A newborn baby in the intensive care unit is very scary for parents. I empathize with my friends whose newborn son is currently in NICU for bacterial meningitis. I prayed throughout the day yesterday when I heard about it. My wife couldn’t sleep because she kept thinking about it. We have a 3-month old girl, and I can imagine my own despair if she also had to battle meningitis.
My preconceptions are challenged because I take for granted that God will protect newborn babies. I imagine a force field of grace surrounding an infant, reinforced by the parents’ diligence and love. Life is a lot more fragile than that. I take for granted that our children will be strong and healthy, but so many souls these days don’t even make it out of their mother’s womb. Those that do have to confront a hostile world: pollution, disease, social unrest… Even in happy and stable homes, newborn souls can still be attacked by forces beyond a parent’s control — like by meningitis.
There are layers to my distress. In addition to worrying about my friends, praying for the baby’s recovery, and thinking of ways to protect our own children, I feel hopeless to take any effective action. What can I do to fight something I can’t see? What can we do about a bacteria that exists even in healthy people? Prayer works at a level beyond conscious perception. I have to have trust in that. I have to have trust in God.