Yesterday I saw a photo of my wife just after she had undergone surgery. She was leaning on my shoulder as I helped her walk back from the bathroom to her hospital bed. I leaned into the photo. She was grimacing in excruciating pain.

As I stared at the image, all the emotions of her recent surgery rushed back to me. They struck me. They caught me off guard and I began to weep.

I remember waiting for 13 hours while she was in the operating room. It was much longer than Doctor Tan said it would be. Fear gripped me.

“Is she okay?”
“Why is it taking so long?”
“Is she still alive?”

I was transported 5 months back in time. Everything was intensely crystal. I time traveled to that exact moment. I smelled that pungent hospital scent. I heard echoes of nurses in the hallway outside her hospital room.

Here I was, staring at the photo, while my wife sat next to me. “It’s okay now,” she whispered. I was whisked back to the present moment. “I’m okay now.”

But she was more than okay. She was 3 months pregnant with the child we had prayed and waited for for more than 8 years. For nearly a decade she had been unable to conceive because of her crippling endometriosis. I looked at her belly. A bump was growing. A new life was being formed. A miracle was happening right before my eyes. Life had taken a sudden turn for the better.

The tragedy of years of infertility was fading away.

“You have stage 4 endometriosis,” they said.
“You will never have a child,” they said.
“Your wife’s surgery is potentially fatal,” they reminded me.

I clearly remembered the details of the accumulation of time, but joy began to replace tragedy. A smile curled around my lips as tears streaked down my cheeks.

“It’s okay now,” she whispered, and I kissed her belly.

I thought of the bigness of God. I was amazed and confused at how he sees across the span of time.

I thought, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Peace filled my heart. The sense of tragedy did not sting as much as it had before.

The seed was quiet for a long time, buried and unnoticed. It died. But then the kernel split, and a green stem burst out. It found its way to the surface of the earth, and pushed its way through the crust. It closed its tiny eyes and bathed in the sunlight.

Time stopped.
Or maybe time began then.
Or maybe time was irrelevant.

Life is a mix of tragedy and joy. Every good story needs both parts.

It is the ebb and flow.
It is the fall and rise.
It is the climactic value we so appreciate about a good story.

Like when my mother cried as I left home to become a missionary to China.
Like the long river walk that I took when I found out my parents were getting divorced.
Like when our truck almost slipped off the cliff on our mission trip to the China/Myanmar border.
Like when the monthly boxes of failed pregnancy tests were strewn on the garbage cans of our memories.

Until that last pregnancy test, when 2 beautiful red bars appeared out of nowhere!

I pray that in the midst of the tragic moments, I would be able to see the beauty of every season. I pray that I would believe a little more that God’s got the whole world in his hands, and he knows what’s best for me.

After all, my wife’s miraculous pregnancy—and our little bundle of joy on the way—would not be the incredible narrative that it is without the backstory.

Find out what happens next at Everything Is New.