An unreasonable outcome, is who she is.
Her laughter, a birdsong, the gurgling rush of rainfall down a river in dry heat.
Walking along the streets, or sitting in a crowded train, we’d see the deepest furrow of volcanic frowns lift and erupt to become joyous smiles, bursting into hearty chuckles of, “Your baby is laughing at me!”
Down the sterile aisles of the hospital, past the grim faces of worried families, Esther-Praise’s giggles lit up the face of every stranger she passed. An auntie runs towards us, startling me, “你的宝宝一直笑！不停的对我笑! (your baby is smiling, she can’t stop smiling at me!)”
But who would have thought. Nothing pointed to this outcome, this unreasonable outcome.
You see, just a year ago, back in the womb, the nights were a torturous tunnel of death. Antepartum depression was a black room, and I, a corpse groping in the darkness, searching for a door handle to pry open.
Medication would affect the fetus, but avoiding it might end our lives. Life was a prison. Words cut more often than they helped. It was better to have company than advice.
Those who tried to help warned that the depression would affect the fetus, not realizing how those words cut further, deeper and left one wondering, night after night, if ending it all for the two of us would make things better.
Why live on if the fetus would be affected so negatively? Why hold on if the outcome would be tragic? And so lies these questions in many of our lives- why hang on if our dreams within us have little chance of making it to birth?
But Hope won. And with it, came an unreasonable outcome.
I am learning, that God works even in the tiniest shred of hope, the littlest bit of faith. He loves to boggle minds, unravel expectations, overturn logic.
Halfway into my dark pregnancy, I remember a complete stranger sitting next to me at a conference and the most bizarre words he said to me.
Had I been in any other situation, I would have scoffed. But that dark day, this stranger looked at me in the eye and said he had a vision of a magnificent rose in a glass jar, like that in Beauty and the Beast. He said that vision was for me, that he felt God wanted to encourage me not to worry about protecting my baby, because He would do it. He left shortly after, not realizing how much those words, however crazy they sounded, meant to me at the time.
Counting down the days to labor, I sometimes wondered how I could possibly live. The odds were stacked high- antepartum depression dictates a higher rate of postpartum depression. With a toddler, a newborn, an impending move cross-country, how would we thrive? There was no logical way, that the darkness would lift.
All circumstances pointed logically to a poor ending. Yet, in one of a million possibilities, God chose the unreasonable outcome.
The day after I delivered our baby, my mother-in-law, who didn’t know a thing about this incident, arrived at our doorstep with a vase of 7 of the most beautiful red roses I’d ever seen, each blooming as large as an open palm, just like the one in Beauty and the Beast.
Goosebumps rose all over me, as I felt God speaking, “Do you remember what the stranger told you? I’m in control. I’m protecting your baby. No human logic will explain this baby’s outcome.”
Ten months later from her birth, I stand and marvel at the faithfulness of God, at the incredible cheer and infectious joy this baby brings, to family and strangers alike.
Such is her unbreakable bliss, her tenacious joy. A mockery to the enemy’s derisive ploy to destroy.
Who would have expected this miracle? A miracle that ran contrary to everything that made sense? That the baby would surely be born listless or sullen, that surely the move to another country to finish my work contract would be a poor choice.
But God knows. He loves to write the twist in the plot. He writes Hope in the sand we walk on, the same sand we sometimes feel like we’re sinking in.
I marvel at this photo. At the joy of Baby Esther-Praise, and the healing of Sarah-Faith.
After all, just months ago, our toddler was covered from neck to ankle with angry red welts of eczema that left us feeling helpless, in spite of the best medical advice and torturous moisturizing regimens.
Walking in the thick snow one day, I remember crying out to God in desperation for her healing. Then came the well-meaning but cruel words, “Be prepared for it to get worse in Singapore.”
Three days after touchdown in hot and humid Singapore, the persistent, unabating eczema that left us anxious for months dissolved like a mist. What is left now, are merely remnants of an evil ravage.
Friend, no one may know what you’ve been through in 2019- the darkness in the nights, the words that cut deep, the thoughts that bring the death of the past to the present. Those who do, may convince you that your past and current circumstances will lead to only deeper despair.
Yet, one thing remains certain- our tiniest hope in God unleashes His power to bring redemption to our tomorrows, even when our past and present cry “Despair!”
Though the year past may be filled with poignant disappointments, empty petitions, unanswered prayers, our God of hope is still working towards a future we don’t yet know or see.
Just as how it made complete sense for a dark pregnancy to produce a listless child, the heat of a tropical country to worsen severe eczema, God is the expert of overturning logic, of rewriting our tomorrows with hope, hope that defies reason.
He is a God of unreasonable outcomes. And because of that, we can have hope.
I shudder at times when I think about what would have been lost, had I believed in those reasonable conclusions, and taken both our lives.
At the brink of a new year approaching, as you fiddle in the dark for a door handle, as you fall to your knees and cry out for the answers you spent all year searching for, know this- God is in tomorrow already, and His tomorrow holds unexpected beginnings.
While Hope may not be here yet, it is coming. If you’re losing hope in lost dreams you’ve been carrying, let Him carry them to birth for you. And when you look back, you’ll see how Hope always been there- like a candle in the dark, a rose amidst the thorns, fingered letters scribed in the sand.
This new year, may 2020 bring you the assurance of His hope, and Faith in unreasonable outcomes.