Cleft lip and/or palate occurs in varying severity in about one in six hundred births. Especially when a mother was diligent about healthy living during her pregnancy, there are “why” questions. But as we have walked alongside our son and daughter-in-law, I’ve learned that “why” isn’t the right question. Instead, it’s “What’s next, Lord?”
Once when feeding
was reminded of some Bible verses that speak of
physical challenges evident at birth. They’re packaged with the story of
God calling Moses to lead the Hebrews out of slavery in Zion . After a
hot-headed murder forced Moses to flee Egypt , abdicating his privileges as
an adopted son in Pharaoh’s family, he roamed the wilderness for years, pushing
sheep around. Egypt
When the time was right, God caused a nondescript shrub to burst into fire and get Moses’ attention. Then, establishing that place as “holy ground,” God told Moses his next step would be leading a nation, not sheep. Moses reacted, “Who, me? You’re kidding. Send someone else. I’m a clumsy speaker” (Exodus 4:10, personal paraphrase).
God’s response was a reminder that our entire selves--physical, emotional, intellectual, even societal—are part of God’s permissive plan. None of us is perfect. Some have more visible “not-perfect” parts. Others have imperfections buried deep in their thinking. “Perfection” ended when sin entered the world.
When Moses focused on his imperfections and refused God’s high call on his life, God replied, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or dumb? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?” (Exodus 4:11). God knows all about the “not-perfect” parts of our lives, and none limit His power. If He insisted on using only perfect people, His work force would number “zero.” But He takes us where we are, and promises His help to do His work. He told Moses, “Now go: I will help you speak and teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:12).
As for “help you speak and teach you what to say,” I think of the learning curve his brother Josiah (older by 17 months) is experiencing with language skills. Josiah learned the usual “mama,” “dada,” “papa,” and “nana” (grandma/banana), and not too long after that came “duck” and “drip.” Right now, his favorite word is “cocoa.” As I warm up the milk for his cocoa, I smile and wonder, “What’s next, Lord?” in his language acquisition.
The same phrase comes to mind as I pray for little
Right now, he loves to be held and is unaware of the discomfort ahead to fix
his sweet, gapped grin. We’re at the beginning of a journey, one best navigated
with hearts that ask, “What’s next, Lord?” and then go forward in faith. Zion