Good News – Bad News
By Welby O’Brien
Remember how funny those “good news – bad news” jokes used to be? I do! But this time it was not a joke.
When my son and daughter-in-law enthusiastically announced to us that they were pregnant, of course I cried. (Isn’t that what prospective grandmas do?) We were all so very excited!
It was all I could do to NOT go shopping right then and there, and NOT stock up on necessary (or unnecessary) baby paraphernalia for our home. All in due time…
A few months later my son called. “Mom, I have good news and bad news,” he began. Not at all braced for what was coming, I replied lightheartedly, “Okay…good news first.”
“Well,” he announced, “we’re having a girl.” My heart leaped with joy! The girl I never had. What a blessing! “But,” he went on – interrupting my bliss – “the doctor said she may be brain dead.”
Not sure what else took place after that. I was stunned. In shock.
After hanging up the phone I flung myself on the bed. I wept. I wailed. And I cried out to God. “Please! Why have You allowed this? Please! Save that precious little girl!”
The next several weeks dragged on. I wrestled with God. Begged. Pleaded. I was angry at this cruel injustice! I grieved for this priceless unborn baby. The pain of my loss and our loss as a family was insurmountable. Yet my husband and I prayed fervently. We prayed together as a family. Nonstop. We did not give up.
I do not know why God allows some things and at other times He intervenes. Why pain and grief for some, and healing and life for others? All I know is that I believe He does love us, and He is good. And He is fully capable of giving us everything we need when we need it.
So as I grieved, my prayer was eventually changed. I finally came to the point of letting go. True release. Now instead of just, “God fix this!” my heart honestly cried, “Please heal her. And if You do not, please give us all we need to love her and care for her in the best way we can.”
As little Katherine continued to grow in the womb, we persisted in prayer, not knowing who we would welcome into this world, or if we even would. Keenly aware of my own agony, I cannot even imagine the pain and torment her own mother and father endured. But they faithfully held on to their God, and took it one day at a time.
Finally, with increased fervency in our prayers, the highly anticipated due date arrived. As a high risk pregnancy from the beginning, they were all set up in the best possible medical center for the birth. What news would we receive when the phone rang? I fought off the temptation to rehearse all the possible scenarios.
After over 40 hours of horrendously intense labor, we got the call. This was it! Katherine was born. That was the good news! Great news! A miracle in itself! And mother was doing well. Another miracle.
Then the other news came. The long awaited news. And believe it or not – it was also good. She was fine! Is there such a thing as good shock? I cautiously dared to really believe it. Squealing with exuberance, I threw my arms around my husband and shouted, “Thank you!” to God.
Curiously, the doctors were not sure why she was doing so well, and why the brain abnormality was totally normal. Hmmm. (I have a pretty good idea.)
Just hours old, I wept as I held her for the first time. Looking into her eyes, I whispered tenderly, “Katherine, we have been praying for you for a long time. We’re so glad you are here. Jesus loves you.” And she cooed. (Seriously…I have witnesses!)
I instructed my son to never ever forget that she is a miracle baby. And when she gets a “C” on her report card, puts a dent in the car, or brings home a weird boyfriend, to remember this day.
I still do not know why God sometimes says, “Yes,” and sometimes, “No.” Why life is filled with both good news and bad news. But I choose to trust Him no matter what He deems best. And every time I hold that little girl on my lap, or some day look into her grown up eyes, I will never forget that she is a miracle. And I will always remind her that Jesus loves her. And that is always good news!