Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "While Shepherds Watched"1 (Lyrics)
Isaiah 9:6 – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (NIV)
In the year 1972, our second baby was due at Christmas. But on December sixth, Christmas was the farthest thing from my mind as the first contraction of labour's onset pulled me over double. "George!" I screamed. Our baby had just decided that the time had come to see the world outside my womb, but it was three weeks too early! "Dear Lord," I prayed, "Please help us get to the hospital in time." Although rushed, my dear husband still had the presence of mind to collect a friend to stay with our special son and to contact the hospital so that they could prepare surgery and notify our doctor/surgeon.
Tenderly, my dear husband helped me into our wee navy-blue Volkswagen Beetle, and off we went in a miserable, driving, ice-cold rain storm through Chicago, making a mad dash for Resurrection Hospital's Emergency Room on the west side, miles from our north-side apartment … only to come to a snail-paced crawl on the expressway. The traffic had slowed down, but not so my contractions. I fervently prayed for that stalled traffic to get a move on!
To complicate matters, since I'd had our first baby by emergency Caesarean Section surgery, it was imperative that we get there as soon as possible before labour pulled my insides apart. As the scar tissue from my first delivery stretched and pulled with each contraction, pain intensified, not to mention my fear. I knew that I was not supposed to go into labour with this baby, but there I was, helplessly trapped in a car stalled in traffic! I knew that I could die, so I prayed, "Dear Lord, please help us get to the hospital in time and save my baby!"
We did arrive in time, and my daughter was born, a strapping 6 pounds 11 ounces at three weeks premature! Did she ever have a set of lungs on her! From her first breath, she let the world know that she'd arrived.
That was my last memory until I woke up in the Intensive Care Unit. Evidently, not everything had gone smoothly, but I'd been knocked out by the anaesthetic and knew nothing after hearing my baby's cry. I didn't get to hold her for a couple of days until the doctor was sure that she was okay to be out of her neonatal crib. As I held her, counted her fingers and toes, and stroked her hair, I thanked God for this gift of life. He saw us through that extremely stressful experience, and since then, He has seen us through so many others.
I can really identify with Mary and Joseph, whose experience must have been far more stressful than mine! The inn was full — only a stable was available! Jesus had no crib, only a feeding trough! Think of the dangers from unsanitary conditions! Joseph had to have been in an absolute dither! After all, this was their first child! But God was with them, reassuring them with an angelic announcement and shepherds worshipping her Baby.
I am quite certain that God will be with everyone who calls on His name, no matter the trouble. Of this we can rest assured: God is good all the time. All the time, God is good!
No matter what happens, we can trust that God will bring something very good from the experience.
Prayer: Dear Lord God, thank You for not only carrying us through life's difficulties, but for bringing so much good into our lives through them. Be with those who struggle now and assure them that You are with them and will bring them through this dark time to find the blessings on the other side of trouble. We pray in Jesus' holy name. Amen.