Once upon a time my little brother and his wife visited the doctor to find out if they were having a boy or a girl. After looking at the ultra sound, the doctor said, "You're having a boy." And then he said, "Your little boy has spina bifida."
I've never prayed harder in my life. I don't think I've ever asked God for the kind of miracles I was requesting. It was actually terrifying because I didn't know if I had enough faith to back up the petition.
Knowing the answer could be no, I wrapped up all my love for my little brother: all the memories (of melting marshmallows in the microwave, of playing in the creek, in the tree house, collecting tadpoles, the road trips, the diving class we took one summer, watching him win the 3-point contest, playing waterpolo together, the dinners eaten together, all the times we must have run to the bus stop, and all the times we must have walked home together), all the millions of minutes spent growing up, all the millions of ounces of love collected over years and years, and I threw them up to heaven with a note that said, If you can make the Milky Way galaxy, I know you can help his little boy.
Right now, his wife is in a hospital with a fetal heartrate monitor strapped to her tummy. This means she can hear the baby's heart all the time. My sister says it sounds like a little clock keeping time. Except, she says, Its faster than a clock.
His wife is in a hospital because a few days ago, some of the best surgeons in the country performed open fetal surgery. They closed up the little opening where her unborn baby's spinal cord was popping out.
The procedure is part of a study. The doctors are still in the process of gauging the exact benefits the surgery provides the children who receive it.
Their little boy will still face challenges most people will never understand. But, I'm grateful for a God who created the universe, and who created men and women to help answer prayers.
I'm also grateful for a God in heaven who some days asks us to do hard things, but then pours out love and comfort with two hands and whispers in our ears: You have no idea how much good you can do.