by the Night Writer
Like a big fist pounding on my door,
I never felt such a love before…
— Bruce Cockburn
In church this morning we were exhorted, during the singing portion, to remember that with a shout the walls will come down. “The wall” in this case being whatever is standing between us and God’s will in our life. As I thought about it I remembered the wall, largely of my own making, that had stood between me and God. I had been pretty impressed with its craftsmanship, as I recall. And one day that wall didn’t fall, but suddenly had a large hole punched through it from the other side.
Twenty-two years and two months ago, my wife and I were in a small ultra-sound room while her ob-gyn — the same man who had performed her tubal ligation following a bout with endometriosis five or six years earlier — ran the hand-held device over and around her abdomen. Her home-pregnancy test had been positive that morning, and her report had caused some surprise and concern on her doctor’s part. Surprise because he had never had a ligation “fail”, and concern because the test raised a possibility that she was having an ectopic — or “tubal” — pregnancy, which is a serious problem. As he moved the scanner back and forth, up and down, we all watched the grainy, black and white images on the screen as the patterns shifted. I remember the doctor saying, “Hmmmm” and “Hmmmmm” and “Hmmmm” every so often — but nothing else! Finally I asked, “Is it a baby?”
“Is it where it’s supposed to be?”
“Yes, it is!”
I don’t know what the learned professional, who had carried out the procedure, was thinking then. I do know that I, the expert who had carried on a campaign of intellectual seeking, asking (and even demanding) evidence from people of what God had actually done in their lives, now had to wrap my mind around a startling new reality. Certainly the first impulse was to try to pick up the imploded bricks from that wall and try to fit them right back where they came from. I would, however, come to see these as just so much rubble to be cleared away.
It didn’t happen overnight, but the clearing definitely began. I was very new to the “things of God” at that time. Willing to “try” something new but probably not that firmly anchored. I had heard some wonderful and exciting teaching but it was still largely theoretical at the time. A new and dawning awareness of the reality and power of the Word of God was coming into my life as a preview of the teaching and discipleship I would be receiving in the years to come, and that first punch from the other side of the wall would be followed by a series of shakings and renovations (via revelations) that probably aren’t finished even now.
My daughter arrived a little more than eight months later and I was able to learn and grow in these things as she, herself, grew. The lessons and experiences my wife and received shaped our lives and our decisions and were reflected in the way we lived and raised our first daughter and the one who came after. Even though there were often voices who said, “That’s not how you should do it” or “you’re only making it tougher on her in the long-run”, we resisted much worldly wisdom and held fast to what we were seeing and experiencing and stayed committed to putting in the values and expectations we thought our girls would need to succeed. We raised them not as though we were their friends, but to help them become the kind of adults we’d be pleased to have as friends. I’d have to say we (and especially God) have been very successful in this mission.
Two days ago, we were once again in a small ultra-sound room. My wife, myself, my two daughters, as well as the husband of the eldest. Two generations gathered around the machine, hoping to catch a glimpse of a third as the technician ran the scanner back and forth, up and down, on my married daughter’s stomach. At last, there was the proof. He has given us a son…and so very much more.