Samuel's Hand

Dr Joseph Bruner of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee has been privileged to witness some remarkable things, but few more remarkable than this. On 19 August 1999 Dr Bruner was operating on a spina bifida patient, Samuel Armas, when Samuel was just 21 weeks old in his mother's womb. At one point in the operation, Dr Bruner lifted the baby's hand out of the womb, and supported it with one finger. A photographer, Michael Clancy, was there to capture the moment. Nearly four months later, on 2 December 1999, Samuel was born. He has since grown into a lively young boy who wears leg braces and who has proved a blessing to all who meet him.

The photograph reveals helplessness meeting with compassion and protection. Small wonder that it has been called 'the photo of the century'. Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, felt her unborn child leap for joy in her womb (Luke 1:44). There is a God-given continuity in our lives here on earth, from our conception to our death. God is the God of life, and of new life.