I imagine you there at the nursery window, Mom in a wheelchair, Dad standing behind her. You hold hands tight and stare through the glass at the all-too-tiny baby. She sleeps, safely cocooned within the protective walls of the incubator. Her wispy fingers curl in fists and her delicate chest heaves up and down. Her skin is pale, almost translucent, adding to the fragile aura about her, this October baby come in September.
A nurse sees you at the window and goes over to the glass incubator. She carefully reaches in and lifts the little baby girl for you to see. Almost immediately her tiny mouth opens in a cry and you start in surprise again. She's here. Already. Too soon. You think over the past hours, the past days. Mom-to-be, admitted to the hospital for toxemia, dad-to-be continuing to work. And then THAT day, the day the baby arrives. The messages to Dad that his baby is coming don't get passed along. Mom goes through labor, wondering if he is there waiting, and wondering how her baby will be.
At that nursery window your minds race with prayers for this little preemie. Prayers of gratitude for her wholeness, her health... and prayers that she'll stay safe and well. Prayers that soon she will come home with you where you can hold her and kiss her. But for now...
It isn't at all how you expected. That is your baby. You should be cuddling her, cradling her in your arms. That you can't makes her seem that much more fragile and far away. You wonder about her, this tiny little thing. Will she grow and flourish like all the round, pink-cheeked babies in the maternity ward? Will she play dolls and skip rope? Will she...
After a while you leave. You'll return later, many, many times - sometimes being allowed into the nursery, reaching in the incubator and touching her bitty fingers. But not holding her. Not yet.
You see, for that first month in that nursery, in that incubator, Someone Else is holding her. Some One unseen. He holds her with gentle hands and whispers over her of His plans for her. And years down the road when those hands reach out again, she'll know them... recognize them. She'll grab them and hang on.
This once tiny one, now all grown up, too big for cuddles and lap sitting, still rests in Those Hands. She's glad for a Mom & Dad who took such good care of her in her youth. And she's glad for the hands of a Heavenly Father who held her in an incubator forty years ago and didn't let her go.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11