Radio Leicester: Thought for the Day

John Denney, 8 January 2002


Not even the hardest of hearts can have failed to be moved by the news of the death of little Jennifer Jane Brown.  Less than two weeks ago, we saw Gordon Brown, the “Iron Chancellor”, a man not generally given to public displays of emotion, bursting with joy as he announced that at the age of 50 he had become a father for the first time.  And we heard him say the same thing that every father says on the birth of his child, that she was the most beautiful baby in the world.  And every father is right.


And Sarah and Gordon Brown knew and loved Jennifer Jane not just for the few days since her birth, but for many months previously.  They noticed the signs of life, the kicks and movements as she exercised herself in the womb.  They planned and prepared for Jennifer Jane’s arrival.  They took delight in choosing her names; they set aside a nursery for her; they bought clothes and cots and pushchairs.  They even speculated about the long term future of their daughter.


But tiny Jennifer Jane was born very prematurely, and needed highly skilled medical care, which she indeed received.  Despite this, last night, Jennifer Jane lost her fight for life and died in her parents’ arms.  That will be some small comfort for Gordon and Sarah Brown, who must be feeling empty and lost this morning.  They will be asking that ultimate question: “Why?”.  And the only answer Christians can give is that we don’t know, but that God has His reasons that they will understand one day when they are reunited with Jennifer Jane in heaven.


There will be further comfort for the Browns through their own Christian faith.  Jennifer Jane was christened at their request a day previously as an act surrendering her to the tender care of God.  In God’s infinite love, He took baby Jennifer Jane back.  The Browns will take consolation in the sure knowledge that she is cradled in the loving arms of God the Father of us all.


We don’t usually do this on Thought for the day, but will you join me in a short prayer?


Loving God, we are conscious how fragile is the thread that separates life from death, and how suddenly it can be broken. We ask You to help us remember, that on both sides of that divide we are surrounded by Your love.  Bring comfort to all who mourn this morning, we ask.  Amen.


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