Each coming year as the Christmas season approaches, we think about God the Son (which makes sense, since it’s Jesus’ birth that we are celebrating). But as our calendars turned from November to December this year, a couple things happened:
- We celebrated our 2-year anniversary (a completely unrelated side note, but hey here’s to marriage!)
- As we thought about Christmas this time, our heart’s gaze is drawn to God the Father even more than God the Son…
Don’t get me wrong, we resonate with God the Son this year in a new way too, as each one of us can tell you that we would happily and willingly lay down our lives to save Abel, much in the same way that Jesus was willing to lay down his life for ours. This is not to put our situation on equal footing as the Passion of the Christ, as being nailed to wood in order to offer salvation to the very people who resent & reject you is a completely different deal. So the fact that Jesus died for anyone & everyone who would receive him by grace through faith will always remain incomparably amazing… But if I could know for sure that a horribly violent death of my own could preserve the earthly & eternal life of Abel Paul – while easier said than done, I would sign up for that tomorrow.
Where we are more confounded than ever this Christmas season is when we think about God the Father. As the parents of Abel, we daily pray (and ask your help in praying) for an eternal perspective… that we would fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen (2 Cor 4:16-18), and that the Lord would use Abel’s life to glorify Himself, and maybe even help bring someone to a saving faith in Christ. But truthfully, if given the chance to write the story ourselves, there’s no scenario in which we ourselves would CHOOSE for Abel to die.
- Even if we could somehow know that by hearing our family’s story, the gospel would ‘click’ for hundreds of people who would be reconciled to the Lord and saved from an eternity of suffering, Abel’s death still wouldn’t be “worth it” to us. And that’s a confession to you all, and a reminder that we still possess a pathetically short-sighted view of eternity… that we’re humans who imperfectly struggle to gain & maintain the eternal perspective that we pray for. But it’s honestly how we feel.
And so that’s when it hit us: God the Father KNEW that this little boy born in Bethlehem had a very specific mission in his earthly life, and the daunting cross of Calvary was in His sovereign view when He sent Jesus to dwell amongst us that one December. The depth of this sacrifice fills us with a greater sense of awe than ever before at just how deep The Father’s love is for us… how the love He feels for His redeemed sons & daughters in Christ is SO GREAT that there’s nothing He wouldn’t do to be with us, forever… even the voluntary death of God the Son. He knew that Jesus was born to die, so that we might truly live. He knew it, and He sent him anyway.
- And therein lies a new meaning to Christmas this year for Abel’s parents: when Jesus came in the flesh, fully God and fully man, you & I were all declared “WORTH IT.” The Father considered you WORTH sending His only Son to save, and the Son considered you WORTH being crucified for. Acts of unfathomable love toward people who have proven to be FAR from lovable… and through Jesus we are now freely offered eternal salvation instead of eternal separation. Both life after death, and life to the full here & now in a reconciled relationship with our Maker. That’s the gospel, friends.
“How deep the Father’s love for us
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the Chosen One
Bring many sons to glory.”
We already told you that we wouldn’t have done it… but God the Father did. That fact brings me relief that we’re not God (even when we try and act like it) as well as comfort that He is the One writing Abel’s story, not us…
Our prayers for healing and wellness will continue, but may they be matched by an equally unwavering trust in Him, regardless of the outcome. Your jumping in with us both encourages and strengthens us, and so we invite you to join us in lifting up the following as we look ahead to Week 32 of Abel’s life:
- Complete healing of Abel’s Trisomy-18 diagnosis in general — and specifically, for full cognition in his brain that will continue to build his muscle control and overall body functioning (we’re seeing progress here but need to keep the faith). On a note of praise: Kelly’s amniotic fluid levels are all in check, Abel is growing on pace (3lbs 8oz), his blood flow looks good, and the water cysts we’ve seen on his brain were nowhere to be found yesterday…
- That Abel will turn to be head down, since the past few weeks we’ve seen him in ‘breech’ position. Breech babies often have to be delivered via C-section, which will not be ideal for us.
- Strength, courage, faith & perspective for Abel’s parents, family & friends. We are EXCITED to have this boy, but the uncertainty surrounding his birth is still daunting. Pray that we’d be in God’s Word every day to remind ourselves that the Lord is faithful, that He can be trusted, and that He does not make mistakes.
- Quality time with with our son outside of the womb in any circumstance.