Thursday, February 12, 2009

…one centimeter at a time.

A month ago, if you had asked me if I would take home to our family a terminally ill newborn dropped off at the hospital, I would have given you an extensive list of reasons why that would be a terrible idea. I might have mentioned that this just isn’t our calling: OB/GYN residency is not the season for a task like that; our children are too young; we don’t have the money; we don’t have the time. I might have ducked under the guise of needing to be a detached physician. Perhaps I would have waxed prideful: we need to raise leaders in our community; we need to spend our time influencing others to do the right thing, not spend our time on a brainless baby who doesn’t sleep. Trust me, I really could have given you some excuses.

Why, then, is Matt now our son?


When God inspired Paul the apostle Paul to write, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come,” he meant it! Attending Matt’s birth three weeks ago, watching him in the nursery with his fontanel bulging, reading his MRI for the first time, God has, with wondrous mystery, sheared some of the fetters of fear and selfishness in my heart bit by bit.

This week, I have been finding new hold-outs which I am, as usual, quite reluctant to give up. Matt’s head continues to quickly grow. One centimeter at a time, he is morphing from the beautiful baby we brought home towards the end-product of his disease process. After a new CT scan last week, there is growing concern Matt’s birth mother might have developed a cytomegalovirus infection which may be at least partly responsible for some of the problems in his brain. In fact, it just so happens that this same virus could give any pregnant mother not previously exposed to the virus a disseminated infection capable of causing severe fetal problems. This means, to my horror, that future additions to our family, our friends who are pregnant, and perhaps even our friends who desire to become pregnant would be at risk.

That is, if he has the virus and if these moms-to-be were not previously infected. In other words, if, by God’s sovereignty, this trial has been designed for us.

Today I consider this: “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress (James 2:20).” Furthermore, “faith without works is dead." Pure and perfect religion is the care of orphans and widows. In my sinful heart, however, there is no innate capability of the pure and perfect. In my sinful heart I am afraid for my family and my friends. The physician in me thinks Matt’s doctors are taking pot shots at his diagnosis and he probably does not have CMV because doctors are just usually wrong. The Christian in me says, “look to Christ, you fool, and lean not on your own understanding!” But the man in me, my dreadful, sinful heart, says “run away and save yourselves while you can.”

Ultimately we must all choose the inner man to whom we will listen. So for now we look to Christ. We look to Him to strengthen us and comfort us. This week we will wait upon the Lord as he moves us despite ourselves, slowly, centimeter by centimeter, through the process of purification and perfection he has so carefully designed for us.



  1. WOW. Absolutely amazing words! I am speechless. What profound teaching you have packed in here. God's ways certainly aren't ours. You are evidence of living that out. Oh I desire to choose to listen to the voice of God more often than my own sinful nature. "Centimeter by centimeter". Thanks for encouraging me today in the midst of your own trial.

    Praying! Cannot even say exactly what for, but praying that God meets you right at your place of need.

  2. I join Sheryl above in being speechless. I have no adequate response, other to say that it is stories like yours that have grown my faith to a different level.

    Praying for you.


  3. man. thank you for encouraging me this morning with your words. God working in both of your lives never ceases to amaze me, it gives me hope. love to you both.

  4. aww..this is horrible. i am praying for ya'll. i am so sorry. sorry for matty to have to endure all of this.

  5. I have been praying for baby Matt and for you too. I know that this was predestined and that Jesus' fingerprints are all over your family. Baby Matts precious life is in your hands until the moment you hand him back. Not easy, but the Lord knew you would be best and not abandon this innocent little boy. My prayers for your strength and needs as you continue forward in this mission of unselfish love and grace.

    Love and Hugs, Laurie