I recently heard a story from a medical missionary in Zambia who is working with HIV-infected individuals. The end of the day came, and the missionary was tired. He was ready to go home. But five files plopped down on his desk, and he went to meet with them before clocking out. The files belonged to a mother and father who were both HIV positive, and their two kids, around two-and-a-half years old, who were born HIV positive. Thanks to antiretroviral medicines, though, the symptoms were under wraps. Basically, as long as they take the medicine, it’ll be like they don’t have HIV—but they have to take it for the rest of their lives.
But what about that fifth file? Who does it belong to?
The fifth file belongs to the couple’s newborn baby.
You’ve probably heard people, mostly from younger people, share the adage:
“I don’t know if I could bring a child into this world—there’s so much pain and suffering.”
It’s true. There’s a very scary reality to that statement. The three-year-old niece of a friend of mine just died from a rare disease. Elisa and I recently watched the film “Mystic River,” which begins with a child abduction and implicit sexual abuse. There are car accidents and school shootings; there’s drug use and teenage pregnancy. And children around the world are born into extreme poverty—or are even born HIV positive.
So the question is, why should we as Christians bring life into a world so hopelessly fractured and hurting? Precisely because that fifth file, that newborn baby, was born HIV negative. We followers of Jesus recognize all too well these awful evils in the world—in fact, on our better days, we look those evils directly in the eye.
But we see that horror, and we reply, “No.”
No, we will not allow the threat of disease to paralyze us.
No, we will not allow our lives to be defined by the fear of abduction and abuse.
No, we will not allow our actions to be dictated by the TV drama of car accidents and school shootings, drug use and teen moms.
We say “No” because we know something that the world does not. We know that there is a love that is stronger than our fears, a hope greater than disease, a God who takes all the pain and suffering in the world and puts it upon Himself.
The reason Elisa and I are having a baby, even knowing how terrible the world might be to our infant child, is because we want to witness to that love, that hope, that God.
Jesus said to His disciples: “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”