I remember having feelings of utter hopelessness that we would ever have a baby in the house. Ben was about two years old when Dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. After his surgeries (he also got a gangrenous large intestine about a month or so after his initial surgery to get rid of the cancer), we were all pretty occupied with trying to get Dad healthy.
But a year later, he was (and still is) doing pretty well, and I began to wonder… “Are we ever going to have babies in the house again?” So I began to pray. For triplets. To this day, Mom thanks God for not answering my prayers…
Mom did not seem to be showing signs of getting pregnant, and I am not as faithful as I should be, so I started praying less and less for triplets. Then, two summers ago around the dinner table in May or April, Mom and Dad gave us some exciting news: We were going to have a baby! Wow. We were so excited, and it was pretty hard to believe. I had a hard time not jumping up and telling the whole world until they gave us permission to do so.
At this point, you may be wondering: Two summers ago is over two years, and babies are only in the womb nine months. What am I missing? You are missing nothing, sadly. The baby died after about two months in the womb. We were heartbroken and grieved for a long time. Every time I saw a baby, I had this intense sadness of missing someone I had not even met. Strange feeling…
So when Mom and Dad again made an announcement at dinner this last June (I think it was June… Time is so relative, and my memory so short. :-P), we were again really excited, but much more cautious. We had hope, but were a little more cynical because of losing the last baby. This time, VERY fervent prayers went up to heaven, asking for the health of both mother and child.
Now there is a baby upstairs in the cradle. His name is Peter. He is the most precious baby I have ever seen. Sure, he is REALLY cute (as if you will take it from a biased big sister—you will just have to see him yourself), but he is more than that. He is a promise that God never forsakes His children, that He loves them so much, and that He blesses beyond compare.
In fact, realizing the blessing little Peter is, it is actually a PRIVILEGE to change his diaper! Imagine that…
Now I want to change tracks a little bit and share with you an excerpt that has had a profound impact on me.
By C.S. Lewis, from The Joyful ChristianHope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get Earth "thrown in": aim at Earth and you will get neither. It seems a strange rule, but something like it can be seen at work in other matters. Health is a great blessing, but the moment you make health one of your main, direct objects you start becoming a crank and imagining there is something wrong with you. You are only likely to get health provided you want other things more—food, games, work, fun, open air. In the same way, we shall never save civilization as long as civilization is our main object. We must learn to want something else more.
Most of us find it very difficult to want “Heaven” at all—except insofar as “Heaven” means meeting again our friends who have died. One reason for this difficulty is that we have not been trained: our whole education tends to fix our minds on this world. Another reason is that when the real want for Heaven is present in us, we do not recognize it. Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy. I am not now speaking of what would ordinarily be called unsuccessful marriages, or holidays, or learned careers. I am speaking of the best possible ones. There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in reality. I think everyone knows what I mean. The wife may be a good wife, and the hotels and scenery may have been excellent, and chemistry may have been an interesting job: but something has evaded us.