Surgical Spirit: The Unexpected Baby

‘She gave birth to her firstborn, a son’ (Luke 2:7).

It was coming up to Christmas and a teenage girl staggered into our casualty department wracked by abdominal pain. Was it all the rich food? Could it be appendicitis?  Everyone was in for a big surprise: she was pregnant and within hours had delivered a vigorous baby boy. Her parents were in shock. Her father was livid and declared she was no daughter of his! The midwives were worried – where would she go? Thankfully, by Boxing Day the new grandfather had arrived with chocolates for the staff and a state-of-the-art pram for the baby. The young mother had all the love and support she needed and her little boy was welcomed enthusiastically into the family. Concealed pregnancies are always a puzzle. Was she in denial? Was she afraid? Did she really not know?

Far from being a secret, the advent of Mary’s baby was long-expected. Predicted at the dawn of time (Genesis 3:15), the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) and would be miraculously conceived:

‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ (Isaiah 7:14).

Mary was probably a teenager when the angel Gabriel visited her. We are in awe of her submissive spirit and love to read her song of praise:

‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour’ (Luke 1:46-47).

Events sometimes shock or surprise us – we may be stunned by bereavement, depressed about exam failure, grieved by opposition or difficulties at work. We may even have experienced an unplanned pregnancy. How do we react?

Health professionals are so used to ‘fixing it’ for other people that sometimes we try to fix it for ourselves. We can leave God out of the picture. Mary’s song recalls God’s faithfulness and sovereignty. He knows the end from the beginning; he is our Saviour; he has the best interests of his people at heart, even in baffling circumstances. He keeps his promises.

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to be courageous in unexpected circumstances, to magnify your name and to rejoice in my Saviour, today and forever. Amen.

Ruth Eardley is a GP and member of Affinity partner Little Hill Church, Leicester. She writes a regular piece for her church entitled 'Surgical Spirit'. We have been given permission to reproduce them. This is her latest contribution.


Image: "Accident & Emergency Sign" by lydia_shiningbrightly is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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