In Time of Trouble
It was the morning of April 22nd and I woke up a little before 5:00am and found out that I was pregnant! When two blue lines showed up immediately, I couldn’t believe it! I started to cry with tears of joy! And said to myself, “I’m going to be a mom! I’m going to be a mom!” In that moment, the Lord reminded me of Psalm 127:3 which says, “…children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.” I know God blesses us with children, but it was so surreal that I was actually going to have one!
Sitting in the bathroom half in shock/disbelief and excitement, I scrambled for some paper, I couldn’t resist waking my sleepy husband up and telling him! So I wrote on a small scrap of paper: “Every good and every perfect gift is from above…” (James 1:17). I got out a gift bag with tissue paper and placed the pregnancy test along with the verse. I quietly placed the gift bag on the nightstand right in front of Jay where he was sleeping. I really didn’t know how he’d react. I thought to myself I’ll just wait until morning and when he wakes up, he will open the gift bag and find out the BIG NEWS! Well, I couldn’t wait even a minute so I shook him and woke him up to open the gift.
JAY: I was like, “uh…whaaaaattt…(completely out of it and confused), you ok?” Christi in this cheerful voice says, “hey baby, *giggle* I have a gift for you!” My blood pressure immediately sky-rockets, thinking to myself 1.) Christi NEVER gets up at 5am, unless I’m making her. 2.) Christi is not this cheerful in the morning. 3.) She must be pregnant! 4.) That’s motivating.
CHRISTI: Once he was more alert he opened the gift bag, saw the test along with the verse, and hugged me. We were so excited! We consider it such a blessing that God would give us such a precious gift!
Since the first ultrasound, our baby has been doing well. We got to hear our baby’s heartbeat at one of our appointments! Wow, it is so crazy to think about another person being formed in my womb! Jay at first got the shivers! He couldn’t believe that he had a part in making this little one! What a blessing it is to have children, to think of the verse that says that we all were perfectly and wonderfully made to bring glory to the Creator (Ps.139:13-16) reminds me that there is a purpose for our baby’s life.
Four weeks ago on August 9th, we had a doctor’s appointment to find out the gender of our baby. Jay and I were so excited and eager to find out whether we were having a boy or girl. The nurse did an ultrasound, took a few pictures of our baby, and told us we were having a boy! Since it’s a boy, we already planned on naming him James George Burke V after Jay! However, our excitement was broken when the nurse asked the doctor to come into the room. He checked out our baby’s pictures then we were hit with the most heartbreaking news…he told us that our baby boy had Anencephaly. We found out that Anencephaly is a severe neural tube defect, which means there is an absence of a large part of the brain and the top part of skull of our baby boy. He is not expected to live past birth for very long. No words can describe how we felt after hearing that news, Jay and I just began to weep holding each other wishing to God that it wasn’t true.
Since our baby had been diagnosed, Jay and I spent some rejuvenating time with his family where we were surrounded with love and encouragement while we grieved together and sought the Lord in prayer. This was a perfect time to get away from busy schedules and work to spend time together talking through our many mixed emotions about the news.
We want you to rest knowing that your prayers have been answered and we have felt God’s overwhelming peace in such a circumstance in our lives where it doesn’t make sense to us (Phil. 4:7). Again, thank you for your prayers! Jay and I have spent so much time in prayer trusting that God will grant us strength to persevere, and not get easily discouraged. As hard as it is, we desire to use baby James’ life as a testimony of our faith! We won’t pretend that we haven’t wondered why. We have sincerely struggled through these tough questions by allowing Scripture to open our minds to understanding God’s purpose for suffering.
Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”
We believe God allows suffering in our lives to draw us closer to his Son, Jesus Christ, who carried the cross for our sins suffering excruciating pain, died, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day. He conquered the death that we deserve for our sins so that those who believe in him would not perish, but have eternal life (John 14:6, Romans 5:8, Romans 6:23)! All of this because of love. He loves us to the point of giving up his life for us.
I think of giving our son’s life up and that breaks my heart. I can imagine that God felt much worse when he watched His Son suffer as he did and die for the sins of the world. However, this is what provides purpose to our lives, and brings peace in this time of suffering teaching us that through this circumstance God is in control.
“For my thoughts (God’s) are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways (God’s), declares the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways (God’s) higher than your ways
and my thoughts (God’s) than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Jay has also been doing a great job of caring for and loving on me. He has also been leading me through this time by pointing me to Scripture and praying with me. Jay reminded me of this verse that says, “My Grace (God’s) is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness” (2 Cor.12:9). He shared how much this verse motivated him to persevere while facing tough challenges in the military. God’s power is perfected and demonstrated through our weakness.
Many of you along with our local church have been a tremendous encouragement through cards, flowers, and emails full of scripture expressing your love for us. We know you have cried with us and prayed with us, and we are very grateful. There are several couples in our church that have also been experiencing very painful issues. One of the young women in our small group who’s faith has been very inspirational encouraged us to read Psalm 62:5-8 which says;
“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.”
These verses immediately spoke to us as well. We could either focus on the why and how and get caught up in fear and bitterness leaving us empty and without hope or we could trust that our faith has a foundation that is able to withstand any trial that comes our way. Our Savior is Jesus Christ and He enables us to have perseverance to face these trials and remain strong. He went through the hardest trial that paid the penalty of our sins that we deserved. God sent his Only son…sacrificed him to die on a cross for those sins. He didn’t have to, but he chose to because He loves us so much. He desires a relationship with each and every one of us for we were created from the very beginning to desire such a relationship with our Creator (Genesis 1:26-28).
Thank you for your continued prayers and support, and we will keep you posted!
Jay and Christi Burke
(Reprinted by permission, for the Glory of God)
Dear Internet Friend, where are you in handling the little Troubles that come with Life? Have you learned what Jay & Christi have learned….that He (the Lord God) is our Joy, our Strength, our Peace? His character does not change. His Nature remains true. He cannot be surprised, thwarted, unfaithful. He knows His own, and He keeps them for His purposes.
If you want to talk more about how the Lord Jesus intersects your troubles, please give me a call. 434-374-0492, Eastern Time. (Men may talk with my husband, Dave)