Thursday, June 3, 2010

Breath of Life

June 1st, 2010 from Sandra Byrd

So often I find myself asking for a removal of difficult situations and circumstances. But that’s where God teaches me to rely on Him …

We were a family in disarray, like a loosely held bunch of pickup sticks when the hand that has clasped them lets go. Our young daughter was seriously ill – again. Months before she’d been rushed to Children’s Hospital where, after 11 hours of constant asthma treatment, and a near miss admission to the ICU, her lungs finally broke open. Six months later here she was, down again, missing two more weeks of school as doctors searched their experiences and resources to help. We pleaded to God for an answer, for relief, for help. Help seemed long overdue in coming, if at all. God remained silent.

Our son, overlooked during the acute phases, was putting on a good face but his school work and attitude began to fray. My work was pushed aside and began to pile menacingly at my desk. My husband had permanent ashen smudges under his eyes from many sleepless nights. Still, my daughter’s waxy complexion and complete lack of energy reminded us: she’s not well. We needed a break.

After two months, she seemed to turn a corner. Some kind friends who offered us the use of their beach front condo for a long weekend, and we’d been planning on it for months. Well, wouldn’t you know, my daughter came down with a fever the day before we were supposed to go. We NEEDED this break. We wrestled with whether or not we should go. In the end, after prayer, my husband and I both felt that we should go, no matter what.

So we drove.

On the way down the coast, I prayed, Lord, I can step forward in faith here, I don’t NEED to hear from you, but I’d like to.

A few hours later we stopped for dinner and then continued our drive south. We were going a new way – one printed out from the Internet – a way we’d never been before because it was supposed to be safer, but perhaps a bit longer. After driving for some time I asked my husband, should we get a map and make sure we’re okay? At this point, it was 9pm. He agreed, and we pulled into a dimly lit one-horse town at a highway-side Chevron.

My husband got out of the car and went into the gas station. Within seconds, two young people came flying out of the same station, crying and gripping one another’s hands. They ran toward a van parked in the side parking lot. I tried, from my own vehicle, to look into the windows of the gas station. I could see no one. No attendant, no customers, no husband! Minutes dragged by. I couldn’t leave my kids alone in the car and go look and see what was happening. We locked the doors. And then we prayed!

Suddenly, an ambulance screamed up. Then a fire truck roared in. Emergency workers poured out of it like ants and raced into the store. Through the window, now, I could see my husband standing, so I breathed easier. Next I saw other heads, a woman, clutching a baby to her chest, being ushered into the back of the ambulance. A minute or so later my husband emerged from the store and a young man in his early twenties pumped my husband’s hand before getting into his car and following the ambulance.

As my husband got into the car we all shouted, “What happened?”

While the car was still turned off, he recounted his tale. As soon as he’d walked into the store a woman held out her baby to him and said, “Can you save my baby?” She quickly told him that the baby hadn’t been breathing for a short time. No one at the gas station knew infant CPR and so the crisis had grown. My husband had been trained in all forms of CPR so he quickly answered, “Yes, I can help.” He knelt down, gently extended the baby’s neck, opened her mouth and began to treat her. At each moment he felt the Lord guiding him: when to breathe just a little, when to puff a bit heavier. Shortly thereafter he felt the baby’s feather breaths responding to his. By the time the ambulance arrived, the baby was crying. THIS time, a crying baby was a good sign.

The father later told my husband that the baby had had a seizure in their van on the way up from California, the first the baby had ever had or the parents had ever seen.

As we drove away, and it got quiet again, I felt the Lord speak to me. “There’s your answer,” He said to my heart. And I knew what He meant, as I continued to pray. In this world, there will always be sickness and sorrow and trouble and problems. That baby may have epilepsy, and a life time of management ahead of her. We are not in heaven yet, and sickness steals upon us all, and sometimes dominates our lives for a time. But God has numbered that baby’s days, and not one of them will be snatched from her before His exactly appointed time. He made sure to get us there to keep her safe that night. In the same way, my own daughter will have health issues to manage throughout her life, because we’re not in heaven yet. But I can rest easy, knowing that God alone has appointed her days, and He alone will make sure that she lives the full measure of them. If he cares so much for that little baby girl, I know he cares for my daughter, too.

My daughter’s fever was gone the next day, and we had a wonderful time.

We never did get a map. But we found our way just fine.

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