Last week reporters and photographer waited with baited breath to get their first glimpses of the new born Prince of Cambridge as he left the hospital with his parents. Closer to home and with much less fanfare, another recently arrived baby, Baby E, also went home from the hospital. Baby E was born about a week before the new prince. Her arrival was also eagerly anticipated, not only by her parents and grandparents, but by the many people who had been praying for months for her.
Several months ago Baby E’s parents received news from their doctor that no parent wants to hear, “There’s a problem with the baby.” Tests determined that Baby E would be born with spina bifida. The parents were counseled to consider aborting the baby. If she lived, they were told, she would be paralyzed from the waist down, she would have trouble sucking, and she might not be able to breath on her own. Her parents believe in prayer and in the sanctity of life. Word spread quickly among their family, friends, and extended church families. Hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of us prayed diligently for Baby E to be healed of the defects the doctors predicted for her.
When Baby E was delivered by Caesarean section, we got the miracle for which we had been praying. Baby E was born kicking her little legs and breathing on her own. Very soon she began sucking on a pacifier. At a few days old, she had surgery to repair a small hole in her back. The surgery went well and a week later, Baby E went home to meet her big brother.
I am very thankful that God touched Baby E and healed her tiny body. Yet, He didn’t completely heal her. This left me wondering ‘Why.’ Why was she born with a hole in her back and needing surgery? Why will she always be scarred a bit from that surgery? Mothers take care to protect their children from injuries and scars. Boys, on the other hand, are proud of their scars and compare theirs with others to determine who had the most serious injuries (ie, the scene in ‘Jaws’ where the men compare their scars).
God told the people of Israel to erect monuments to remind them of God’s provisions for them. Likewise, scars can be reminders of injuries and illnesses that we have overcome with God’s help. This scar will be a reminder to Baby E and her parents of God’s faithfulness and goodness to them. When they look a the scar, they will remember that the doctor’s dire prediction did not come to pass. I believe the scar also serves to reinforce that the doctor did not make a mistake. Baby E was properly diagnosed with spina bifida; it was the prognosis that was incorrect.
Baby E’s parents serve the Lord God who created each of us and is perfectly capable of healing our infirmed bodies. The Lord healed the parts of Baby E’s body that the doctors were incapable of fixing, but He left to them the repair they could handle. Sometimes God uses doctors to provide healing for our bodies and other times He intervenes miraculously. Only God knows why He moves in the ways He does. Our role is to present our requests to Him, to believe that He is willing and able to answer our requests, and to allow Him to act as He decides is best.