I recently reunited with an old High School friend Tamara, who is the mother of three beautiful kids. As we caught up on the past 10 years of our lives, she told me the story of her precious youngest daughter, Alex.
Just before her 24th week of pregnancy, the doctors spotted 4 abnormalities on Alex’s ultrasound. And although her issues were different from the concerns the doctors saw on my darling little baby boy, they were given the same confusing diagnoses. It’s likely a genetic problem – Down’s Syndrome or something more severe – and termination of pregnancy was repeatedly recommended and continually denied. Instead, my friend resolved to pray for her sweet baby girl and choose to eagerly look forward to Alex joining their family regardless of her condition.
When little Alex was born she was tested for the standard diagnoses and had none of them. Tamara says “to this day, with all my heart and mind, I believe that God heard the prayers of His people. I believe that God performed a miracle inside my body. I believe that God healed baby Alex and gave her perfect little bundle of self to us as a gift. I don’t know why He chose to give her to us in this way, but He did. And I’m thankful for His miracles, mercies, grace and love.”
Today, Alex is well past her 2nd birthday, and has recently sent the doctors back to wondering. In a recent medical evaluation they have determined that sweet little Alex is developmentally delayed both in motor skills and in her speech. They are suggesting occupational therapy, physical therapy, and further genetic testing.
After the appointment which re-introduced the possibility of genetic problems, Tamara writes about a touching lunch date her and her husband spent with little Alex: “we enjoyed our sweet girl. Our blessing from God. Our gift. Our miracle. Because, if you know her story, you know Alex really is a living, breathing, walking and minimally-talking miracle. And we love her dearly.”
Since we were out of the state for the month of January, I had my first doctor’s appointment in five weeks last Tuesday. On the morning of the appointment, I was feeling a bit timid, thinking I was going in for yet more testing. When I arrived at the clinic, my doctor informed me that I did NOT need to re-test, explaining that a technician had misread my chart. Not only that, but my doctor said that I do not need to undergo any more testing because my most recent ultrasound reflected a “completely healthy baby.” The brain, spinal column, and ventricle are all measuring completely normally. Our son is normal. Healthy. Fine.
I had to play 20 questions with my doctor to wrap my head around what she was saying. Our darling little baby boy looks completely normal. To quote my friend Tamara, “with all my heart and mind, I believe that God heard the prayers of His people.”
This is the point in our little boy’s story where the mercies of God are put on a massive display. It is easy to see how the Lord heard the prayers for our sweet son from so many people, and chose to bless those prayers with healing. We rejoice in the gracious gift of a healthy pregnancy and we praise God for His abundant mercies poured out on our sweet, little darling boy.
But… it is very important that we do not equate the goodness of God with the healing of our beloved son. God’s goodness is not dependent on what He does for me, nor is He not good to those who do not receive such good news as we just have.
Thinking about my friend Tamara, and her journey toward the birth of precious little Alex, I am encouraged by her unwavering trust in the goodness of our God and her unbridled love for her daughter. Although Alex tested normally at birth, she is now struggling in new ways that were not, and could not have been predicted on the day of her birth. But that does not change the goodness of God, the wonder of miraculous healing, or how precious & beloved is the life of this darling child. And her mother understands that difficult truth. Tamara is a living, breathing example of someone who knows that regardless of her little baby girl’s condition, she is being cared for and loved by her gracious and good heavenly Father. She has confidence that regardless of changing circumstances, God is in control and He is trustworthy in His steadfast love toward her and her family.
Today, we are celebrating the good news that our precious baby boy is healthy. We are eager to see his sweet little face, to hold him, and to cover him with kisses. We are praising God for the miracle of our son’s healing, and we are celebrating a diagnoses that got turned on its head. But today is also a day to recommit our trust in God despite this wonderful news. God’s goodness has been shown through healing our sweet baby boy, just as His goodness was shown to us in the process of preparing us for the possibility of a genetically disabled son. God sustained us through the difficult days of wondering if our baby boy would live to his first birthday, just as God is sustaining us in this day of great rejoicing.
The beautiful truth is, God does not promise us a future without challenges, pain, or problems, but He does promise to never leave us nor forsake us – and that news trumps anything the doctors have promised us.
Isaiah 43:1b-3a “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”