Any pain or fear that Mary experienced during labor and delivery was undoubtedly replaced by joy as she held the baby Jesus in her arms. The gospel of Luke informs us that Mary swaddled her newborn and laid him in a manger (Luke 2:7), but the Word is deafeningly silent about her emotions during this time. It is as though a privacy curtain was closed out of respect and reverence for this new family sharing a sacred moment. No words can adequately express the feelings of a new parent, although one verse gives us a glimpse:
A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.
If a woman experiences such joy from bringing forth a child, imagine how God must feel. He “fearfully and wonderfully” knit us together in the womb (Ps. 139:13-16). During my first pregnancy, an ultrasound revealed that my embryo had implanted in a very precarious position and had less than a 1% chance of survival. While it was too early at this point to even detect a heartbeat, all signs pointed toward a miscarriage for our first baby. Dave and I were devastated, but we were immediately on our knees pleading with God for the life of our baby.
That night I felt a horrible scraping sensation across my lower abdomen. The pain was so severe that my knuckles turned white as I gripped the arm of the couch. We continued to pray for a miracle. At my second ultrasound, it was time to face the music.
Don’t give up hope. My doctor’s optimistic advice rang in my head as I waited for the results. I turned my head to the wall as the ultrasound technician scanned my belly. If there was bad news, I didn’t want to see it firsthand. I was reminded of Hezekiah, who turned his face to the wall and prayed when he learned of his fate (Isa. 38:2). God heard his prayers and had mercy on him. (Please, Father, have mercy now.)
My heart skipped a beat when the technician asked, “Don’t you want to see the heartbeat?” Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw when I turned my head back toward the monitor. For the first time, I saw our baby, in the form of a giant heart beating furiously on the screen. It was beating, Hi, Mommy! Hi, Mommy! Tears flowed like rain down my face, and I tried to gain control as I asked the technician about the location of the embryo. She left the room to ask the doctor, who confirmed that our baby was now “inexplicably” in the perfect location. Our first baby, named Grace for God’s divine favor, was truly a miracle baby.
Even though our second and third babies arrived without all the drama of the first, their lives are still miraculous. A “miracle” is defined as “An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature, held to be supernatural or an act of God.”  When you consider how pregnancy and the entire gestational and childbirth processes require rigidly perfect conditions and timing, any baby is a “miracle.” Only God could achieve such a seemingly impossible feat!
The first chapter of 1 Samuel recounts how Hannah desperately longed for a baby. She poured her soul out to God, promising to give her baby in service to Him if He would grant her request. He gave her baby Samuel, and Hannah kept her promise by bringing him to serve at the House of the Lord with Eli. As a mother, I can’t even begin to fathom the emotional distress of leaving her young son. In the second chapter, a verse seems tucked away, almost as an afterthought, but it pierces my soul at every reading:
1 Samuel 2:21
And the LORD was gracious to Hannah; she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters.
God understood Hannah’s longing to have children, because He also has had that same desire. He was gracious to her by giving her more children! God knew that one day He also would not spare His only Son, but give him up for us all (Rom. 8:32). Out of the sacrifice of that one son, He gained innumerable more children in those who would believe!
I have often been out walking with our three young children, only to be greeted by comments such as, “Good luck!” or “Better you than me!” Sometimes I also hear, “Wow, you must have your hands full.” I always respond, “Praise God,” and they shoot me that look that says, “I didn’t mean it in a positive way.” These comments are mostly from parents whose precious miracle babies did the unthinkable–they grew up and stopped being so adorable. In these selfish times, children are often thought of as “inconveniences,” when God intends for them to be blessings!
I have fallen victim to this trap on many occasions. Babies are easy to love when they are sweet, innocent, and completely dependent. Suddenly Junior starts talking back, and you wonder why you spent so much time teaching him how to talk in the first place. Then one day he throws a temper tantrum in the middle of a crowded parking lot. His body freezes and develops rigor mortis, and he refuses to budge, despite honking horns and scornful glances. You force an awkward smile and wave, pretending that you were only walking to your car when someone else’s child mysteriously threw himself at your feet. Years later, in a moment that defines “irony,” your teenager proclaims, “Mom, you’re embarrassing me.” If God loves the godly and the ungodly, then parents can love the baby and the toddler–and every other stage as well.
Every person we see was at one time a “miracle baby,” but let’s face it: people are a lot easier to love before, shall we say, potty training. God loved us all so much that Jesus died for us when we were “still sinners” (Rom. 5:8). Consider the following:
James 3:9 and 10
(9) With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.
(10) Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.
I can’t help myself–during football season, if fans are screaming at a player that he is a “LOSER,” I think, “But that’s somebody’s baby!” (This is probably why I don’t get invited to Super Bowl parties.) If a parent feels a strong emotional bond with his or her baby, imagine how God must feel about each of His children. He loves, protects, and blesses each one of us more than an earthly parent ever could.
Isaiah 49:15 and 16
(15) Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
(16) See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.
One year my father was invited to a party for the 4th birthday of his friend’s daughter. He went shopping for the gift by himself and was very proud of his purchase of a small bottle of bubble soap and wand. (Now, when I say “small,” I mean it could’ve gotten lost amongst the lint in his pocket.) When he returned from the party, he shared the amusing story of how he had walked into this child’s backyard and witnessed all of the kids gathered around the birthday girl’s brand new Bubble Play House Factory. My poor dad glanced down at the miniature bubble wand in his hand and then watched as a Factory Bubble the size of the ozone layer rose twenty feet into the air and burst, along with his ego. The moral of this story is that anything we try to provide for our own children is a bubble wand compared to God’s Bubble Factory.
When my children are sad, I do everything in my power to help them rejoice again. When they are sick, I want nothing more than to see them healed. In everything they do, I desire blessings and victories. God wants only the best for His children, so how can we ever doubt that He will heal our hearts and bodies and provide for every need in our lives? Why do we worry so much about our jobs, our finances, our health, and our relationships?
3 John 1:2 (KJV)
Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
God desired our lives even when we were still in the womb. He didn’t need an ultrasound to rejoice at seeing the first beatings of our hearts. If He could have ultrasound pictures of us, He would proudly display them on His fridge and endure the endless angel questions of “Which end is the head?” (He would know.) It doesn’t matter what we have been through or where we are now…He desires us still. We will always be His “little children,” and He patiently tolerates our temper tantrums, our backtalk, and all of our shortcomings. The joy that He felt on that holy night when Christ was born is the joy He has for our lives! No matter what, we will always be His “miracle babies.”
1 John 3:1
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
 The American Heritage College Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1993.