"The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (Job 1:21)
I've never seen this verse played out in such sharp relief as this last Friday, August 5th, 2016. One year earlier I was exhilarated, over the moon, to be welcoming my second baby into this world. Holding him for the first time was unlike anything I had experienced- his birth was a VBAC, he was a rainbow baby after a miscarriage, and we had needed fertility drugs to get pregnant with him. We had prayed for him, and God was answering all those prayers.
|(A day-old Henry, Aug. 2015)|
This year at midnight on his first birthday, I was in the hospital again, but everything was opposite. I rushed to the ER with pain in my right side and bleeding. I had gotten a positive pregnancy test a week earlier, but because of various things knew something wasn't right. Sure enough after an ultrasound the doctor came in and confirmed my fear - I had an ectopic pregnancy.
I cried. Brian held me and he cried too. Then: "You have to go to surgery right now. We have to remove your tube."
I cried harder. The doctors reassured me that I would almost definitely be able to get pregnant again with just one tube but to me it was just another obstacle - we had already had plenty of doctors' appointments and medications just to get pregnant with Henry.
|(Brand-new dad holding first born son - Nov. 2012)|
At about 1:30 am, not even two hours after I got to the ER, in the black of night, they wheeled me away from Brian to the OR. All I could think of was the parallel story that was being played out: the last time I was in the OR was three and a half years earlier when my first baby, my feisty little Asher was born, and now I was losing a baby in the same room. Exactly one year earlier I had been in a hospital giving birth to a perfect newborn, and now I was in the hospital losing a baby the very same day just a year later.
|(In the OR minutes after Asher was born - Nov. 2012)|
We don't know why God does the things He does. We often wish He chose differently, that He was more like us. The next morning while I was recovering in the hospital my little sister sent me this verse:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)
In some infinitely higher way, God knows what is good for me and what is bad for me. And He chose the good for me. On the perfect day, one year after giving me a precious healthy Henry, He took a tiny unseen baby, equally precious in His sight, up into His arms.
|(Worn out Brian with baby Henry - Aug. 2015)|
It is impossible not to see Jesus throughout this story. In Theology (which I took close to ten years ago, so forgive any errors with correct terms) we learned about a literary device called an inclusio, in which two parallel images at the beginning and end of a story draw the reader toward one central theme. Last August I came home with a baby; this August I came home empty. Last August 5th God gave; this August 5th God took away. What is there left for me to say? Blessed be His name.