Midwifery & the Sovereignty of God

My wife Alicia is about 20 weeks pregnant with our first child, Josiah White. Recently, we had a visit with the midwife who, Lord willing, is going to deliver our baby. We mentioned that I am currently in school and she asked where I attend. When I told her that I am a full time student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary her eyes lit up and she said she delivers babies of Southern students all the time. I said, “Well, I hope they are some of your best patients.” She said they were.
She went on to say that one thing she appreciates about Southern students is that they are rarely disappointed with the birthing process. She mentioned that some couples get so intent on delivering a certain way – for instance without the use of medication – that they are very disappointed in her and themselves when it doesn’t go the way they had planned. Some think that she led them poorly; others think their bodies failed them, but Southern students accept their lot as from the hand of a good and kind God.
I found this to be very appropriate and encouraging. Southern is known for a robust belief in the absolute sovereignty of God over all things. We also believe in the fallenness of this created order. All that is involved in the birthing process is cursed. It’s messy. There will be disappointments. But our view of the world gives us realistic expectations. Epidurals may be needed; blood will be present; cries will be loud; babies will have abnormalities; some babies will even die. When these things happen, we are deeply hurt, but not devastated.
This world order is broken, but Jesus will make it all right. If Josiah is born with Down syndrome, I know that God will use him to conform my wife and I more fully to the image of Christ. We are praying daily that Alicia will carry Josiah to full term, but the Lord may take him. If that should happen, we will not blame our midwife. We will not blame God. We will weep long and hard. Then we will bless the God who gives and takes away, knowing that death is dead because of the death of Christ. Whatever our lot, He has taught us to say, “It is well with our soul.”
It is good that Southern is known for a deep belief in God’s sovereignty. It is even better when our attitude about disappointment reflects this truth. All too often this is not true in my daily life. I can go from exulting in the doctrine of God’s meticulous providence, to muttering under my breath because I have a flat tire. O, how we of all people ought to have a favorable interpretation of God’s dealings with us. He is for us in Jesus. He is ordering world history, and our own individual histories, to be summed up in Christ. May we view all of the details of our lives, both good and bad, in light of that end.

(Previously published in Towers, p.5)