As I write this article, my wife and I are eagerly anticipating the birth of our second child. As we schedule our days and weeks, it’s increasingly difficult to be content in the moment. We’re held in suspense as we dream about meeting the newest member of our family.
Looking forward causes me to look back and reflect on my first experience in the hospital with a newborn. After years of struggling with infertility, we were incredibly excited about having our first child. I’ll never forget when my son arrived in this world.
I remember the moment I first held him on my chest. Prenatal classes and baby’s-first-year books did nothing to prepare me for the sheer power of that simple action. The way my son’s tiny, wrinkled body fit perfectly into my unsure arms – I was instantly transformed!
Earlier in the day, as we were driving to the hospital and swirling with emotion, I remember asking myself, “If something goes horribly wrong with the baby’s delivery and I have to choose between my wife and my child, which will I choose?” At that point, there was no dilemma: I’d choose my wife over our unknown child. I had no idea how powerful his touch would be.
The moment I embraced my son, things changed. What was once an easy decision was now an impossible one. As I held my newborn baby, we became more deeply linked than I could ever have imagined. I became his shield, his fortress. I promised to keep him safe. I would have laid down my life to save him without a second thought.
A wonderful biblical picture
When I read Deuteronomy, I think about what it’s like to “rest safely” on the chest of God. It’s simply marvellous that God has been revealed to us as a parent.
Imagine God, our perfect Father. He who is Love holds us close to his chest. Our bodies relax. We feel the safety and comfort of being right where we’re meant to be. As he embraces us, our heavenly Father is thinking of us. Indeed, his thoughts toward us are so many they can’t be numbered (Psalm 139:17).
And, just as new parents often do, God rejoices over us with great gladness. With love, our Father calms all our fears. He exults over us by singing a happy song (Zephaniah 3:17).
I can picture God holding me and singing me to sleep – which is exactly what happened during the first few nights of our son’s life. I sang him to sleep in my arms and then held him there. (He refused to sleep anywhere else.) When he awoke, I was still with him.
The same is true for us. When we awake God is still with us, just as Psalm 139:18 promises! It’s wonderful, isn’t it?
Being a parent has given me a better understanding of the nature of God’s love. And the more we know ourselves as a precious child of God, the more we can love those around us (John 13:34).
Postscript: Since writing this piece, my wife and I had the joy of welcoming our daughter into the world. When she was born, something I had forgotten came back like a mighty wave – the feeling to total fullness. My chest physically hurt, as if my heart were growing larger each time I picked up those 6 pounds of perfection. Now I think I can begin to grasp Romans 8:38–39. Nothing can separate us from God’s powerful love, care, and protection. Nothing.