WOULD YOU HOLD MY BABY?
Dr. John Holland
I was the invited guest speaker for the dedication of a new church sanctuary. I had ministered in three services that morning. I was sitting in a comfortable seat in the large foyer, when Amy came through with her infant son, Adam.
I first saw Amy in the third service. It was a memorable service. The ushers came to the front of the church and cleared the rather large seating area for the newly arrived worshipers. During the congregational singing a large family which filled the first row of seats was ushered in. The group ranged from the elderly to baby who was now being held in his mother’s arms right beside me. In time, the little baby began to fuss so his mom took him and left the sanctuary.
At the close of that service, I prayed for a rather long line of people. I said to the woman who had brought the baby into the church, “Your baby is beautiful.” I was just trying to relate to her, but when she began to weep I knew I had made a gross mistake. With trembling lips and a shaky voice, she said, “I am the grandmother.”
Then the difficult experience of her young teenage daughter poured out of the mother. It was a tale too often told of a rebellious life and failed relationships. Amy's pregnancy was followed by the rejection of her by the boy who fathered her child. This made the birth of the baby a bitter experience.
At the tender age of sixteen she now had the responsibilities of an unexpected pregnancy and the shame she had brought to her family. This sad, life changing event produced angry words, harsh arguments and a family torn by sorrow and disappointment. Her experience had brought most of the members of her extended family to that church service.
I prayed with this grandmother and sought to comfort her. Then I left the sanctuary with a lump in my throat and a weight in the pit of my stomach. I just sat in the foyer waiting for the pastor to drive me to the hotel.
That is when this most unusual event took place. I was confronted with a question never spoken and God answered it without words.
Amy, who is the real mother of the little baby came into the foyer and sat down beside me, though there were numerous seating arrangements in the spacious foyer. With her baby boy under one arm and a diaper bag over the other, she chose to sit on the couch next to me.
That was when I had an inner nudge by the Holy Spirit.
Amy was carrying something in her young mother's heart so strong she was propelled to my side. It was a deep gnawing ache which only a touch from the Lord could fill. It was expressed by a riveting need which was more than a happy mother wanting a pastor to admire her baby. Amy needed an answer! I was immediately engaged by the gentle, but very real presence of the Holy Spirit.
We were into something more than the physical material universe. I recognized both the spirit of this young teenage mother and the presence of the Spirit of the Lord.
I believe I am a spirit that has a body. I am not a physical human being having a spiritual experience. I am a spirit having a physical experience. The basic statement of faith here is that the spirit realm controls the material realm, opposed to the material controlling the spiritual realm. God created the world from things which do not appear.
“Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3).
Amy had a baby in her arms, but she had a much heavier weight in her heart. Now she was coming to me for an answer. She sat her diaper bag down and moved over close enough to be touching my shoulder. She looked up at me with large brown eyes and shocked me when she asked, “Would you hold my baby?”
Inside her spirit was a big question and since I was the guest speaker of the weekend, she assumed that I would be able to help her get her question answered. She wanted and desperately needed something from God. She expected me to receive it from the Lord and break the power of the fearful mystery which held her life in its grip.
Amy’s question, “Would you hold my baby” went far deeper than the mere words. It was the voicing of a great human need which only the Spirit of God could answer.
I am a father of four and so my natural response to Amy’s unusual request was, “Of course.” I took little Adam and laid him on the side of my neck, resting him on my shoulder. He cuddled there warm and peaceful. Amy just stared at me as I held her baby. I cradled him against my shoulder and neck where he snuggled down and slept. Through my holding her baby, God was saying, “Yes Amy, I will touch your baby. He is not beyond the love of your Heavenly Father.”
There we sat, an elder in the faith and a young teenage girl, side by side drinking in the presence of a loving heavenly Father. The Holy Spirit made the transfer without one word from me. Her quest for an answer was satisfied and her heart and spirit were at peace.
In time she reached up and took Adam from my arms and without another word, walked out of the church with him and her diaper bag. Her spirit was set free from the fear that this beautiful little boy was unclean because of her sin. She went away satisfied.
I sat humbled by the awesome presence of the One who is ever touched by the feelings of our infirmities and invites us to come with our needs for mercy and healing.
She did not need to talk to me, and I did not need to counsel her. Amy's unspoken question was, “Is my baby evil because of my sin? Is he so unacceptable that you would not want to touch him?” I understood her logic. If you, a minister of the church would hold him, it answers the troubling question would God hold my baby?
This tender encounter when two human beings shared an “aha” moment remains etched in my memory. Her question, “Would God hold my baby?” was answered by the Holy Spirit in a life changing way which was both practical and personal. It came from the kingdom of the Holy Spirit through a less than perfect human. The troubling spiritual question of a repentant little teenage girl was answered.
I could have quoted for her, 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
I could have told her, “Yes God will hold your baby!”
I could have quoted, Romans 8:1, “There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”
I could have led her in a prayer of confession, but that was not what was needed here.
I thank the Lord no words from me were necessary - just a simple act of caring for someone who at that moment was confused and in pain.
Here was a young woman with a heart wrenching cry. She was lifting her son to the Father who had sent His Son to bear the sins of us all. He was the one to fill the void in the heart of one who had a broken relationship with her father.
The God who gave His son to answer the need of all who have a broken past was sending the Holy Spirit to bring comfort.
He will bring the same comfort to you today.