There is some level of tension that comes whenever we discuss whatever is going on with our girls as genetic, some level of shame. I feel this whenever we have conversations with others about the genetic aspect of it all. It is as if people want to rationalize alongside us that it was something that happened at random, that couldn’t happen again, that is separate from Hugh and me. In a sense, openly talking about the girls having a genetic disorder feels as if Hugh and I are admitting that something within us is defective. This is not at all saying that we do not believe our girls are anything less than perfectly created and formed. We love them exactly how they are, without doubts, and are so proud of everything about them. But if we are getting gut-wrenchingly honest here, we all know that Hugh and I would have chosen a more “normal” for them if we had been given the choice.
In the beginning of all this, I had to fight thoughts that continued to sneak in. This “something wrong” that they keep speaking of…this is a direct product of the love Hugh and I have for each other. How? And why? You see, I can get all bent out of shape when physicians say that particular phrase, and while yes I certainly know and believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with our girls, if I step off my politically correct horse for a minute, I know what they mean by what they say. While our girls are made in God’s image and intricately formed exactly how He intended, there is something wrong. There are literally pieces of me in my girls, and some of the frustration I feel in all this has a lot to do with the fact that it causes me to face my own disabilities each and every day. And you know what? There is something gravely wrong in all of us.
We pass a lot of things on to our children. Genetics is the study of heredity and the variation of characteristics involved, but you don’t have to look at a strand of DNA to see pieces of yourself in your children or your parents in yourself. Some of them are seemingly good, some of them not so good. The most dangerous genes we all pass onto our children have nothing to do with physical ability, disease, or development. We have all passed sin on to our children and there is nothing we can do about it. It’s a part of our fleshly make-up. You don’t have to go to a genetics appointment to see that played out in lives all around us, including your own. Generation after generation of sin, pouring out and injuring the lives of those we love and those around us. The thing is, if Hugh and I were to have another child, even if we didn’t pass on the same disease, we would ultimately pass on something to them that we wish we could erase. As Paul says in Romans, the things we want to do we do not do, and the things we don’t want to do we do. Sometimes, the reflection of us in our children’s lives is just too painful to bear. We see our own brokenness and mistakes in our children and we cringe because we see ourselves in it all and feel responsible in some way. Sometimes, we have already learned a lesson, albeit painfully, and we frantically try to get our children to not have to learn the hard way.
From another view, many of you have had broken relationships with one or both of your parents and the thought of seeing any tiny part of them in yourself makes you sick. If you are honest with yourself, you know that there are parts of them there; and you hate it. You would do anything to change it. For others, you never knew your biological parents. You don’t know the genes that make up who you are, and it often makes you feel as if a piece of you is missing because of it. If you are still reading at this point, you are most likely feeling burdened by the weight of it all. You are right in assuming that it all seems so broken. We all seem so mutated, so defective. And we are. But Jesus.
Before Christ came, Jewish people were asked to take care of each sin in a particular way, even the sins they did not know they had committed. They would bring sacrifices to God as a payment for their sins, a payment for the broken parts of them that did not meet up to God’s perfect standard. Before Christ came, Jewish people were the only ones considered God’s chosen people. It was all about genetics. But Jesus.
God promises us that He came not to heal the healthy, but the sick (Matthew 9:12). He is The Great Physician, and He came to heal that which was most broken, namely our souls, through the medicine of His blood on the cross. We are sick, but He took our illnesses and bore all our diseases (Matthew 8:17). Christ became a curse for us. In Him, all our frailty and humanity was nailed to the cross (Galatians 3:13). Yes, even that. Even that thing that you saw in your mother and you swore you would never do but find yourself drowning in. Even that fear you have that one day, you too will be burdened by mental illness and overtaken by the disease that stricken so many within your family. The tendency toward anger, control, bitterness, defeat. The propensity for whatever kind of cancer or disorder. No matter what happens on this side of heaven, He nailed that to the cross. Yes, even that. While all hell seems to rage within us or around us, He promises that if we are in Him, if we have accepted in faith what He did for us on the cross, we are a new creation for all eternity. What’s more, this offer is no longer just for those whose DNA matches up as God’s chosen; this offer is for all who would yet believe and accept it as truth (Galatians 3:29, Ephesians 3:6).
If Hugh and I lived in the BC times, we would be having to make sacrifice day after day for our children, out of the cultural belief that their unique needs were “bad” or “wrong”. But Jesus. In John 9, Jesus absolutely smashes that false thinking to the ground whenever a blind man is brought to Him. His disciples ask Jesus who did wrong in the situation, the man or his parents. Jesus responds with this,
“It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in Him”.
AHA! Because of Christ, none of our genes are relevant anymore. The only thing that is relevant is God and His glory. Anything in us, the things we would have chosen and the things that we wish we could have done without, can be used for His glory and our good. Generational addictions? He died for that. Gluttonous tendencies? Nailed to the cross. Social anxieties, infertility, physicial disability….the list goes on and on. The thing is this: I am not saying that these things don’t exist on this side of heaven. They do. We live in a broken world and pain and suffering are present everywhere we go. But, it is for freedom that Christ set us free and that freedom comes from knowing that one day, He is going to redeem our bodies just as He has already promised He has redeemed our souls. You are a child without blemish in Christ! (Phil. 2:15). Total healing will not occur until we meet our Maker; but some of these things He is sanctifying day by day. Even if you cannot see it, trust that He is making you more and more like Himself as you look to Him to do so.
But today. Today we feel broken. Today, the sin around and within us lurks and we need something that will encourage us until that day we see Him face to face. My friends, be encouraged that when Jesus came down to earth, He was made like us in every respect, except sin. He truly and fully understands your now, and He is in it with you. Knowing that, we can trust that He has overcome that which we face. He has overcome all the things in you and those around you that you wish you could erase in the here and now, and He promises us that one day, we will see Him fully and know that it is, in fact, finished. He is the only one that matters and He has given His perfect genes to you. Surely, this is a God we can trust.