One's baby was born 3 months too soon, at just over 28 weeks. I am happy to report that she (Ailyn) is doing well, defying the odds, and amazing her caregivers. Strong little fighter, that one...
Another little boy was diagnosed with PDD-NOS - pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified, autism. His parents are young, and this is quite a blow to the family, who are coming to the realization that their sweet little boy might never lead a "normal" life.
And, perhaps most heartbreaking of all, the little girl whose mommy just found out yesterday that she will need a heart transplant at the tender age of 4. This means that for her daughter to live, someone else's precious baby must die. *sob* This is just not fair. My heart breaks for this family... There just aren't words for something like this.
And when I hear claims being made that this world is "good" - that everything happens for a reason, that this was part of God's plan... I keep coming back to the wise words spoken by Gavin McGrath, at the funeral of our seminary friends' newborn baby boy... "This is not your fault. There is nothing you could have done to prevent this. This is not the way it was meant to be." God intended much better for us when he created the world in Love, but because sin has tainted everything, babies are born too soon, little boys are faced with challenges, and little girls are given a seemingly impossibly difficult path.
Yes, God can redeem even these tragedies. In fact, He already has. But that doesn't mean that He intended for them to happen. His plan is not for us to suffer, but to transform us and to bring us into full communion, into perfect relationship with Him. He works though the imperfections of this world - fallen, every bit of it tainted by sin, to achieve his goal.
And as I watch these families deal with the unspeakable situations forced upon them, I can't help but feel a twinge of survivor guilt - an emotion I am all-too-familiar with. You don't bear your 5th healthy, whole, child while watching two of your friends lose their firstborn infant sons without enduring a certain measure of guilt. Why has my family been spared? And I know well that there is no answer, just as I have no answer for those who suffer.
There is, in the end, only Grace. And it is enough, if we will let it be. God takes no pleasure in our suffering. He feels it, too, and just as we wish we could take our own children's suffering upon ourself, He does, even more so, for us. That is the story of Salvation History, after all... And it is in His hands that I place these families, asking for an extra measure of Grace for each of them, and that they be filled with His peace, love, and hope, for the future.