As typical first-time parents, whenever people would ask us whether we wanted a boy or a girl when I was pregnant, we would always respond with something like, “You know, it doesn’t really matter either way. All we really want is for this baby to be healthy.”
Fast forward several months later and there we were in the NICU, staring down at our 29-week-old baby boy hooked up to machines and monitors that were literally keeping him alive.
I still remember the chaos that was storming inside of me as I walked up to his incubator for the first time. As everything started to look like a rainy windshield, I vaguely realized there were doctors, nurses, and specialists going in and out of our room, murmuring strange things like, “absent left kidney…”, “a hole in his heart…”, “possible tethered spinal cord…”, “surgery first thing tomorrow morning…”
As the shock began to wear off and the reality of our son’s prognosis began to set in, I dared myself to ask the question that had been nagging at my weary soul – “God…why?”
Google only proved to exponentially multiply the fear, worry, and dismay. As words like, “birth defect…” ,”exact cause unknown…”, “1 in 5,000…”, “1 in 400,000…” floated across the screen, it only caused the question to echo louder and louder in the recesses of my soul – “God…WHY? Why our son?”
I was (and sometimes still am) stuck between a rock and a hard place. I know that He is the Good Father, the Almighty God, the Great Physician, the Giver of Life. I know that He fearfully and wonderfully made my son. I know that He works miracles, heals the sick, and raises the dead to life. I know that He loves His children and desires to give them the very best.
And sometimes the gravity of this Truth in the face of the impossible leaves me awestruck. It compels me to rise up from the despair and declare that once again, my son will be fully healed.
But sometimes the disparity of this Truth in the face of the impossible leaves me conflicted. I’ve asked this so many times I’ve lost count – “God, You don’t do birth defects. That’s not in Your nature. That’s not what you do as the Almighty Father God. So why does Josiah have this ‘birth defect?’ How does this make sense?”
I wish I could say that I’ve heard an answer. That I’ve heard His audible voice or seen the presence of an angel.
But then I wonder…if Josiah’s birth hadn’t happened this way, if he hadn’t had any of these medical conditions…would I have prayed as fervently as I have in the last several months? Would I have been stretched to believe in the impossible, not because I’m some superwoman of faith, but because there IS NO OTHER OPTION but for my son to be healed?
Would I have witnessed miracle after miracle, seeing him grow from a 2 lb. 6 oz. tiny baby only just a bit bigger than a dollar bill to the almost 15 pound happy chunker that he is today? Would I have experienced the awe in hearing the incredible news that the two holes in his heart have closed up with no intervention only five months after his early birth? And I’m only just getting started!
Now don’t get me wrong…I’m human and I’m a mom. If I had to choose between my son having medical conditions or my son being a healthy, normal boy, I would choose the latter in a heartbeat.
But here in the tension of what is and what truly is, we’ve been given an opportunity.
An opportunity to testify that God is alive and at work through the prayers of His people. An opportunity to actually witness creative miracles come to pass. An opportunity for our faith to be strengthened in the refiner’s fire. An opportunity to find treasures in the heart of the Almighty Father.
I still don’t know the answer to “God…why?” And maybe we will never fully know the answer. But I do know this. We’ve been given a precious opportunity. One that maybe only 1 in 400,000 families gets to experience. And I trust that on the other side of this, we will taste of His goodness in ways that we cannot yet fathom.