We don’t have may answers save the one you brought us today,
as your mom and dad stayed up all night
to painfully receive you from the hands of God:
The proper grieving of a fallen world, is joy.
–“The Proper Grieving of a Fallen World”, Donald Miller
A couple of years ago, my friend Julie and I drank coffee and talked about life the way you do when you meet in the morning and chase caffeine with a walk in the park. Evening conversations marry to beer and walks around city blocks, but I digress. They wanted another baby, Julie and her husband. That want combined with trying had resulted in the ache of frustration, disappointment and hurt. This had gone on for some time. It continued to go on. Conversations would shift from that point to doctor’s visits and consideration of options. Time, in this context, taunts and teases longing. Desire can shift from the dreamy wonder of what could be to the heavy hand of what is not…
Julie, though, is a pragmatic woman, perhaps my most pragmatic friend. We sat there that day, and we prayed. We prayed for a baby. We asked God for help. For a long time when I thought of Julie and remembered to talk to God about her (not as frequent as perhaps prayer could be…), I prayed for a baby. A lot of times prayer seems one-sided. People who are sick don’t get better; they die. Abuse continues. War does not cease. Anxiety robs me of sleep at a maddening rate. People do not change. I do not change. The world does not change. That is my perception.
That perception can be believed as reality. Understanding the seeming lack of resolution for so many things prayed for with earnest does not come on demand. I do not have answers for those whys. Trusting God is all I got, and when there seems to be more mess than redemption, well, that’s not the easy way.
A few weeks ago, though, I met Phoebe. Julie cradled her wobbly frame as she passed this little bundle of a girl to me. She nestled against me and slept, her tiny chest rising and falling to fill tiny lungs with oxygen giving life to this person who did not exist last year. And now she is here.
When I met her I remembered that day in Starbucks and how we prayed. We asked God for help. A couple of years later, the tangibility of this one baby, this beautiful girl, exudes hope every time I see her. We prayed for her, and she is here. She is here, and she is life.
Phoebe does not bring answers or understanding to other circumstances and challenges. The realness of her, though, refreshes faith and hope. We don’t have it all worked out, this seeking of God and his way. But here is this baby, this very real baby, and she who was not here right when she was wanted… she needed to come this way. A fragment of her destiny is a page of my story: we prayed; God heard; she is here.