"And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done." (Acts 21:14)
It may surprise some of you that despite the fact that I'm (for the most part), "socially conservative" and despite the fact that I'm a registered Republican, and a very committed Bible-believing Christian, I enjoy listening to many of the programs on Public Radio. Yes, there's a very liberal bias on most of Public Radio International's broadcasts. I'd caution any of my Christian conservative friends that it's just something you've got to keep in mind when you listen. However, there are some amazingly interesting programs on Public Radio. One that I enjoy is, This American Life. Incidentally, their website is at:
This weekend's episode of This American Life is one of the most powerful that I've ever heard. It was actually a re-run from 2008, but I'd never heard it the first time. The episode's title is, Switched At Birth. The show presented the true story of two women who were born at the same hospital in a small Wisconsin town in 1951 and who somehow got "switched", well, shortly after they were born. There were two women who gave birth that day. One was Mrs. Miller. She was the wife of a pretty strict evangelical minister. They already had several other kids. The other was Mrs. McDonald. She had a son but very much wanted a daughter and was delighted to give birth to a baby girl.
Shortly after Mrs. Miller got home, she was very uneasy. The weight of the baby girl she took home was quite a bit different from what she'd been told the baby weighed at the hospital right after birth. The figures weren't close- they were way off. Mrs. Miller had a strong gut feeling that this was not her baby girl- that somehow, a terrible mistake was made at the hospital. She told her minister husband who didn't take her concerns very seriously. He finally said (I assume in a tongue-in-cheek fashion), "Well, we brought this little girl home and we're going to keep her!"
The Millers were very serious and mostly strict and disciplined people. The little girl who grew up as her daughter Martha was nothing like them. She didn't look at all like them, and she was a very humorous and fun-loving child. Across town at the McDonald home, little Sue didn't look a thing like the rest of her family, either. The McDonalds were people who didn't take life too seriously, approaching life in a light-hearted manner. Sue loved her family, but always felt more serious than the rest of them.
It's all a very long story about how the story of the switch finally came out into the open, but it took nineteen years! Well, to be fair, Mrs. McDonald was the last to know. She didn't find out the truth until the early 1990s! Both Sue and Martha were interviewed extensively on the program as were Mrs. McDonald and Mrs. Miller. You can imagine how this whole "baby switch" thing has rocked the lives of each member of these families! Mrs. Miller was frankly a bit weird; she actually tried to change the name of her daughter once the whole thing was brought out into the open!
Mrs. McDonald was particularly bothered by the actions of the Rev. Miller. She said there were several times in which he spoke to her at length begging her forgiveness for what happened. What really upset her is that he would quote many Bible verses to her and ultimately he told her that the switching of the babies was, "God's will". She was furious. In fact, she stated that what was God's will is that Mrs. Miller insist that the hospital be told way back in 1951, even if it meant losing her husband and her marriage.
I must admit that as a guy who spent over twenty years as a pastor, I was very sympathetic with the Rev. Miller "quoting Bible verses" and apologizing. That's where serious evangelical Christians go for help- we go to the Bible. We find comfort in the Scriptures. Mrs. Miller said Martha had brough a light-heartedness and sense of fun into their family that they probably desperately needed. And, several of the Miller kids told the girl raised as Sue McDonald that she "lucked out" by being raised in the fun-loving McDonald home!
What was God's will in all of this? In retrospect, it does seem like Mrs. Miller should have really "pitched a fit" about this early-on and gone to the hospital authorities, even if it meant causing serious trouble in her marriage. It does seem like it was wrong for these two girls (who are age sixty-five today) to be raised in the wrong homes. Or was God (strangely) "in" this scenario happening exactly as it did?
I graduated from Central Bible College in 1979. As a Bible school kid I "had all the answers". Almost all Bible school kids, frankly, "have all the answers". As a sixty-two year old who pastored for over twenty years and who has experienced some disappointments and hard knocks in life, I'm not so sure how to figure this one out.
What do you think? Was it God's will?