“Oh, come on,” said the exasperated mother. “Can’t you cooperate just once?” The father chimed in with similar frustration. “You’re being a pain in the butt!”
You’d think these parents were dealing with a defiant toddler or a rebellious teen. Nope. They were talking to the ultrasound image of their pre-born child.
Why were they angry? Because their baby wouldn’t turn in the direction they wanted.
What kind of relationship do you suppose this child had with his parents once he was born?
Given the way they demonstrated disdainful impatience toward their son long before he was capable of following their instructions, I wouldn’t be surprised if they jokingly refer to their baby as “it” later.
I cringe every time I hear that one. For one thing, our words are powerful, for better or for worse.
And then there’s the reality that human beings are spiritual beings. Our children may be little – microscopic, even—but their spirits are not.
Reading through the Psalms, as is my habit on a regular basis, I was struck by a verse recently. It’s a passage which answers the question, “At what point should I be concerned with my child’s spiritual growth?”
“Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.” – Psalm 51:6
Wow. Did you catch that? God teaches human beings wisdom during gestation.
In another Psalm, David writes,
“From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.” –Psalm 22:10
To add another voice to the mix, the prophet Jeremiah says, “Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name.”
God’s Spirit interacts with our spirits before we are ever born.
This is why it is right and natural for parents to sing to their preborn babies and speak “I love you’s” and blessings over them.
Children growing in the womb are spiritually receptive and active.
I saw evidence of this after my first grandson was born.
Reuel was asleep on our bed, where his mommy had carefully swaddled him and laid him on his side. I lay down beside him to gaze at him and admire his perfection (because that’s what Nanas do).
Reu began to stir a bit and make little grunting sounds. Then he quieted. His eyes gradually opened and focused on me, holding my gaze for a long moment. I could tell he was still asleep, though his eyes were open.
Still looking right into my eyes, Reu’s expression blossomed into a radiant smile of pure joy and excitement. Eyes sparkling, cheeks dimpled, he lit up brighter than Christmas. His beaming look all but said the words,
Come and play with us!
I could see he was enjoying an innocent pleasure and sheer delight in the presence of his Creator. Perhaps he was dancing with the angels, or playing hide and seek with the Lord Jesus.
I’m not sure, but I laughed and cried all at once.
What I witnessed that night was evidence of the sweet fellowship and communion which occurs between image-bearer and Creator long before a human being is born.
In light of this truth, parents have a wonderful privilege and responsibility.
We can co-labor with God as he imparts wisdom to our unborn children. We can speak to our sons and daughters of God’s love and truth, even while God himself does the same thing.
Our children’s spiritual growth begins before we can touch them or hold them in our arms.
Let’s speak blessing, love and wisdom over them from the start.