Saturday, March 28, 2020
The call came from my dad. His sister, my aunt, had been celebrating the birth of her first grandchild. The baby’s mother, my cousin, had gone through the birth of the baby remarkably well. My grandmother, the baby’s great-grandmother, had been there, along with my sister and her family. It was a time of celebrating. I had not had the chance yet to go.
Then the second call came from my dad. The baby had developed spinal meningitis … E. coli … and was transported to the children’s hospital in Lubbock. The next call was asking if I could go there. They were going to take the baby off life support, but they wanted me there … to baptize … to offer prayer … to be present.
The story of Lazarus seemed like a cruel joke. Why did Lazarus discover healing while this precious baby died? We would go back to Childress for the funeral. I would talk about Jesus calling children to him, offering them a place. It was a time of death and sadness. It was as if we were there pounding on the chest of our Savior wanting to know why.
About two months after the funeral, I received a small photo album about baby Chandler with a note from my cousin. The photos are of the good days right after his birth. My grandmother, my sister and her family, my aunt holding and loving that baby, my cousin and her husband laughing. Then in the back of the album tucked inside the cover were pictures of me holding a baby with tubes and wires. Baptizing. Praying. Wondering why.
As I looked at the photos, it began to dawn on me that I had a connection with Mary and Martha. They too had pounded on the chest of their friend the healer. “If only you had come! Where were you?” Jesus tells Martha that her brother will live again. Martha knows about the resurrection. She doesn’t care for theology … neither did we. What does it mean for us to believe in Christ?