British philosopher Thomas Hobbes wrote that the life of man is nasty, brutish, and short. Does that sound awfully crabby and pessimistic?
Not to me. Not today. Today’s newspaper's online edition reported that a state senator had accidentally killed his own grandchild. He was backing his car out of the driveway, and the little girl must have slipped out of the house and run behind the car.
How can a story like that not crush your heart? Those of us who are parents have plenty of stories of incidents like that whose outcomes just barely missed disaster. When one of my own sons was two, he slipped out of the house and ran into a busy street. Only a miracle kept him from being crushed by traffic.
The uncertainty and danger in our children’s lives is one of the reasons why I love God’s gift of baptism. God will make his own decisions regarding who is saved on the last great day. He can certainly make exceptions to his own rules. But I am grateful to cling to the baptismal promises made to me and my family when my children were baptized:
That all who have been baptized into Christ have been clothed with Christ (Galatians 3);
That baptism was intended for “you and your children” (Acts 2);
That baptism is a washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3).
The tragic death of a little girl makes me want to pray for a sad and grieving family. It makes me want to hug my own kids extra hard today. And it makes me want to sing the praises of baptism to every family I know. I would like the confidence and security that I feel to be shared by all parents. Sometimes life is nasty, brutish, and very, very short.