Remembering Lazarus
November 17-19, 2003

Lazarus was born November 17th, 2003. He was our miracle baby who changed our lives forever.

He was born in an emergency C-section after Sheryl developed a severe idiopathic abdominal infection. He was only 24 weeks along (16 weeks early), weighing 1 pound, 7 ounces.

While he fought for his life in the NICU, Sheryl was fighting for hers in intensive care. We almost lost them both. Instead, Sheryl won her fight, and we lost our fifth baby boy, who died in our arms on November 19, 2003.

Why do we call him our "miracle baby?" To answer that, we must briefly explain our position on birth control, and how it changed during the summer of 2003.

When Sheryl and I were blessed with our fourth "surprise," I dutifully had a vasectomy, as the responsible thing to do. It is what friends and family advised (a path many of them had already taken), and was simply considered the appropriate thing.

It was not until years later that we realized that not everyone feels this way. There are those who would say that birth control is wrong for Christians to practice. Following is a very brief summary of some of their arguments:

  • Everywhere children are mentioned in the Bible, they are mentioned as blessings. NOWHERE does the Bible say that this does not apply if you live in a city, or the 20th century.
  • Birth control undermines our sincere thankfulness to God for His blessings: If our response is "thanks for the blessings, God, but no more, please" then we must not really see them as blessings.
  • Historically, no Christian practiced birth control until very recently.
  • Numerous studies have shown that it is inaccurate to claim that the world is in a dangerous population explosion, and that childbirth should be limited. Some nations in the world are even offering incentives for their citizens to have more children, to counter population decline!
  • Many forms of birth control are abortative in nature--even ones that some doctors insist are not--including the pill. (Acceptance of the pill was offered in Roe vs. Wade as support that regular abortions are already accepted and allowed!)

Again, this is just a brief summary of some of the arguments (which really does not do them justice).

The more Sheryl and I considered and prayed about these things, the more we felt convicted that this was the right path for us. [PLEASE NOTE: I am not comfortable criticizing (as some do) those who do not share this conviction, as there is no clear Biblical command regarding this issue. I consequently see it as an area where tolerance must be applied for differences of opinion. I do, however, believe that many of the arguments for birth control are based on faulty premises.]

That said, this was not a leading that I was very open to. The idea of reversing my vasectomy seemed ridiculous at first. Not to mention that having more than four children seemed to be in excess of our financial means. There were several other objections that I had, not the least of which were close family members who felt that large families were "ridiculous." Needless to say, I struggled (or, more accurately, fought) with this conviction for over a year.

Finally, in June of 2003, Sheryl and I attended the national ATI conference in Knoxville (this is the organization we were ordering our home school curriculum through). ATI discourages birth control and even has a "reversal choir" perform toward the end of the conference. This is a huge choir made up of hundreds of children that were born after vasectomy reversals. It is moving to see so many faces and lives that would not have existed if their parents had not had a change of heart.

Still struggling with this leading, I prayed the following prayer: "God, I feel that you have been leading us to have more children for quite some time, now. I'm still not totally sure that we should. Aside from the financial ramifications, it may very likely cause MUCH family conflict. If it truly is your will that we should have more children, please send us a sign to make it absolutely clear."

I think this was the first time in my life that I had asked God for a sign, and I am still ashamed to think of how little faith I had. That was the first week in June, 2003. Less than one month later, after almost 5 years of "successful infertility," and having changed NOTHING, we found out that Sheryl was pregnant on July 4th! Phenomenal coincidence? I don't think so. It is clear to us that God sent a miraculous answer to our prayer.

As to why Lazarus died, I don't think we will ever understand. We can speculate, but that is ultimately pointless. We can only carry on in the comfort that God is ultimately in control, and that all things work together for good, to them that love Him (Romans 8:28).

Since that time, we have followed in obedience and had a vasectomy reversal. We do not know exactly what the future may bring, but we now eagerly await the next time that God will choose to send a new blessing to join our family. If in no other way than this, Lazarus has changed our family and our lives forever.


From Lazarus' Memorial Service

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