The Long, Dark Night

Some­thing to hold on to

Activated - - FRONT PAGE - By Joyce Sut­tin

I had walked to the health store, ten blocks from home, to pick up some vi­ta­mins. Though I loved walk­ing and made this trip of­ten, some­thing felt dif­fer­ent that day. I had fum­bled with my change and for­got­ten my list.

On my walk home I stopped at a cross­walk, wait­ing for the light to change. Af­ter some min­utes, I no­ticed peo­ple look­ing at me strangely. I re­al­ized I had been wait­ing at the cross­walk through sev­eral light changes. Then it seemed like a very long walk home.

Walk­ing into the kitchen, I be­gan pre­par­ing din­ner. The kids had re­turned from school and I knew I had to hurry. Then the odd­est thing hap­pened. I looked at the pool of water on the floor and it dawned on me. At barely seven months pregnant, some­thing was re­ally wrong and I was go­ing into la­bor.

We had been see­ing a mid­wife who had come to the house sev­eral times to check on me. She quickly came over and con­firmed that my water had bro­ken, and due to the tim­ing, I needed to go to the hos­pi­tal right away. I soon found my­self in a hos­pi­tal on to­tal bed rest, wait­ing for this baby who wanted to make his de­but eight weeks too early.

It was a long week. I hated be­ing in the hos­pi­tal, but was as­sured that I had no choice about stay­ing, be­cause my uterus was com­pro­mised. If I didn't de­liver soon, I would de­velop an in­fec­tion and have to have an emer­gency de­liv­ery. I ar­gued that I'd had three per­fect, nat­u­ral de­liv­er­ies, three per­fect ba­bies, that this couldn't be hap­pen­ing; but I was told that if I left the

hos­pi­tal, the baby would die, and I my­self could die as well.

They were right. Af­ter one long week of pray­ing that the baby would stay put as long as pos­si­ble, I be­gan to feel re­ally sick. Sud­denly my tem­per­a­ture spiked to 105 (40°C) and I was rushed into the de­liv­ery room. Af­ter spo­radic con­trac­tions, dif­fi­cult in­ter­ven­tions, and a near ce­sarean, I gave birth to my sec­ond son.

It was dif­fer­ent from my other de­liv­er­ies, and I had a hard time re­joic­ing. It meant des­per­ate prayer, in­tense med­i­ca­tion, and hav­ing my baby whisked away to in­ten­sive care. That night was the most dif­fi­cult of my life—alone, bat­tling an in­tense in­fec­tion mov­ing through my body, and hav­ing been told that it was “touch and go” and that my baby boy had a 50/50 chance of mak­ing it through the night.

There are de­grees of des­per­ate prayer. I had reg­u­larly prayed for oth­ers and for pro­tec­tion for my fam­ily and all the usual things. But noth­ing had ever come close to the des­per­a­tion I felt that night. I was sick and help­less, and there was noth­ing I could do ex­cept pray. I did noth­ing else. I couldn't sleep. I awaited in­jec­tions of med­i­ca­tion and prayed. It was the dark­est night of my life and a test of all I be­lieved and had staked my life on.

How of­ten I had told oth­ers about the power of prayer. How of­ten I had quoted verses from the Bible on be­liev­ing to re­ceive. But this night, both this new­born child and my faith were on the al­tar, and all I could do was claim God's prom­ises for heal­ing that I had mem­o­rized and fight to be­lieve that God would spare my baby.

The day dawned, and a nurse ar­rived to tell me he was sta­ble. My own fever broke and I rested calmly, sleep­ing for the first time since the de­liv­ery. When I woke up, I was told I could go to in­ten­sive care and see my son.

I held the tini­est baby in my arms and wept. God had kept him and me through the night. He had strength­ened his weak heart and lungs and kept him alive through a rough de­liv­ery. He had al­most died, but he had fought for life and the Lord had fought for us through the long, dark night. I held this gift in my arms and knew that as surely as God had kept us, He had kept His Word and it would not fail.

Things may not al­ways go ac­cord­ing to plan. Emer­gen­cies hap­pen. So many things we hope for in our lives can go wrong. But one thing is cer­tain. God is on the throne and prayer changes things. His prom­ises stand strong when we need them most. His Word is a sure foun­da­tion on which to stand dur­ing the long, dark nights of our lives.

Joyce Sut­tin is a re­tired teacher and writer and lives in San Antonio, USA.

YOU WILL SEEK ME AND FIND ME, when you search for Me with all your heart.

— Jeremiah 29:13

THOUGH I WALK THROUGH THE VAL­LEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they com­fort me.

— Psalm 23:4

He was fully con­vinced that GOD WAS ABLE TO DO WHAT HE PROMISED.

— Ro­mans 4:21 CEB

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