It’s a vast and terrible club to belong to: mothers who have babies in Heaven. At one time, women didn’t feel the freedom to share much about such losses, especially when it came to miscarriage, but these days we’re encouraged to talk about and remember the little souls that we never really knew. Once women began talking about miscarriage, infant loss, and rainbow babies, a problem emerged in our thinking that has spread far and wide thanks to social media. Women began painting pictures in their minds of their babies flitting around Heaven with angel wings, fat little cherubs with rosy cheeks. Moms started calling them “angel babies,” and they began to make t-shirts to wear that say, “Mother of Angels” or “Angel Mommy.” Somehow art and lore and mythology combined with vague ideas of what Heaven is like to produce this image in the minds of grieving mothers. As usual, the world’s notions of comfort and peace pale in comparison to the true comfort that comes from knowing God’s truth.
As a follower of Christ and a mother who suffered three miscarriages, I have a vastly different view of what my babies are experiencing. People who die don’t earn angel wings. Angels are completely different created beings, separate from humans and without the same experience knowing God. The Bible tells us that angels love to look at the ways that Jesus rescues human beings from our sin. (1 Peter 1:12) Piper writes that the angels watch the spiritual drama unfold, aware that they are outsiders, having never sinned or experienced salvation through Christ. In other words, the angels play a special role in the heavenly realms, but they were not created in God’s image nor are they objects of His fatherly affection and salvation.
Human beings, on the other hand, are invited to enter the place that Jesus Himself has prepared. This means that there is a plan for our babies. They are living a very real present and have a very real future, not as fat little cherubs with no direction or purpose, not as mere cutesy decorative elements of Heaven, but as real souls with real relationships with the King of Kings. Viewing our babies as cherubs is such a poor substitute for the realities of Heaven and the future of eternity. I would much rather envision my babies in the arms of the Lord Himself, on the laps of saints that have gone before, joining in with the worshiping throng of Heaven. We know very little about babies in Heaven. But we do know that God is good and that He is taking care of them. We also know that they are who He created them to be: human beings, redeemed by the blood of Christ, living out the first days of a beautiful, pure, fulfilling, and glorious future in His presence.
They don’t need wings. They don’t need cutesy sentiment. They have all they need in Christ. We can take comfort in this truth, now and for all eternity. Our babies are more alive now than ever, not as angels, but as the dearly loved children of God.