When the “Wages of Sin” Are a Baby

Her weeping came ahead of her presence, causing my heart to pound. As a mom of three, it wasn’t the first time a crying child had entered our bedroom hours after we thought they’d gone to sleep. My mind went racing through the evening, then over to her to find the trouble, so I could do what I’d done so many times: soothe the hurt, ease the fear, or comfort her in sickness. The familiar words tumbled quickly from me, “Baby, what’s wrong?” But I had absolutely no context for what she’d say next.

She’d just finished her first semester at college, had found a great job, had made sweet friends, and had found a place to serve in a local church she really liked. There wasn’t a mention of a young man yet, though her dad and I had smiled at the thought we could be a few short months or years from meeting him. But no matter where we thought her life was, her tear-filled words came nonetheless: “I’m pregnant.”

God Is Here

What would run through your mind if those words were spoken to you? What anchor would you grab onto as the wave threatened to sweep you off the ground you were so easily standing on just moments before?

This is what ran through mine: God is here. Breathe because God has been here. Because the wages of sin isn’t a precious baby; the wages of sin is death. God knits together life.

We know their sin brought us to this place. She knows it, too. But the thing that held us up during those first shocking moments was the absolute grace of God to bring us another life to love rather than the death she—and we—deserve.

We all dream about our kids’ lives. We read the Bible to our babies each night, guide our toddlers to pray to a God they don’t yet know, listen to the words of David and Jesus pour from their little mouths as they stumble over the text in their first Bible. We watch over their friends, and we fret over grades and college prep tests. We find the best ways to get those pre-teens to open their hearts to us over donuts with Dad or coffee with Mom.

Our girl was no different, and we’ve thought a lot about it all, trying to find what we missed. We know we didn’t parent perfectly. We weren’t even believers when she was born. It’s so easy to think there’s a simple answer, that there was some missing act of love, or teaching, or discipline, or display of the gospel—something more we could have done. Should the cell phone have come later? Did we choose the wrong school? That guy? Her friends? Had we simply been so blind? You know how it feels to want to ensure “this” doesn’t happen to you and yours. You read all the blogs, ask all the parents who came before you how they got their kids through. You also know the panic you feel when what you prayed against happens. You feel desperate to reset it all, to find the way back to the place of peace, the longing to wake up and discover it was a dream, a warning so you can be a little more vigilant.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

And yet, did you hear that? The tiny flutter of a little heart beating means our Father’s hand is at work in our girl to give us all a gift beyond price. He alone is knitting those little eyelashes that will melt my heart and those cheeks I’ll want to kiss a thousand times. Those little hands curled up by her face, those precious little kicks—they are all the exhale of his creating breath as he speaks life inside our girl.

He is choosing once more to display his miraculous patience, not willing that any should perish, but that all—even our girl, even this baby—would come to repentance. He’s displaying the overwhelming sufficiency of the atonement his Son so triumphantly achieved. Because of Christ’s death, my repentant girl gets life, and, Lord willing, the young man we’re growing to know and love—and the baby girl she carries—will have life in Jesus too.

Kim Ransleben
Kim Ransleben
Kim Ransleben is a curriculum writer and Bible study teacher from central Texas. She and her husband have three grown daughters, the oldest of which is aiming at serving long-term in Ukraine where their family has served on short-term summer trips for the last eight years, and from where they are currently trying to adopt a fourth daughter. You can follow her on Twitter.

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