"Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God" (Psalm 139:16-17).
My wife and I lost a baby to a miscarriage eight years ago on March 17. It's been eight years and I still miss my little one whose face I never got to see. For many of us who have had miscarriages, we suffer silently. Very few people know. And sometimes, those who do, don't really help. They mean well with what they say, but sometimes, they make it worse. If you've had a miscarriage, and you need someone to talk to who understands, let me know. I'm always willing to listen. So is my lovely wife, Jamie. We'd be happy to share with you our journey and how our good and gracious God has slowly healed us.
If you've suffered from a miscarriage, stillbirth, or have even had an abortion, perhaps you have had the same burning question as me: where is my baby for all eternity? What happens to babies who die before they are baptized? It is the consistent deduction from Scripture that God creates the soul at the same time he creates the body - namely - at conception, through human parents. In other words, we are a human being from the moment we are conceived.
In Psalm 51:5 King David, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, indicates that we are conceived as sinful human beings. That shouldn't surprise us. After all, can sinful parents conceive someone who is sinless? No. (The only exception is Jesus who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin, Mary.) That means that unborn babies are sinful by nature and therefore deserve eternal punishment for sin, just like the rest of us.
At the same time, God also makes it explicitly clear in Scripture that "God, our Savior, wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:3-4). That's true for an unbaptized child as well. In John 3:16, Jesus said, "God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life." Unborn babies are a part of "the world" whom God loves. They are a part of those for whom Jesus gave his life to save.
God tells us that "faith comes from hearing the message" (Romans 10:17). God also tells us that He saves us through baptism (Titus 3:5 and 1 Peter 3:21) which links us by faith to Jesus. Hearing the message and being baptized are all things that can happen once we're born. God tells us nothing about the miracle of faith in those who are unborn. Perhaps its because there is nothing we can do about it. We do know from the account of John the Baptist leaping in his mother's womb at the sound of Mary's, the mother of Jesus, voice shows that babies can have spiritual responses in the womb (Luke 1:41-44). But is that an example of faith that comes from hearing the message? We just don't know for sure.
So what happens to a baby who dies before he is baptized? God doesn't explicitly tell us in Scripture. The answer is we don't know how, but we do know who. I'm content to leave the fate of my child, and the myriads of others who have died before they were born, in the hands of the very same God whose hands were nailed to a cross for them. He loves my child more than I do. He loves all of them. I can't think of better hands for them to be in than God's. He is perfectly just, perfectly loving and always does the right thing.
So if you have lost a baby who died before he or she was baptized, I'm sorry for your loss. I'm praying for you. Please pray for me and my wife. March 17 is always a very painful day for us. But trust that God is just AND loving. He does the right thing every time. Your babies, and mine, are in good hands.