The overhead light from the incubator cast an angelic glow over baby John’s tiny body. It was quiet and dark in the pediatric unit despite the many premature babies that had been born. I stood gazing at the miracle before me. My nephew who had been so anxiously awaited for was born at twenty-six weeks. My mind jogged back to when my sister first told us she was pregnant. We were all excited since this was going to be the first nephew/grandchild born in our family of five girls. I envisioned a bright and chubby baby to spoil whenever I wanted. Instead, I had traveled for hours to be with my sister after her emergency c-section and was standing before my nephew who barely weighed over a pound. The music box chimed out “Jesus Loves Me” while I bit my lip to fight back tears. I cried out to God- “Why? I don’t understand. It’s not supposed to be this way.” He looked so tiny and helpless. I was almost afraid to breathe. Through my tears I heard God’s voice resounding in my ears- “Do you trust me?” This was not the first time I heard him ask. There had been issues with money, relationships and decisions where I needed to relinquish control, but never had I trusted him to pull a life from the jaws of death.
The music box chime ended and drowning the silence now was the rapid beeping of the apnea monitor just above my head. Politely a nurse came by and gave John a gentle shaking. “What is that?” I asked. She responded, “Most premature babies have apnea. They sleep and forget to breathe. We just give them a little nudge to remind them.” My outlook on the situation grew even more grim. Again, God’s voice came- “Do you trust me?” I thought of everything that he had done for me. The nights that I had no one, but he was there; the times he cared for me and loved me unconditionally. “Yes.” I answered. I will trust you.” Peace and a new boldness of faith came upon me. Physically there was nothing I could do for John, but I could pray for him. I could believe God. So, from that moment on the decision was made. I was going to believe God no matter what the situation looked like. Some people called it denial. But, there was no denying that the outward circumstances looked grim. I chose to trust God and have faith that he was bigger than any problem that John would face. The bible became my best friend. I recalled the saints of old who faced impossible circumstances: Abraham, Noah, Moses, Joseph, Daniel, Ester, Paul and even Jesus himself. Their faith and perseverance became comfort and inspiration to me. At the time, my sister and I were staying at a nearby Ronald McDonald house.
We quickly became connected with each family staying there. Though each situation was different, the affects were similar. There were tired bodies, broken spirits and hearts full of anxiety. Yet, at night when I would lie in the bed so unfamiliar to me, and lift my prayers of faith, the presence of God would surround me and hope would enter my heart.
Each day we would walk the short distance to the hospital and every day they would tell us that John had gained an ounce overnight. In our excitement they would remind us that most babies who were as premature as John was, were prone to infection and to become joyful was to only bring ourselves to a place of great disappointment. I would only smile knowing that God was in control and he was just proving it to me. Every day from then on was touch and go. Some days he would gain weight; some days he would lose weight. On one occasion he had lost weight overnight and had several apnea occurrences.
I could tell that it was weighing heavy on my sister’s heart. The nurse on duty walked up to the incubator admiring the “Jesus Loves Me” musical toy block the aunts had purchased for him. She smiled “That’s wonderful.” I nodded. She spoke ” John, what a strong, solid name, it fits him perfectly.” The gold cross around her neck seemed to illuminate when she smiled and winked. I almost gasped at the love of Christ I saw on her face.
Learning to trust God with a life as fragile as a baby born at twenty-six weeks was the one of the hardest trials I ever faced. Seems silly when I think about it. The God who cut a dry path through a raging sea; the God who took a lowly shepherd boy, five stones and a sling shot and made him a warrior; the God who delivered Peter out of a guarded cell; is the same God who cupped his massive hands gently around a frail body and breathed life. The same God who laid his hands upon the lepers, the outcasts, the lame placed his hands upon my heart and said “Fear not, only believe.”
Today, John is a healthy, talkative and intelligent five-year- old. Every time I look at him I remember the past, yet I can’t help but think of the future. He was the best teacher I ever had. He taught me to have faith, he taught me that God cares, he taught me that we are not here by mistake or chance, but by the grace and love of God. Most importantly, he taught me humility. For apart from God I can do nothing, but with him nothing will be impossible. We are not in control, but when we loosen the grip from those things we cling so tightly to, his tender voice will cut through the icy sting of disappointment and give us the courage, strength and faith to face the trials of life head on.
One day someone asked me if I believed in miracles. I thought for a moment. “No.” I answered to the surprise of the one who asked. Then, I continued ” I believe in the God of miracles. “
(c) Darlene All Rights Reserved