A coworker of mine sent out a note Sunday morning, asking for prayer because both his cousin and grandmother had died from COVID-19, the disease caused by this new coronavirus. And the latest forecast is that, in the U.S. alone, there will be 100,000 or more deaths from this virus. Yet God tells us—His very name tells us—that He is subjecting this force of nature, too, and making it serve his plan of grace.
On February 15—about a month after the first reported case of coronavirus and about a month before our country started taking it seriously—our family welcomed a new baby boy.
We never thought his life was possible.
My wife was told—by both her primary care doctor and her obstetrician—that she could no longer have children. Not unless she took fertility drugs, which she didn’t want to do. She didn’t take the drugs, but we got pregnant anyway. We named him Theodore—gift of God.
But could his miraculous life continue, begun as it was during a global pandemic? Amid more than 39,000 deaths and counting? We’d be lying if we said we didn’t ask these questions. And kept asking them each of my son’s first six weeks of life.
We have a few earthly reasons to hope. I’m 41, my wife is 38 and neither of us has health complications. So if we catch the coronavirus, the odds say we’d recover. Also, there have been almost no coronavirus deaths worldwide for kids under 10.
Furthermore, my employer instituted a new policy last year—just in time for Theodore—that allows new dads to take two months off, with pay. So I’ve been home, helping take care of our two older boys, driving them to and from school. And now that their school is closed, teaching them at home. I also do the food shopping, exposing myself to the risk of infection. After all, if I get sick, I can stay away from the baby. But if my wife gets sick, she’d have to stop nursing.
Knowing that the odds are in our favor, however, is only small comfort. Our real sense of security comes from God’s Word.
Since learning Theodore was on the way, I’ve felt a new connection to the story of Abraham and Sarah. When God promised Isaac to Abraham, He called Himself El-Shaddai. I especially like Herman Bavinck’s translation of that name: “God the Almighty, who subjects all the forces of nature and makes them serviceable to grace.”[i]
Human reproduction is a force of nature. And just as God subjected those forces to give two 90-somethings a baby boy, he subjected those forces to give our family a baby boy. Both boys, I believe, are part of God’s plan of grace, to expand redemption into all the world and on into the future.
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