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  • Katie Smith

Vantage Point

You know those pictures that you could stare at for hours and not realize their was another hidden picture inside of it? You know those 3D optical picture books that got really popular in the 90s? Well, recently I was looking at my second son and realizing that I've been standing too close. He is the one that was born correctly, not too early-- I am the one that was too late.

Once upon a time, you could not see what potential problems existed in the womb. Children came out like the surprise you got in your Sunday cereal box with all ailments, deformities or disabilities included. At that time, it was suggested, and even strongly recommended, that children born with Down syndrome or any other “severe impairment” should be institutionalized as soon as possible.

BUT, after many years, and many new studies, (and thanks be to God) it was determined that people with Down syndrome and other impairments actually thrived when they were loved and cared for at home with their family rather than in an institution (just like any other child). The infamous life of Helen Keller provided an incredible example of blending the comfort and stability of homelife with the training from specific professionals for optimum growth.

I have been pregnant five times, and I am blessed to be a mother to four of those children. During each pregnancy though, I was given more and more opportunities for testing to determine potential problems with the embryos. That knowledge would “help me navigate the future for my kids.” I could find out almost anything about the babies before they were even born with gender being the most advantageous. It was the low-hanging fruit from the tree of knowledge right at my fingertips. The information about my children’s future meant I could also control my own future. That was the allurement of power.

However, going against our nature, we decided not to take any optional tests. We didn't even find out gender (accept for the asterisk-recording of baby #3). Humans look at the things God does not care to gaze upon; they are charmed by the outward appearance while God stares at the heart of the matter. (1 Sam 16:7). Doctors see anatomy, chromosomes, and blood-type. God sees purpose, beauty, and redemption.

Many of the concerns that doctor’s had about my children's potential never came to fruition. And while I’m beyond grateful for the powers of modern medicine that kept all my boys breathing at birth, I also think it has taken away the power of real peace in truth. We lack trust in God’s control, and this makes for a stressful monarchy. We are constantly looking at variables and possible outcomes to "fix problems" that God never deemed "problems." We sacrifice joy for control. When God gives us knowledge to bring babies into the world it doesn't mean we are God. Don't confuse advancement with power—we are just pulling up the plants that God made grow.

Since our fall in the garden, God has worked to redeem us from our desire for omnipotence. Redemption was HIS idea. No matter how devastating a situation, He always provides a “redeemer.” Our job is to accept His work rather than take credit for it. God gave a man named Boaz to Ruth and Naomi—a kinsman who redeemed their lives not just from a famine, but also from hopelessness (Ruth 2). Similarly, God will bring us to the point of “famine” or hopelessness to correct our vision and enable us to see the world as He does. Problems are purposeful. Pain has a point--they transform our eyes to see the bigger picture.

The famines and droughts cause us to step back. Once, we saw only a small square representing our lifetime, and maybe the surrounding squares of those we know personally. But stepping back, we see the entire picture. It is made up of millions of tiny squares. We could never have imagined all those blurry boxes joined together. We all need corrected vision that makes the blurry picture clear. If we never see our need for God's vision, then we never see our need for redemption. We must refuse the low-hanging fruit that takes away our dependence on God. Take several steps back, and trust that there are squares throughout eternity that will make a beautiful mural.

~Viewing Carefully and Carelessly

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