Today I went to see a family in our church who had a new baby last night. The hospital they chose is HUGE and has been added on to about 37 times in the last 100 years. The result is not only tons of square footage for first quality medical care, but a seemingly endless labyrinth which doubles as a test of mental and physical endurance for visitors. On the way in I made a complete loop of the facility before I finally found the maternity ward. After checking in on the recently expanded family, I hopped in the elevator to begin my long trek back to my car.

One other guy rode along with me as we spend downward to the first floor. I noticed the wristbands on his arm and remembering that we were leaving the maternity ward, I queried, “Just have a new baby?” He looked at me and said, “Actually we had twins.” Seeing my congratulatory smile forming, he added, “And I usually don’t tell strangers this. No need to burden them with it- but one of our babies died after four days. The other is alive and strong.” “I’m so sorry” were the only words I was able to generate. “That’s ok. I don’t know why I told you that,” he replied. Then the door opened. “I’m so sorry” I offered again. He smiled sadly and then disappeared down the hall.

A flood of thoughts and emotions swam through me as retraced the halls and sidewalks back to my parking place. I thought about my friend’s joy as they showed me their new baby, and imagined how conflicted this other couple must be with one baby cooing and the other silenced. Most of all I wondered why this man had apologized. Should someone with such a loss be forced to bear it in secret?

Then his words, “I don’t know why I’m telling you this” came back to me. He didn’t know me from Adam. He didn’t know that I’m a guy who prays from time to time. Or that I’ve got lots of friends who do the same. But God knew. Maybe God set things up this afternoon so that we’d end up together for those couple of moments. Perhaps the Spirit of God prompted him to open up and share his darkest truth with a complete stranger. Maybe not, but maybe so.

I decided not to take any chances. As I merged my car back onto the Beltline I started praying for this family who are strangers to me, but not to the God who cries with them. And now I’m asking you to join me. Would you offer some words to God on behalf of the man I met today who wears two newborn bracelets, but will only take one baby home? Would you ask God to give this family comfort, peace and healing as only He can?

Thanks. I knew you would.

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