Babies, Through a Glass Dimly: Meditations from a Maternity Ward

Note from A Ready Writer: I did not write the following article, but I did get permission from the author to post it here. It is written by Weston Hank Balch, aka "Brother Hank".


"For now we see through a glass, dimly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." - 1 Corinthians 13:12

Tomorrow will be the end of my second week at the new job at hospital. Since I mainly work with surgical instruments, I don't get to see a lot of patients. But tonight, I made my way up to the third floor after my shift was over and found the "baby window" (also known as the maternity ward). That's where all the wee ones go to sleep the night away while mommy recovers a few doors down.

I'd been looking forward to going up there ever since my first day on the job, and it was no disappointment. As one who is burdened for the unborn, it does my heart well to see a room full of newborns tightly "swaddled" in various shades of pink and blue, with their last names neatly written above their little heads. "Baby Doe" and "Baby Smith" tells a story far more complex than I could ever understand. But one thing it tells for certain is these babies are "wanted".

One little boy in particular seemed to catch my movements behind the glass, and turned to face my way, with his little eyes all aglow with newness of life. His small hands and fingers attempted to reach out of his blanket for anything worth grabbing. It was amazing to think this little vessel had 'life' and a soul and had, from the moment of his conception, taken his place among the rest of humanity as one that would face eternity. Little "Baby Smith" will one day soon stand before the God of all the universe, who just months before began intricately knitting him in his mother's womb. He went from nothing, to existence, solely because of the sovereign prerogative of God. I believe I could have stood there pondering the incalculable 'miracles' of life for hours on end.

But tonight in particular, I came away with one thing worth thinking on. Having just this morning spent half an hour on the phone with a coordinator of an orphanage in El Salvador, listening of the horrible conditions and situations that orphans in that country find themselves in; and having talked with a brother here at Southern about the spiritual & biological fact that "children are not promised and not to be presumed upon" -- the starkness of the young lives I saw tonight shook me.

I was reminded once again that their "wantedness" was not based on any thing or any way their parents feel or felt about them. There very well may have been newborns in that room tonight that were quite the little "surprises" to their parents. There may have been one or two who were given up for adoption before they were even born. And there might have even been some who were still not 'wanted', but instead were going to be 'withstood' for their entire lives. But what struck me and left me feeling the mighty presence of God at that maternity window tonight was not found in the whims of these's newborn's parents. While most of these children were loved and wanted by their parents in a way that far outweighs explanation, the scriptural truth that God Himself wanted and wants those children was enough to send shudders down my spine.

What every child in that room tonight had in common (as well as every child ever born in the history of the world) was that they were 'wanted' by God. Not only were they wanted by Him, but they were willed into existence by His sovereign power, and intimately formed by His holy design. Scripture says that He had numbered their days when there was not even one of them (Psalm 139:16), and even that He was the One who timed their conception and birth (Isaiah 66:9)! Long before their parents ever fathomed coming together to have children, their heavenly Father had fashioned a perfect plan for their lives. These babies were breathing air made by the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were hearing sounds through an ear that was created by the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and sent tongues of fire on the disciples at Pentecost. These were babies of whom the Lord looked upon and said, "Very good."

As you go on about your day (or night), I want to plead with you to take a few moments and consider this love that God has for the least of these among us. Ponder how intimate God's love is for these children, and how intimate His love is for you -- even amidst your rebellion and unbelief. He seeks us out like the perfect, loving Father -- One which we can know for certain ALWAYS wants us, and has wanted us from the very beginning. Because God is the author of Life, we can be sure that He wants every life that comes into existence for Himself. In the eyes of God, His family can never have too many -- "whosoever will, may come." I pray that in our families, we can say the same. We're not called, as Planned Parenthood would have us to think, to "make every child a 'wanted' child". We are called to realize that they are already wanted. God wants them, and so should we.

Because Christ is Lord of the womb,
Brother Hank