The small child lay on a stained mattress on the floor of the clinic struggling to breathe. His disease wracked body fighting like a mighty warrior to survive the ravages of war. War should never be the territory of one so small and yet he is one of a countless multitude of an ongoing war.
Inhale. Exhale. Breathe in. Breathe out. Sweat pouring down his tiny brow and the relentless flies, ever-present, covering his beautiful face.
Sitting by his side is Momma Kate (as the locals call her) wiping his shattered body with a damp cloth. Her tears speak of a deep pain for the child. Her sweet heart is breaking for the injustice of it all. She speaks with a mother’s voice, “We need to do something! We can’t just sit here and watch the child die.”
Another voice speaks, “We can take him to a better clinic but it will cost money and we have no money.” Her reply is forceful and drenched in words of unbelief, “We have money! Please we cannot just watch him die!”
After a short journey to a ‘better clinic’ baby Jonathan is receiving what little care the ‘better clinic’ can provide. It is not enough to save him. His tiny heart cannot overcome the ravages of the water-born disease and dehydration and he dies.
Go back in time with me a bit.
The year was 1980. My beautiful girlfriend and I were living together for various reasons. She was barely 21 and still in college. Working full-time, going to school full-time and trying to be in a relationship with me took every ounce of her energy. She never complained. She was laser focused on her dream to become a nurse.
We had just returned to our apartment after the funeral for my young sister-in-law and in our sorrow we made love.
A few short weeks later, as I worked at my desk, my girlfriend walked in to the office. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and the picture her face painted was one of impending ‘news’. She spoke the life changing words, “I’m pregnant.” My reply was something along the lines of “What? Are you sure? How?” (Seriously? Ken)
The fact that we had spoken of marriage and how we wanted to spend forever together didn’t change the fact that I had serious commitment issues. My ‘style’ had always been – if life gets too tough, if it feels uncomfortable, if you start to feel ‘trapped’ run away! Many of my friends called me ‘tumbleweed’, blown wherever the winds would take me.
Over the next few weeks we told our families. She made plans for our wedding and once again I struggled to be the man this beautiful lady needed and wanted. Some friends offered up solutions. “Just keep living together. Have you thought about abortion? It’s just a blob man.” Some, like my dad, spoke of, “doing the right thing.”
My girlfriend admitted that she too had considered “ the alternatives.” God, on the other hand, had a much different plan for this future human being. My girlfriend was watching an old movie on TV one night, The Ten Commandments.
She heard that still small voice saying, “Keep the baby. Even if your goofy boyfriend refuses to be a man. Even if you have to do this alone. Keep the baby.”
That night she told me of her plan to keep the baby and even if I walked away she would raise the baby. (My heart breaks as I type this thinking of how foolish, confused and immature I was to not realize that this woman was my dream for a wife. Beautiful. Hard working. In love with me! Carrying MY child.)
We married and later that year she gave birth to the most beautiful little girl I had ever seen. I held her for the first time and wept as I looked into her beautiful little face. My thoughts ran the gamut, “Oh my how could I ever have thought such evil thoughts? How could anyone?”
We named her Kathleen. We liked the options she would have to be Kathy, Katie or Kate.
Fast forward to 2010. Inside a small clinic in Sierra Leone Africa with a little baby dying. His heartbroken momma had no choice but to give her baby the water from the pond. The same pond that the farm animals ‘do their business in.’ The same pond that the villagers wash their bodies and clothes in. Stinking, disease filled water! But what choice did she have? A slow death from dehydration or a slow death from unclean water were the only options available.
Sitting by the baby’s bedside is Kate! Grown up Kate. Beautiful Kate. Devoted Kate. Mother to three children of her own Kate. She is wailing at the injustice of it all! What kind of choices did this baby’s momma have? Back home in the USA, we open the faucet and out pours clean, fresh, cool drinking water. Life saving water!
Kate’s mom and I have seen God redeem her mom’s courageous decision to keep this baby. I have repented a thousand times of my indecision, commitment issues and self-centered immaturity. God has forgiven me. My wife has forgiven me.
I weep as I type these words. Tears of joy that our Kate is here! Saving lives! Thousands of lives! I also weep tears of gratefulness to a God who has a plan. An incredible plan for each and every baby in its mommy’s womb.
We do not plan some babies. All are planned by God. We do not want some babies. All are wanted by God. Some babies are destined to change the world!
Keep your baby! God will, as He always has done and always will do, redeem the baby’s life! He will redeem your decision to do the right thing! Will it always be easy? I can assure you, it will not. Will you struggle at times? Absolutely! Will there be a cost to bear? Certainly. Yet your baby is worth it all! The world needs your baby. And if you listen with mommy ears you will hear your baby call out to your soul saying , “I love you mommy. Let me live.” I am beyond words to express what unimaginable gratitude I have to God for my Kate.
If you would like to see more of what Kate is doing visit the website of her not for profit. www.LTLOL.com. Let them Laugh Out Loud.
I pray that you will hear the voice inside of you telling you what you already know. It’s a baby! He/she wants to live! He/she may change the world! He /she will change your world and you will not regret your decision. God will redeem your decision.
Written by Kenneth E Metzger