BROOKE WAS A medical enigma.
She was unique–an actual one of a kind; there was no other person like her in the world.
Brooke weighed 16 pounds–the typical weight for a child between the ages of 6-12 months.
But Brooke Greenberg was not a toddler; she was a 20-year-old.
No, that’s not a misprint.
She was born in 1993 and remained a baby.
In a manner of speaking, her body and mental facilities were frozen in time.
Mentally and cognitively she was a one year-old.
She still had all of her baby teeth.
Her hair and nails were the only parts of her body that actually grew.
Medical experts searched in vain for some sort of a causal agent.
They were baffled by this woman in the mind and body of a child.
“Why didn’t Brooke grow?” they inquired?
She had no apparent abnormalities in her endocrine system, no chromosomal aberrations, and no other observable disruptions which ought to have prevented her from growing and maturing as all other people do.
Doctors conjectured that there was some sort of a gene mutation during the time she was developing in her mother’s womb.
They created a whole new malady in her honor–Syndrome X.
Ironically, Brooke’s family insisted that there was nothing wrong with her.
Her father, Howard, said, “If somebody knocked on the door right now and said, ‘It’s a guaranteed pill. Give it to Brooke and she’ll be fixed,’ I would say to him, ‘She’s not broken.’”
We can dicker kindly over semantics and whether or not it’s appropriate to say Brooke was “broken,” but there was clearly something amiss.
Normal 20-year-old women function far differently than she did.
The Hebrew writer once struggled with a type of Syndrome X.
He wrote, “…By this time you ought to be teachers…” (5:12a).
Some Jewish Christians were Brooke Greenberg.
They hadn’t matured; they still needed milk (v. 12b).
They were spiritually stunted and had failed to grow. One author observes:
“In saying you ought to be teachers, the author, rather than harassing them because they were not all teachers, is shaming them because they had not grown up in Christ. To be a teacher meant to the ancient mind that one was able to think and to act maturely–the very thing that these Christians could not do. They had had enough time, indeed more than enough. But they had gone backward rather than forward. They still needed a teacher. They still needed to be taught, as literally rendered, ‘the rudiments of the beginning of the oracles of God’ (e.g., the very ABC’s of God’s oracles).”/1
Good reader, are you growing and maturing in your faith?
Do you spend more time in personal Bible study and prayer than you did when you first were born into Christ?
Are you more active and is your faith exhibited in the way you serve in the kingdom?
Can you make better decisions about how to interact with and in the world? Can you observe and trace your walk into spiritual adulthood-or do you still need a bottle to suck on?
It breaks my heart to think about Brooke.
She never knew the joys that come with maturation.
But it’s even more heartbreaking to think about children of God who are like her.
Who wants to stay that way…?
1/ Neil R. Lightfoot, “Spiritual Childhood,” Jesus Christ Today, page 112.
“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” – Mike