God is still in the business of surprising births

This past Sunday, January 25, 2015, two babies were born on opposite sides of the world. Neither are particularly special on the surface – neither famous nor particularly noteworthy. However, news of both of their arrivals, and even on the same day, caught my attention and made my eyes a little misty – in a very rich way.

What is so special about these two seven pound babies?

Elliot was born to Pete and Susanna, friends of ours in England.  Elliot is Pete and Susanna’s sixth child. Their first son Calvin was stillborn at 22 weeks. Their second son Lewis is a delight and nearing 5. They then had twins which Susanna miscarried at ten weeks. Their fifth child was diagnosed with anencephaly at their first ultra-sound. This rare condition is the absence of a major portion of the brain and skull that occurs during embryonic development. It’s also a diagnosis where mothers are often offered the chance to terminate their pregnancy because the baby’s life expectancy post-birth is roughly a few hours to a few days at most. Susanna and Pete, believing all babies are God’s creation, bravely decided to carry the baby to term. They held their baby daughter for a precious eighty minutes before losing her to earthly death. They named her Anastasia which in Greek means ‘resurrection’. After reading this, it will make more sense why my eyes were moist when I woke up on Sunday morning to receive the following message:

‘With great joy and thankfulness we are delighted to announce the safe arrival of Elliot Jim into our family. He arrived at 1.30am, this morning (25th January) and weighs approx. 7lb 2oz.’

Fourteen hours later in the middle of the USA, Payton entered the world to Landon and Heather, friends of ours here in Columbia. The details of Landon’s and Heather’s story are more private in nature and theirs to tell. With Heather’s permission, I can tell you that she went through a divorce, which like most divorces, included periods of intense loneliness and hopelessness. As a single mom of three kids, when she was least expecting it, she was pursued by a wonderful Christian man and married a year later. On Sunday, fourteen hours after Elliot entered the world, and on a completely different continent, Landon and Heather welcomed their baby girl Payton into the world.

These two babies represent very different stories. But they both are reminders that God is a God of new beginnings, precisely out of the pit of emptiness. He is a God of hope and redemption. I couldn’t help but recall that just one month ago to the day of these births, December 25, we celebrated the birth of another little baby, Jesus.

Jesus was God’s solution to the world’s condition. Jesus came precisely to offer new life to all those who believe – and to those who are hurting, hurting badly. These two different situations reminded me of the following song by Don Chaffer (you can listen to it here).

You have redeemed my soul
From the pit of emptiness.
You have redeemed my soul from death.
I was a hungry child,
A dried up river,
I was a burned out forest,
And no one could do anything for me.
But you put food in my body,
Water in my dry bed,
And to my blackened branches,
You brought the springtime rain of new life.
And nothing is impossible for you.

We have a God who is in the business of making things new and redeeming the yuck. The births of Elliot and Payton are good reminders that no one or no situation is outside of God’s reach.


  1. Kelly said:

    So nice to read Erin!

  2. Elizabeth McKinney said:

    Thank you, Erin, for reminding us of God’s goodness.

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