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FIRST PERSON: A glimpse into the womb

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–One of the most treasured possessions I now own is a long strip of glossy paper.

This strip of paper is not special in and of itself. As a matter of fact, I’m sure that it has no monetary value. But to me it’s special because it bears the signature of the God of the universe.

No, I haven’t lost my mind. The signature is not written in ink.

Twelve high-resolution snapshots of my son, still tucked away in his mother’s womb, is the signature. I had the opportunity the other day to see my son’s face as he was still being “knit together” in what the psalmist called a “secret” place (Psalm 139:15).

Beyond the obvious joy of seeing our child through the aid of a state-of-the-art ultrasound before his birth, I was stunned by the complexity and interconnectedness of his body and that of my wife. He is completely dependent upon Cynthia for life. If she doesn’t breath, he doesn’t receive oxygen. If she doesn’t eat, he receives no nutrition.

Of course, I knew all of the medical facts of a child’s existence in its mother’s womb prior to the ultrasound. The relationship of my wife and our son, however, had never been so vivid and so tangible.

I stroked my wife’s foot as she lay on her back laughing at our son’s visible expressions and a well-executed yawn and stretch maneuver. Mother and son were one, and yet distinctly different.

When the ultrasound was finished, I packed up the video camera and left to return to work. I sat in the car for a few minutes before I left the parking lot, thanking God that my wife and son were healthy. The lessons that I had been taught once again were at the forefront of my mind.

Among those lessons was the delicacy of the child. I wondered then, as I do often, how anyone could harm such a precious creation of God, especially as the little ones are being birthed. God’s justice upon those who murder the innocent will not tarry forever.

Another lesson was the incomprehensible riches of God’s grace. My children are a very real product of His grace, for without His grace I would not have married whom I married, become what I am, or live where I now live. I cannot begin to imagine the world without my wife and our little girls named Libby, Caroline and Leah.

A third lesson was just how intricately related God is to His creation. As I write, He is molding my son in His image and likeness. That is ironic considering that he will be born –- as was I and every other human being -– with his teeth set on edge against God. But that is why we will strive, as my wife and I do with our other children, to till their hearts with lessons about our Creator and gently plant the seeds of the Gospel within.

There is no greater reward for a Christian parent than to hear soft bedtime prayers, even when the children are thanking God for having had pizza for dinner. That’s what makes them special. They know that God cares about what they had to eat, where they went and how they spent their day.

With my son’s due date fast approaching, I pray that he too will one day get to see his child in its mother’s womb. A glimpse into the womb is a glimpse into the vast knowledge and goodness of the Lord.
Gregory Tomlin is director of communications at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: IN THE WOMB.

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  • Gregory Tomlin