I am extremely delighted to welcome Jessalyn Hutto, author of Inheritance of Tears, to the blog this week. Jessalyn was gracious enough to grant me an interview after reading her book, and I hope the answers she shared will be an encouragement and blessing to you. I posed 4 different questions to Jessalyn. Because of the in-depth response and the delicate subject matter of each, I thought it best to spread the interview out over several posts.
Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord of Life When Death Enters the Womb, is a Gospel-centered, theologically rich resource for women who have undergone miscarriage and those who would like to minister to them. Jessalyn personally experienced two miscarriages, one first trimester, and her daughter Anastasia at 17 weeks. I was so blessed by reading her book, and cannot recommend it highly enough. You can find more of Jessalyn's writing on her blog.
Rachel: I also appreciated your theological look at the question, "Do all babies go to heaven?" So many Christians today hold to this view without having a clear Scriptural foundation for their belief. Have you always held this position? How did you come to land on your current understanding?
Jessalyn: I have always personally believed that babies who die go to heaven, but I did not always have a firm understanding in my mind as to how the Bible could support such a claim. As a reformed baptist, I hold to the doctrine of total depravity. I believe that every single human being is conceived with a sin nature and in need of Jesus' substitutionary sacrifice for salvation. Therefore, children who die in the womb would necessitate some special form of grace that isn't conditioned upon their repentance and belief in the gospel if they are to go to heaven because they never had that option.
Before truly studying the Biblical argument for such a gracious provision, I held my belief in infant salvation loosely- genuinely hoping that our good and loving God would accept my babies into his kingdom, while at the same time wondering how that could be possible without their willful acceptance of the gospel. The arguments I had heard at that time were not completely convincing to me.
For this reason, infant salvation was not in an of itself a source of comfort to me during my miscarriages. It was a hope I had, but not something that I was confident in. Thankfully, the Lord was gracious, and provided abounding grace and peace to me during those awful trials nonetheless through his loving Spirit.
However, after thoroughly studying the arguments for infant salvation myself and seeing that there was a strong case to be made for God's unwillingness to judge those who had never willfully committed sin, I became convinced that children who've died in the womb are at this very moment worshiping around his throne with the rest of the redeemed.
This is truly world-altering information for every woman who has miscarried! While nothing can take away the sting of death when it visits a mother's womb, surely the confidence that her child has been instantly transported to the kingdom of our great Savior- never having experience the pain and suffering and sin that we experience in this life- can help to ease her pain, and perhaps even give her a reason to rejoice in the midst of it.
I didn't want to breeze over this thought, as I know for many it is a strong comfort in the wake of such devastating loss. Instead, I wanted to provide a concise, but thorough argument for this hope, so that women can know that it is not just wishful thinking, but something we can truly claim as a biblical truth. There is scriptural support for believing that our children are, right now, at this very moment, with Jesus. And that is a very, very happy thought.