We’ve all read and heard about baby Charlie Gard, born August 4, 2016, whose parents refused to allow doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in the UK to take their precious son off of life support. The doctors treating Charlie have said that further treatment would cause Charlie additional pain, while his parents felt Charlie should have “every possible treatment until his death,” including experimental treatment. The fight for their son’s possible new life started in October of last year when doctors put him on life support at GOSH.
Charlie’s parents challenged the UK legal system after a judge ruled in favor of the hospital in April 2017. Worldwide attention to the case has conjured up numerous movements and opinions in favor of Charlie’s parents, such as U.S. pro-life activists flying to London, a U.S. doctor’s meeting with UK specialists, two international hospital research teams, and seven medical experts offering evidence of experimental treatment options. Moreover, “Religious and world leaders publicly oppose the court’s decision.”
All this—to no avail.
On July 25, Charlie’s parents concluded that their son’s condition caused by mitochondrial depletion syndrome “has deteriorated to the point where the experimental treatment would not work.” They feel that had Charlie received treatment sooner, perhaps he might have had a chance. Time had run out for Charlie Gard.
As a mother of four, grandmother of 12, and great-grandmother of five, I cannot begin to imagine the tragedy of losing an 11-month-old baby to a rare disease with little chance for recovery. The lingering sorrow, the stress between husband and wife, and the palpable hole in our heart has to be as if it will never end.
My decision to blog about Charlie Gard’s life story has nothing to do with taking advantage of his tragic existence or my opinions on the legalities of the case, but everything to do with how his life story fits into God’s grand story.
Perhaps, because of Charlie Gard’s case and the magnitude of international attention, researchers may look further into their experimental treatments for mitochondrial depletion syndrome. Treatment options might evolve because of Charlie Gard’s short life. Therefore, his life story fits very well into God’s grand story.
Another point of discussion is that many ask the question, “What happens to infants that die? Do they go to heaven?” Biblically speaking, we cannot escape the fact that babies are born in original sin. Regardless, John Piper, the esteemed theologian, asks, “The question is whether God has a way to cover their sin even before they have a chance to believe. Babies are not mentally able to put faith in Jesus yet, at least not in any terms that we ordinarily understand. And so I think that God provides another way to cover their sin. I base my belief that God does not condemn babies who die on Romans 1:19-20.”
Paul explains God’s wrath against sinful humanity:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse (Romans 1:18-20 emphasis added).
Our merciful God, full of love and grace doesn’t view a baby who hasn’t heard the gospel and hasn’t put their faith in God as a person without excuse.
Let’s all pray for Charlie’s family as they seek to bring him home for his last days and mourn their loss at God’s appointed time.
Until next time…