Sunday, March 23, 2014


Imperfect. That’s what we are. That’s how we were born.

But then also in the image of God.

Redeemed, but still sinning. Already, but not yet.

This is the tension we live with, the seeming contradiction of our souls, our bodies, our beings.

And it applies even to the smallest baby.

I know, because I had the smallest baby. Okay, not THE smallest, but certainly the smallest my doctor had delivered.

I watched him struggle with his imperfections. His lungs could not breath, his kidneys failed twice, his heart failed to recognize that it was out of the womb and change the way the blood flowed. He needed heart surgery. Then he needed surgery again as his gut perforated. It had begun to die off, unable to digest food. A month later his retinas were on the verge of detachment. This was not a perfect being, it was a being slowly unraveling, held to this earth only by a thin thread and the wires and tubes of medical machinery.

But yet he was strikingly perfect, even at just over one pound. His hands, his sliver-sized translucent knuckles. When he was born he had perfect little fingers with fingernails. FINGERNAILS! How is that possible on so tiny a being?

Imperfect, but in the image of God.

A paradox. Like the world we live in. I don't understand.

How do I explain sin? I cannot. I wish it didn’t exist. How do I explain why my baby lived when others died? I cannot. I wish children did not die.

But I read this – the death? It’s not how God intended. Just as we were not created to give in to our selfish desires, or be victims of others’ sin, we were also not created to die tragic early deaths. We’re in the already – Christ has come and we are saved – and we are in the not-yet, living in a fallen and broken world where sin and death still plague us.

“See, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy. I will rejoice over Jerusalem and take delight in my people; the sound of weeping and of crying will be heard in it no more. Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days.”  - Isaiah 65:17-20

Never again.

I cannot tell you how much comfort verse 20 gives me. God knows that infants die, and he also thinks it isn't right.It isn't fair.

My son lives. This is by the amazing work of a team of medical professionals. This is also by God’s grace, giving life to kidneys that had failed when the nephrologist told us nothing more could be done, giving wisdom to doctors on when to perform PDA surgery, giving skilled steady hands to JAM’s surgeon for the many surgeries performed. Miraculous. The "already."

But there is still death. And sorrow.

We are there, with a good God who works miracles in small beings. We have a savior who has conquered death by death.

And we are not there, sin still reigns. It still impacts us and rocks us to the core. But somehow grace is still poured down, even in the midst of the scorching heat of sin and death, there are drops of rain, and dew collects on grasses.

I do not understand. It is a contradiction, a paradox I cannot unravel.

Already, but not yet.

This is what a one (and a quarter) pound baby taught me.

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