I could hear an audible sob from my husband, but couldn’t bear to look back at him. My eyes wouldn’t move from that computer screen, the screen projecting our lifeless baby girl. In grainy black and white we watched as the technician traced his mouse over her tiny, motionless heart. I struggled as tears fell from my eyes and my chest began to heave.
A baby girl.
How often I had hoped and dreamed of raising a daughter, a woman I could disciple in the ways of Biblical femininity, a little girl whose hair I could braid and decorate with ribbon, a baby who would wear sun dresses in the summer and tights in the winter. But none of that mattered for those few minutes in that dark room. All that mattered was that she was dead, my little baby was dead.
Sleepless nights, hopeless days, blood shot eyes and puffy red faces: tokens of a sorrow running deep within our souls. And yet beneath the wavy, turbulent surface of our lives there rested a deep and abiding Spirit, a Comforter who anchored our faith.
“Will you give me your little girl?” I kept hearing those words over and over again.
With trembling lips and a frail countenance I offered her up to him as often as he asked; “Yes Lord, she is yours, I give her freely.”
Some wonder at our devotion to a God who would take something so precious from us, who would allow us so much hurt. Others look at us as spiritual giants who seem to possess such incredible faith. And all I can reply to both is, “How could we not love him? How could we not be completely devoted to the one who has given everything for us?”
If you truly met this Savior who loves his redeemed so deeply and serves them so faithfully, if you could see his blood stained brow, his nail pierced hands, his bleeding side, and you could hear him say he did it all for you, you too would give him everything, you would give him anything.
It is in these moments when I feel I can taste the devotion, wrought by the Spirit of God, tested by trials and upheld by his faithfullness, that Christian maturity longs for. It is at times like this that I can faintly taste the faith of our father Abraham, a man willing to do the unthinkable, because he trusted in the goodness of our God.
These most vulnerable of times, these most humble of moments seem to lift us to the highest of heights. We seem to almost feel God’s overwhelming presence. When our lives are stripped bare and we are left with Job’s bewildering poverty there is nothing to be seen but the fortitude of our faith, nothing but the grace of God bracing our frail spirits.
It seems that love is proven not in the heights of ecstasy, but in the pits of despair, when there seems to be no visible reason to give God our affections at all. Here in the pit of loss and longing our love is tested and tried. Here we are proven to be his beloved children, those who have been transformed by the inner working of the Holy Spirit, slowly being fashioned into the image of his Son.
And how brightly the Son shines in the darkness of despair. How lovely does he appear to his bride when she needs him the most, when she is shivering with grief. He, who cares so deeply for our every hurt, our every pain, carries us through such difficult times-times when our legs give way and we fear we will never again walk back into the light.
No, when he asked for my little girl, for my Anastasia, I couldn’t deny him. I could only thank him for the honor and blessing of carrying her for 17 weeks and then give back what was never truly mine to begin with.
When he asked me if I loved him, I could only respond with “How could I not?”