[From the archives.]
Imagine giving birth. (For you mothers it’s not much of a stretch, and for the rest of us we’ll just do the best we can.) Now imagine giving birth without knowing you were even pregnant. “But how can this happen?” you might ask. You got me, but it happened to a woman from a developed nation in a responsible job with top medical care.
Life’s a mystery sometimes.
Now imagine a woman getting pregnant and knowing about it, but never having had intercourse with a man. Sure with modern medical technology this is possible, but let’s take medical intervention out of it. Then what? Again you might be tempted to ask “But how can this happen?” If so, you’re echoing Mary’s question to the angel who told her that she would bear the Messiah, the Son of God, the King of Israel. And that’s what happened.
I’ve got another one for you. Imagine an elderly childless woman becoming pregnant. Someone who is well past the age of child-bearing, someone who has longed for a baby, someone who has gone through life watching friends and family around her raise children while she went from day to day – and month to month – and year to year – and decade to decade – without a child of her own to hold. Then, in her old age, her very old age, she is told a baby will come to her womb, a baby who will be used by God for great things. “But how can this happen?” she would be tempted to cry. But God made it happen not once but twice, bringing a child to Sarah’s womb and then centuries later bringing a child to Elizabeth.
The Bible is chock full of stories about people having babies. Sarah, Elizabeth and Mary are probably the most well-known but anyone who reads through the Bible can’t help but run into time after time that God gets visibly involved in people’s reproductive lives. It looks to me like God cares about what goes on in the womb, and about the babies born.
On Kid Duty
One thing my wife and I do is reach out to young families. I say we, but I need to give her the credit for an incredible ministry that I just get to help her with. For over twenty years now my wife has had an uncanny knack for identifying young moms and moms-to-be who need support, help, a listening ear, someone to sit by them, someone to take the kids for a few hours or a few days, sometimes at the last minute.
In fact, we’ve spent two recent Sunday afternoons on kid duty. One Sunday it was a family who were moving and needed someone to watch the three kids (ages 5, 2 and a newborn) while the moving went on; the next Sunday it was a mom with four kids (18 months to 10 years old) who had recently moved out of town, was back for a day, and needed some time to catch up with a variety of people. Playing with cars, splashing around in the pool, drawing with sidewalk chalk, pounding on the piano keys, getting snacks and drinks together: these are the ways we got to spend those Sunday afternoons. Hey, who said ministry has to be painful?
God cares about babies in the womb and babies out of the womb, and it’s good for God’s people to care about the same things he does. Ministry to young families or families-to-be may not be your gift, but here are some questions for all of us:
If you do these things, what does it look like.
If you’d like to do them, where might you start?
And if this is not something you do personally, how can you support those who do?