How do you know God is control? That was the question recently posed in my adult Sunday School class. One answer was circumstances. Another was faith. And another was God’s Word.
So what do you do when your circumstances, your faith, and God’s Word collide?
This became all too real to me on August 15, 2010. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I was at home with our four-day old newborn. My mom was with me, and my husband was in route to another town to get some necessary baby supplies.
It was time for our little six pounds of sweetness to eat … again. As a first-time mother, I was doing my best to follow all the “rules.” For example, wake your newborn and feed him every two hours. So that’s what I did or at least attempted to do.
But for some reason, our little man wouldn’t awaken. He was breathing but would not rouse. I called the hospital where he was delivered and spoke with the nurse on call. She instructed me to get a cool, wet washcloth and gently stroke him with it. My mom and I did this repeatedly, and he did nothing. After a few more calls to the hospital, we decided it was time to take him to the emergency room. By now, his lips were tinged purple, and he was limp – still breathing but lifeless.
At the time, we lived in a very rural community. The hospital where he was born was almost an hour away. Due to my mother’s urging, for which I am very thankful, we loaded up and headed to the hospital. I contacted my husband.
While in route, we decided it was best to call 911. We were hoping an ambulance would meet us along the way. Instead the dispatcher sent a police escort, and we were rerouted to the nearest hospital – a small rural facility with limited capabilities.
There are not adequate words, and my emotions are still too raw (even after almost five years) to describe the pandemonium that ensued in that little medical facility. Our four-day-old baby lay lifeless and helpless. The medical staff, although kind but not trained or equipped for this type of trauma, could do nothing to help him except wrap him in a warming blanket.
He needed to be transferred to the place of his birth – a larger hospital that was better equipped, but the doctor on call refused to accept him. For whatever reasons, we are still not sure. So the small hospital couldn’t release him to make a transfer. It was a nightmare.
I felt completely helpless.
My husband arrived, and we made phone calls to no avail. Finally the right connection was made, and our son was transferred via ambulance to the hospital where he was born.
He was placed in the oldest ambulance the facility had. The one good ambulance was not available. (I’m not exaggerating.) So it took us 45 minutes to travel 25 miles due to the rickety condition of the ambulance. We had to drive slowly to keep it from falling apart – literally.
And there I was falling apart in the back as I sat as close as I could to my precious baby whose tiny face was covered with an oxygen mask. No movement, no nothing – just the faint rhythm of his belly going up and down (and oh how grateful I was and am for each little breath).
By this time, word had gotten around that something was terribly wrong with our baby. Our family began to pray. Friends began to pray. Our church family began to pray. Texts and phone calls came pouring in, some from people I had not heard from or seen in years, as I sat utterly helpless for what seemed like forever in the back of that rattletrap ambulance.
Then when we were about eight minutes out from the hospital that had medical personnel ready to receive him, he cried!
Did you hear me? He cried!
It was the most wonderful sound I had heard in hours.
It was now close to 6:00 p.m., and since 2:00 p.m. he had been lifeless.
But now he was crying. Praise, God!
He was taken into the ER. An IV was inserted, tests were run, and scans were performed.
Everything came back normal. The medical staff could offer no conclusion, reason, or diagnosis for his condition other than possible dehydration. The mama in me knows it wasn’t dehydration.
It was the work of God through the prayers of His people that day. James 5:13-18 comes to mind. (Here is an excellent sermon that explains the passage far better than I ever could.)
We stayed the night at the hospital under close observation. We were discharged the next morning with no answer.
It will be five years this August, and we still don’t have an answer. But what we do have, thanks to the kindness of God, is a healthy, vibrant little boy who loves life and never slows down.
And what we do know is that God is sovereign and in control of all things at all times, which is sometimes most obvious in our helplessness.
If the outcome had been different that afternoon, I admit it would be much more difficult for me to make the following claim. But our circumstances don’t change His truth. Regardless, He is still God, He is still in control, and He is still good.
How do we know? Because His Word says so:
“In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory,” (Ephesians 1:11-12, ESV).
Thank you, God!