LAKE MARY, Fla. (Christian Examiner) – Jesus rebuked those with eyes who could not see the truth, and blessed those who had not seen and still believed.
The King of Kings was speaking of spiritual things and those lessons remain true today, the family of a child born with a devastating birth defect has discovered.
Christian Buchanan was born without eyes and with a severe cleft palate. The condition is rare, suffered by only fifty people in the world.
Now, Christian's mother, Lacey, has put to paper the story of how God opened her eyes and those of her husband to see His glory and the value of life in such dire circumstances.
Through the Eyes of Hope (from Charisma House Publishers) tells the hopeful story of high school sweethearts Lacey and Chris.
Married at 21, Lacey found out she was pregnant two years later, just about the time she was beginning her first year in law school in Nashville, Tenn.
At their ultrasound they found out they were having a boy. But they also received bad news. The child would be born with severe facial deformities.
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The couple, however, pressed ahead. God had given them the child to love, they believed. When Christian was born, he was diagnosed with Tessier cleft lip and palate. He was missing his eyes. Christian's first four weeks were spent in the neo-natal intensive care unit.
Everything changed for the Buchanan's – at home, at work, and in their marriage. Those strains were intensified by well-meaning but uniformed comments from friends, the hurtful rudeness of strangers and even attacks on social media telling them what they should have done with their child – kill him.
One woman wrote on social media: "You are selfish for letting him live just so you could have a baby. You are a pathetic excuse for a mother. He will have a miserable life."
That is the world's way of viewing things, Lacey writes. It is not God's way.
"When we choose to love others despite their differences, we glorify God in His creation," Lacey says. "Instead of hearing people say, 'I'm sorry,' as if Christian had died, I want to hear, 'Congratulations! Christian is learning to survive and thrive in this world.'"
In Through the Eyes of Hope, Lacey describes how doctors worked to fix Christian's cleft palate. Today, she writes, he thrives at the Tennessee School for the Blind.
"The most crippling disease is ignorance," Lacey says. "One day when Christian is old enough, I'll say to him, 'I loved you too much to give up on you. I love you too much now to give up on you. You are an amazing person who God chose to be my son, and I am thankful.'"
Charisma House Publishing describes Through the Eyes of Hope as the story of the "arduous but uplifting journey of Lacey, Chris, and Christian—the years of medical procedures, battles with an often-indifferent health system, unexpected kindness and help, a viral video with six million views, a healed marriage, and most of all the unfailing love of parents for their child and God for His children."
"God doesn't guarantee a trouble-free life or a stress-free marriage," Lacey says. "But our experience has taught us that when life takes a dramatic turn, He is unchanging, even in the worst of circumstances."
Through the Eyes of Hope hits shelves on Jan. 10, 2017.