This weekend while visiting Josh's family, Susie and I were able to attend a baby shower for Josh's cousin Lisa. She was expecting her first baby, a girl, and they planned to name her Arayah (which means ray of hope). This baby was a big surprise for Lisa and her husband Shawn, who found out they were expecting after she was already midway through her second trimester! She's had to scramble to get ready for the baby's arrival.
Sadly, this morning as we were leaving for home, we found out that Lisa was going in for a c-section and that the baby would be stillborn. Arayah had her cord wrapped around her neck four times. Lisa was able to see and hold her baby even though she was no longer living. Our hearts just break for Lisa and Shawn, as well as Josh's whole family.
It is difficult to understand God's timing with this. Arayah had no prenatal care for her earliest weeks, but was just fine until just two weeks before her due date. Lisa just had her baby shower, and now at home has stacks of new baby girl things that she surely hasn't even had time to organize quite yet, to remind her of her loss. It feels like God gave this gift and got their hopes up and then took it away.
But I DO know that God is good. He gives and takes away. He holds all things in His hand, and works all things together for good for His children. I am praying now for "a ray of hope" to shine in the hearts of Lisa and Shawn as they mourn their loss. Hope in God's grace and goodness. Hope in Christ to sustain them as they journey through these extremely difficult days. Praying for the nurses and doctors to be kind and gentle and understanding. Praying for many friends and family to pour out their love to Lisa and Shawn now and in the months to come.
And I realize more than ever that life is a gift. The months that Arayah lived in Lisa's womb were a gift. The hours, or days or years that any child lives is a gift. We must solemnly consider how often we take life for granted, how easily we assume that everything will be just fine. We presume upon the Lord. Please take a moment to be grateful for the life God has given you -- the years you were able to spend with the loved one you've lost, or the years you continue to enjoy with a small child running circles around you. We are not promised tomorrow. And yet, with our hope in Christ, we can hope for all eternity!
On that day when Christ has come and made all things right, we can say "O death where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?"
But for now we feel the sting. Please join me in praying for grace for these hurting parents.