For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there were none of them. Psalm 139:13-16
It’s a conversation most, if not all, expectant parents have as they share the news of their new baby with friends and family. It goes something like this.
“We have an announcement to make. We’re having a baby!”
“Oh, how wonderful! Congratulations! Do you want a boy or a girl?”
“We would be happy with either one, as long as it’s healthy.”
Those last words caught my attention as I talked with a friend who was getting ready to deliver her baby, and I remembered saying this very thing each time I was carrying one of my own children. “As long as it’s healthy.” We say it without even thinking about our response. It’s almost an automatic reaction to the question asked of us; an expected reflex. And while it is the desire of every parent to give birth to a healthy child, is “As long as it’s healthy,” what we truly mean? Does our happiness with the gift that God has bestowed upon us depend on whether or not our baby is healthy? Is a baby born with medical needs not just as much of a miracle and a blessing as a healthy newborn?
A friend delivered a beautiful little girl and minutes later heard a diagnosis of a disease that would quickly destroy her little girl’s body. “Healthy” wasn’t a term she would ever use to describe her daughter. Still, the happiness her parents felt in the presence of this gift of God, and this visible sign of His grace, was not dependant on, “As long as she’s healthy.” It was dependant on the promises of the God that had given her life on this earth, new life in baptism, and the promise of life eternal. Her parents spent only a few months with their daughter. God’s grace was abundant with his child every minute of her life here on earth. God’s grace abounds even more so as they await the promised resurrection.
When my Godson was born, his parents were surprised to find out he had several health concerns they were unaware of before his birth. He was born with a club foot, a cleft palate, and news from the doctors that he showed signs of several other potential, and possibly life threatening health problems. We still danced for joy at the news of his birth. We still called everyone we knew to announce his arrival. We were happy, not because of the challenges that he and his parents would face over the next several months, but because of the faithfulness of God to give him life. He is now a very active and yes, healthy, four year old. We value his life each day, not just because of the gift, but in thanks to the Giver.
In a world where the value of life is losing ground to a “pick and choose” medical industry, be reminded mothers-to-be, that the babies growing inside your bellies have value, not because they are perfect in our eyes, but because through Christ they are perfect in the eyes of our Creator. Do you want a boy or a girl? I want this life!
Creator of Life,
I am constantly in awe of your ability to create new and unique life with every passing moment. Help my love of your creation grow each day. Work in my children so that they may know too that they were fearfully and wonderfully made. Thank you, God for my new life in baptism and my promised life with you forever in heaven. In Jesus' Name, Amen.