By Lawrence R. Holmes,
Walkersville, Maryland, USA
We heard from her older brother that Annie was sick with a high fever and was in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. Annie was a delightful, young girl from our church youth group. She was a loving child—loud, full of fun, and precious to her deaf parents.
As we entered the ICU, the diagnosis of bacterial meningitis overwhelmed us. Our hearts sank, and our eyes welled. “How could this be, dear God? How could this be happening to one so young and one so loving?”
Her mother had called us to pray with her, and she had asked the family pastor from their deaf-ministry church, as well. We came with hope for God’s healing touch. There were 10 of us: Annie’s two parents, her two brothers, two elders from Community of Christ, the pastor from the deaf church, one neighbor, and Annie’s two youth ministers. All of us came to beseech God to spare this little one.
It was difficult to watch from outside the isolation room, witnessing this child writhing in feverish delirium.
Annie was not responding to antibiotics. Looking through the glass we saw the nurses’ faces and watched monitors as they registered Annie’s heartbeats and temperature, all scoring the battle raging for this young life. It was every parent’s nightmare.
Everyone there reached out and held another’s hand as we formed a circle of believers and began to pray. Their pastor, Paul, offered the first prayer. The elders came next, followed by her youth pastors. We were asking God to intervene.
Tears flowed from every eye as a calm came over the group. I reached to wipe my tears and glanced through the isolation window. I saw the nurse inside smiling, giving a thumbs-up sign. We looked at the monitors. Annie’s temperature was dropping—107+…105…103….
The Holy Comforter had come, and we felt sure Annie would recover. We marveled at what had happened. The atmosphere changed from sad to hopeful.
Then the doctor in charge of the ICU stepped into the hall. His face showed anger. He pulled Annie’s parents aside. A few minutes later they returned, in tears. Their pastor translated to us what the doctor had told them. “Your daughter will be dead within the hour. Why are you acting this way?”
I looked up and said, “Did I miss it, Lord? Did I not see with my own eyes, and feel with my own heart, and witness your Holy Spirit working here in this place?”
I leaned toward the ICU window and looked at the nurse. I was trying to understand. Just then the head nurse, the one who had given that thumbs-up sign, saw the look on our faces especially on the parents as they pushed into the isolation room to be with their child.
Through their tears they spoke to the nurse about what the doctor had said. This time it was the nurse whose face grew angry. She stormed from the ICU area. We could hear her loud voice chewing out the doctor.
“What are you doing, saying these things, when you have not looked at the charts? How can you say these things when you have not seen what has taken place here?”
As we listened, we looked at each other. “Oh, so we did not miss it, Lord. All of us here were witness to this miracle. Thank you, God, thank you.”
More than 10 years have passed, and I still hear the nurse’s words. “…when you have not seen what has taken place here.” The experience made me keenly aware to look and see the divine presence in others’ lives and the meaning of what takes place in my daily walk.
Another miracle took place that day, the miracle of our belief in God’s power and the transformation of those who witnessed it through the doubts. This event opened my heart to see that belief and unbelief can come close together. Just a few words can influence our hearts and change our belief in the outcomes.
In just minutes, my heart realized God cares for all of us. God gives blessing not just for healing our bodies, but for our hearts to witness and understand that we might bless others.
What are the vital signs of your belief that God is capable, ready, and able to work miracles in you and others? Are we professing the Holy Spirit, and are we sharing the joyous news that God cares for all our hearts and minds?
I thank God for Annie’s life and full recovery. What I gained from that powerful and moving experience was to trust God, even when I don’t hear what I want to hear. Trust God.
One more joyous note, our miracle child, as we called her, was baptized and confirmed into the church. She now serves at that same hospital.