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a magnificent crumbling

Last week, I watched my daughter fall apart.

It was excruciating.

You see, her 7-day-old baby boy had to go back to the hospital. He was jaundiced to the extreme, and an incubator was the only way to bring it under control.

When the doctor called her, she was a bit rattled, but she just jumped into action. Her other three kiddos were quickly packed and out the door to Grandma’s, and I hopped into the van with her and headed for the hospital while her husband tied up loose ends at work.

She was confident that she could manage this – a blip, right? Not uncommon, at all.

And then we walked into that hospital room.

And she saw this. 

And realized that she was going to have to let go of her precious baby, for hours and perhaps days, so that he could get well.

And she crumbled. Magnificently.

Yes, magnificently. Because in that moment, she realized that he would be alone, unswaddled, and without her comfort. And there was no way for him to understand what was happening to him – there would only be, for him, the absence of her. It was PURE LOVE that I saw – completely selfless, exquisitely painful love.

The only way for him to get well looked like abandonment.

And the battle raged, evident in her tears and her posture and on her beautiful face, knowing fully that she must certainly hand him over but absolutely bereft at the very idea.

He was poked and prodded and splinted and uncovered and masked and it was pitiful to see. Her heart broke for him, and mine broke for her. But she settled into the rocking chair, as close as she could possibly get to him, and rocked. And prayed. And waited. For the hard thing to have the best result.

The very good news is that the incubator did it’s job, and the baby managed the night very well, and he came home again the next day.

But it got me thinking. I’ve heard the analogies – the comparisons between God giving us what is best for us even when we can’t understand it. Like taking your kid to the dentist, or your dog to the vet. Neither the dog nor child can understand that it is for their own good.

But watching that magnificent crumble. Might God also feel broken-hearted, and bereft, when He puts me in the incubator? Knowing I will feel alone, even though He’s right there, in the rocking chair beside me? 

I’ve only looked at it from the kid/dog/me angle before, the not understanding that I’m getting exactly the best thing for me part. 

But I know that God loves, and has compassion, and is merciful. He IS love and compassion and mercy, in fact. So doesn’t it follow that He must feel sadness on my behalf when things don’t make sense, even though He knows what’s for my good? That the plans He has for me are magnificent, better than I even know to hope or ask for? And I can’t see Him, even though He’s right there, in that rocker, watching over me.

I think yes, He feels for me, even as He cares for me. Magnificently.

And unlike that baby, I CAN understand enough. Enough to trust Him with me.

Feeling His love,


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