Not Just Mine, Oh Lord, But Thine
I am the mother of one of God's own little jewels. Zachary Samuel was a gift from God, and I was tenderly honored and blessed to be his mother.
God refers to His children as jewels. "'They shall be mine,' saith the Lord of hosts, 'in that day when I make up My jewels.'" There is no finer way to describe the worth of a little child in His eyes. The value of every baby, from conception, is very great, to our Heavenly Father God, Who created each one.
There is an old hymn by William O. Cushing, which most children living forty years ago, and up to a hundred years before that, learned in Sunday School. This song made it clear to me, as a little girl, how precious children are in God's eyes.
It was amazing that Zachy lived through birth. No one expected him to survive his first few days. But God had other plans. God planned on Zachy being my son, and for us to have precious time together. My little boy lived nearly four years.
I knew when I adopted Zachary, that he was not going to have a long life. For the first two years or so, I watched his uneven breathing often, every day. His apnea was so severe, that he routinely stopped breathing for up to twenty seconds, took one breath, and did it again. I knew great dread at first. I treasured every day, for the gift it was, that he was alive. I checked his crib first, every morning, for fear he would be gone. But as time passed, little by little, this finally disappeared. I enjoyed my little son, deeply, and confidently. My baby was a star of my morning. He was my jewel. My sweet, sweet baby boy. It was a sunny summer afternoon that he stopped breathing a little too long, during his nap, and he was gone.
Ah, indeed, my little Zachy was God's loved, and God's own. He was a pure little gem. We are all born sinners, but Zachy was as pure as a human being could be. Zachy was born unresponsive and silent. Even when he began breathing, he did not move or make a sound. He had a malformed brain, which was outside his skull, and had to be removed. Yet he continued to breathe.
Zachy could not see or hear. He could never roll over, sit up, or walk. He could never hold a toy in his hand. Yet Zachy knew love. He knew happiness. This little son of mine proved to me, that happiness does not originate in the brain. It is a gift from God. And thus it was for my little one. He was a beautiful little Chinese baby, with round, soft, kissable cheeks, and eyes that never finished forming, so did not open. He had a sweet little rosebud of a mouth, and a brilliant smile.
Every time I stroked his round little cheeks, he would smile. The longer I stroked, the bigger his smile got. How did he develop such a beautiful smile, when he could not see? From God. There is no other answer. He smiled every time his cheeks were stroked, and no other time. Zachy hardly ever cried, and when he did, he was easily soothed. His little face was very tranquil all day, every day. If he did not move, he looked like he was asleep. But often, he would be moving his arms or legs a little bit, like a contented newborn baby. He would often be making a happy, burbling sound through his tiny button nose. Great was the peace that our Heavenly Father gave Zachy.
Was my Zachy aware of the great love of God, which surrounded him all of his life? Some people would say they do not know. But I am absolutely certain of it. He did not have, or hear speech. But God does not speak out loud anyway. He speaks quietly, in our souls, our spirits. So Zachy did not need language, to be aware of God. God was clearly close to him all the time, for great was the contentment of my son. In his very quietness, his very silence, he showed God's peace. With all the happiness inside him, he showed God's love. He smiled for us. Surely he smiled also in his spirit for God. After all, God was the author of all of Zachy's joy.
Zachy's body had many disabilities, but his soul was whole and well. Bodies are sometimes formed differently, but they are only used on earth. The soul, or spirit of each person lives forever. The dictionary describes souls, in part, this way: " The spiritual nature of human beings, regarded as immortal, separable from the body at death, and susceptible to happiness or misery in a future state." And spirit, in part, this way: "The soul, considered as departing from the body of a person at death." I use both words, because some people use one, and some the other. The important thing is that God does not create souls with missing parts. He does not create disabled souls. I believe this with all my heart, mind, and spirit.
I am certain that every baby ever conceived, has, at that moment, the gift of a soul, a spirit - the capacity to know God. Every baby conceived, is God's baby, and if that baby dies before he or she reaches "the age of understanding," as the Bible explains, the greatest gift he or she ever could have been given, is given. That gift is to spend eternity, whole and well, in Heaven, with God, and family members who were saved. Great is the peace of babies before they are born. I believe they are aware, at some deep level, of the love of God, even when very tiny, in their unfinished, sleeping state. It is God who makes their ears quicken to the sound of their mother's heartbeat, to her voice. It is God who guides their yearning thus toward their mother. He is at work in their tiny lives all along.
I was stunned when I first learned that a large percentage of babies are miscarried before the mother even suspects that a baby is there. It is clear that God finds great joy in babies, since He takes so many of them without any human knowing they existed. Their loss hurt no one, since no one knew. Their lives were brief and peaceful, and the next thing they know - Heaven! Every single baby taken from this world by abortion, is gathered up as well, by the God who sees each sparrow fall. I will be fascinated to learn what plans God has in Heaven, for all His precious babies. His loved and His own. It must be something extraordinary, and magnificent!
* "'They shall be Mine,' saith the Lord of hosts, 'in that day when I make up My jewels.'" Malachi 3:17
I will gather my dear little son into my arms again, in Heaven. His eyes will be opened, and he will be able to speak, to run, to sing. He will be able to hear. He will hold my hand, and walk and talk with me. Together, my son and I will explore the miracles of Heaven. We will sit at Jesus' feet, and listen to Him. I thank God for the wonder of this knowledge! I hope his birth parents are there as well, to enjoy the baby they loved so dearly. We would all be the best of friends. There are no tears there, nor any crying in the land of absolute joy.
© 2004 Rosemary Gwaltney