Felicity Margaret Piper

In the hopes that you will pray for us, I’ll give you the news about Abraham’s daughter. Abraham is my son who serves as the Web Content Manager for Desiring God. He and Molly were expecting their second child on Sunday, September 23. Molly was big and healthy. Everyone was happy and excited about Orison’s little sister.

There had been no movement since Thursday. Molly had read this was nothing unusual, but the doctor said she could come for a check-up if she wished. Saturday morning (September 22) they went to Hennepin County Medical Center. No heart beat. Ultrasound confirms: the baby is dead.

The phone call came to me first. It was Abraham through sobs, “We lost the baby.”

Noel and I arrived in a half hour. No explanation of the loss, not yet. After a couple hours they go home to get ready to induce later in the afternoon. At 1:30 PM they come to our home on the way to the hospital. Abraham’s brothers Karsten and Ben and their wives Shelly and Melissa are there. I read 2 Samuel 12:15-23, John 9:1-3, and 1 Corinthians 15:58 acknowledging that the word play on “labor” in verse 58 is not meant to be cute. We gathered around them and prayed. Ben drove them to the hospital. I went to church and dedicated 9 babies and preached from 1 Samuel 12:1-25, “The Sinful Origin of the Son of Man.” Then I went to the hospital to keep vigil.

At 11:54 PM, September 22, 2007, labor complete, Felicity Margaret Piper was born—lifeless. Abraham and Molly spent an hour or so with Felicity alone. Then the grandparents came in. (Molly’s parents, Bob and Darleen Dillemuth had flown in immediately from Erie, Pennsylvania.) Then Ben and Melissa and Karsten and Shelly and Millie and Talitha came in. All the adults held Felicity. I took lots of pictures and made a slide show to the music, “Be Thou My Vision.” It brings tears.

Abraham and Molly went home the next morning. The funeral is set for 11 AM Wednesday, September 26, 2007 at Bethlehem.

I have wept on Abraham’s shoulder with firm embraces. I have watched other men weep with him. I love the ready tears of strong men. I did not know Felicity. But I have known my son since he was Felicity’s age. When he is broken it affects me deeply. I cry when I see him and when I think about him. He loves being a father. He and Molly were both so excited about their girl. We are all numb with incomprehension. She was so ready and so healthy. The doctor who delivered her said the cord was tight around her neck and that was probably the cause.

Noel and I lay in bed at about 3 AM after coming home from the delivery thinking: This seems so preventable. By God and by man. Yes. So easy. But neither man nor God prevented this. Man, because he did not know it was happening. God, because he has his wise and loving reasons that we wait to learn with tears and trust.

Thank you for praying for us.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.