Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Cleanse Me"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 8:49-50 – While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler's house came and said, "Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more." But Jesus on hearing this answered him, "Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well." (ESV)
I wrote previously about how God provided a job for me when I was down to my last ten pounds. The reason for the job was to give me a gracious manager who gave me the latitude to organise life and handle what happened next.
At about 2:33 a.m. on 9 March 1988, Sarah, my second daughter, was born. My wife said, "Is she all right?" My reply was, "Sure, she'll be all right." The nurse gave me a long, hard stare as if to say, "Who do you think you are fooling?" As they were stitching my wife up, I went off to find our new baby.
When I arrived at the incubator, she looked at me with one eye open. She would have cried, if the tube were not in the way, and I did cry and call upon God. Sarah had a diaphragmatic hernia and was on ninety percent oxygen supply.
God whispered in my mind, "I want you to give her back to Me." I cried and then I said, "Okay." Then I thought, How do you ask a woman who has just given birth to give her child back into God's arms? I prayed. I was pumped full of adrenaline, or something.
To my wife, I said, "I think God wants us to give Sarah back into His arms." She said, "I think so, too." What a relief!
My pastor arrived, and so, along with the paediatrician, we prayed for Sarah's healing. Ruth, the paediatrician, quickly moved off to do something. She had noticed that Sarah had suddenly started to struggle violently with the tubing, having radically increased in strength. It seemed that this was a direct answer to all our prayers.
The doctors decided that she was now strong enough to survive an operation to put her intestines and stomach back in their proper place, so they transported her to the Bristol Children's Hospital. During the day, I was desperate to hear what God was saying to me. Eventually it arrived: "Do not be afraid; just believe."
Sarah was operated on, and I was aware of God's hand on me at this time in a powerful way, sustaining us through the trauma. He encouraged me not to worry but to continue in prayer trusting in Him because He was watching too. We had to go back home to sort life out, after staying at the hospital for ten days. She would be on life support for a further three weeks.
The next day, we returned, and whilst we were away, God had been working. The male nurse was on duty said, "It is a miracle!" and told me his account:
"It was early on Sunday morning when Sarah's temperature increased steeply, and her pulse rate similarly became rapid. … When the doctors came on Sunday morning, they agreed with me and ordered an immediate X-ray because they were concerned."
When the results came back, the doctors were confused, because where there had been only one lung previously, the X-rays now showed that there were two. A very interesting development!
Now, twenty-three years later, Sarah is expecting her own baby this month: January 2012!
Having experienced God's answers to prayer, I feel no need to be unnecessarily fearful, because I have seen firsthand that He is engrossed in the lives of all those who dare to call Him Saviour. In similar manner to Shadrach and his pals in the fiery furnace or Peter on the lake in Galilee, people who dared to trust in God above life itself, we can aspire to that faith too, each in our own way!
Of course, I need to say that God has given us a brain to use to the best of our ability in His service, so let us not be rash! Nevertheless, through God's will for us, working in our everyday situations, we can ultimately trust Him, because sometimes we cannot see the bigger picture, or the unknown unknowns.
Romans 8:38a,39b – For I am sure that neither death nor life … will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)
If only we could remember that more often and be confident that God loves us!
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your Word that shows us the way forward, even when it is presently not visible. We come beseeching You for freedom from all that ensnares us and masks Your will for us. Help us to let go of bad things, so that by Your Holy Spirit, You can pour new life and expectancy into our beings to make us whole once more. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.