a memory book and pull it out when you need to. Don’t be ashamed to grieve for your loss.
Second, examine your own relationship with God. Determine that you will learn what it means to trust Jesus Christ. Get more information if that is what you need to believe. Eternal life is no longer just some concept about the future. Now it is intensely personal. It is about seeing your son. Make sure that you don’t miss that opportunity.
Third, appreciate and love the children you already have. Take the pain you’ve experienced and use it to learn how to savor and make the most of every moment you have with your kids.
Let me be honest. Other people will forget the ache of your loss. They may over time even forget about Cody. But God never will. And neither will you. He will give you the strength to heal and to live. He will also give you the hope you need to look forward to eternity with new anticipation.
Let’s pray together.
Father, I pray that you welcome Cody into your kingdom. Love him and guide him as only you can do. Grant him the joy of eternal life in your presence.
Help us, our Father, to hunger for that same kind of relationship with you. Help this family to find your love, comfort and strength. Lord stand with Jeremy and Erin. Fill the void in their life with assurances of your love. Help them to cherish their sons even more than they already do. Help them to know your comfort.
Lord, please help us as we try to learn to cherish every day of life. We ask these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.