At first I can barely hear my baby's whimpers. But not for long. By the time I reach the baby's room the whimpers have grown into desperate, deafening shrieks. His tiny hands and feet thrash wildly against the sides of the narrow bassinet. His fair face has turned beet red; his sweet little lips pout miserably. My poor two week old baby is starving; he ate three long hours ago, and that meal has since faded from his short memory. He knows only the hunger pangs that pervade his little tummy and his instinctive desperation for food.
I do pity my baby's helplessness. Immobile and without grasping skills, he must depend on others for bare sustenance and is never sure of his next meal. Still, I chuckle at the senselessness of my son's desperation. Only a few inches from him my body busily churns fresh warm milk for him and, as he cries, I feel my milk come in. Though I will let my son cry until he is hungry enough to eat properly, I know that he will soon be happily suckling, all his hunger pangs completely forgotten.
Yet I don't laugh too hard because I am reminded of the cries that filled our home before these lovely newborn shrills took their place. We too, like the baby, began with small whimpers; lip service to God asking for the child we assumed would arrive in due course. But when that did not happen as quickly as expected our whimpers grew louder and louder. We wanted a child! Our hope turned to despair and our whimpers turned to desperation as we wondered when and if we would be blessed with a child.
Thankfully the day has come. With hindsight I understand that God prepared a child for us from the beginning. Through all our pain and tears God must have been standing at our side with this baby held securely in His arms waiting for precisely the right moment to deliver him into my womb. And He too was probably laughing knowing that shortly our anguish would transform to pure joy.
How will we respond next time we long for something out of our reach?
For the moment our hunger is satiated, our thirst is quenched and our pain is forgotten. We are again traveling the road of contentment. But how will we react when another obstacle arises in our path? How will we respond next time we long for something out of our reach? I hope never to be tested for I am not confident that we will be stronger. But now we have the baby. God willing the baby will grow and advance. His memory span will increase, his intellect will develop and his desperation will slowly dissipate as he learns to trust that he will be fed again. He will begin to recognize his parents, see how much we give him and understand our love even when we do not please him.
As we watch our son steadily progress we will, in fact, be watching God building our son, renewing the original blessing of a child, and bestowing upon us fresh joys of parenthood. Through our constant awareness that all that befalls us is guided by God's nurturing hand, we can learn to trust that He will continue to fulfill our needs and watch over us. In the midst of difficult situations, we must remember how distant this blessing seemed and how suddenly it appeared, and understand that God is again with us and ready to rescue us if and when it is best for us. Of course we can always scream in prayer, but with optimism and trust, never with despair.
I can't hold out any more; the baby's screams are too painful. I scoop the baby up and he quiets down. As I begin to feed him, I pray to God that he take pity on all those who still wait for salvation. That He speed the recovery of the ill, send marriage partners to those seeking them and deliver babies to those who yearn for them. That He hush the cries of all us foolish babies who can not perceive our Father standing right next to us. And of course that He quickly bring the ultimate redemption to the entire Jewish nation, "and may God remove the tears from all faces."