I went round to visit a couple with their new baby this afternoon. It's one of privileges of being a pastor.All babies are extraordinary miracles. They make you marvel at the way that God designed us so that life is knitted together in a mother's womb over 9 months.
This baby feels a special miracle because he had a very traumatic birth. Traumatic for his parents that is, especially his mum. He was happy as Larry, swimming away in his amniotic sack right up until the point the surgeon reached him during the caesarean. He was a bit dopey because of the general anaesthetic his mum had to have as she was rushed into the operating theatre, but that probably just went to increase his feelings of peace and calm!
Over the last few weeks there have been a number of babies born to mums in our church who would not have survived if we didn't live in a developed country in the 21st century. It's quite likely that their mums' wouldn't have made it either. We may whinge about the NHS, but the bottom line is that we are greatly blessed to have it.
I love a good birth story - my wife was a bit put out that I relayed hers to my 6th form geography set on the morning of the birth of our first child! As I listened to the birth story this afternoon I suddenly welled up in tears. This appears to be a feature of this week! They were tears of joy at the wonderful way that everyone was in the right place at the right time to mean that a very dangerous situation wasn't. But it's not my propensity to blub at the drop of a hat that is the reason that I think that I'm a big baby, it's the fact that I am a totally dependent being.
Holding a tiny 5 1/2 lb boy in my hands I was very aware of his frailty. That he needed his parents for everything. To feed him. Change him. Move him. Dress him. Protect him. Babies are tangibly dependent on others. Left to their own devices they wouldn't survive.
It stuck me that that is the state of all of us. We are all totally dependent on the God who gave us life and sustains us and the entirety of His creation. Psalm 104 says:
27 All creatures look to you
to give them their food at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them,
they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
they are satisfied with good things.
29 When you hide your face,
they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
they die and return to the dust.
We can see that babies are dependent. But as we grow up we think that we're independent. That we run our own lives, provide for ourselves, earn what we have. But that's simply not true.
Even without admitting that there is a God actively running his creation, there's an awful lot in life that we have to admit is out of our control. None of us chose where to be born or what circumstances we grow up in. None of us makes a conscious decision to keep breathing or to keep the blood pumping round our bodies. And most of us will die of things that have not been caused by our life style or any decision we have made.
But, because there is a God, the claim of the Bible is that there is not one moment of my life when I am not totally dependent on Him for all I am and have.
I'm just a big baby because in the end I'm no less needy than the tiny bundle of humanity I held this afternoon. Its just that, in my arrogance, I'm rather slower to admit it by crying out to my heavenly Father.