When our 4th child was born it was a troubling day. The doctors told us that he had a severe heart defect and there was no chance of surgery to repair it, (not in those days) and he had jaundice really bad and would probably have brain damage if he were to live. His heart was so noisy that you could feel the buzzing vibration on the outside of his chest with your hand. We were told to take him home but not to get too attached to him because he would not live more than a few days. We were also told not to take him around other people because the slightest exposure to a simple cold would be fatal. We were told to bring him back each day for Jaundice tests.
As we left the Hospital in Valporaiso, Indiana, we stopped by the Cathedral at the university. We prayed over the child and wept together. The next Tuesday evening we took him to our prayer meeting in South Bend, Indiana at Notre Dame’s “The People of Praise” a place that we attended each week. There were usually upwards of 1200 people there from all denominations. The Baby was fussy from being sick and he would not be comforted. The lady sitting next to us asked if she could hold him and try to quiet him. We said sure, told her about his bad heart and gave him to her despite the warnings against exposure to people. Soon this good lady gave up and he was passed to the next person. And soon the next person gave up and passed him again. After a while he was way on the other side of the large circle of people. We could hear him in the distance but couldn’t see him and were getting pretty anxious that unless he made the entire circle before the end of the meeting we would lose him. And I imagine each person got the story and said a prayer over him. By the end of the meeting we had him back and he was exhausted from crying.
We took him upstairs to the healing ministry partners and we prayed over him. The answer I got was not what I expected, a word was given, “Baptize the boy and all will be well with him.” I said, “ Let’s do it, lets Baptize him right now.” The team said, “No, We got the impression that you are to baptize him yourself.” And I asked, “And the Lord will heal him?” They looked a little uncomfortable and said, “No, all will be well with him. We are not sure what that means.” It is good to have prayer partners when you are so personally involved that your own anxiety clouds your ability to hear from the Lord or even to pray as you should.
We took him home and the following day called the Pastor at our church and invited him and a few close friends from the church to join us. I told the Pastor that I wanted him there as a friend and to witness but that I would be doing the Baptism. He was really upset and said he would be right over. He came with a stack of books from the Methodist Church and was telling me and showing me why I was not supposed to baptize the child but that the preacher was supposed to. I set my Bible on top of his stack of books and said, “Show me in this one.” With that he said, “I can’t show you from there. Technically you can perform the baptism, but it is against church doctrine.” And seeing that I was not going to give in he said he was leaving and would have nothing to do with the baptism and would not come as a witness or as a friend. That evening our friends came over and I got on my knees with the baby and Baptized him in a basin of water and anointed him with oil .
The following day we got up and got ready to take him for his daily Bilirubin test and his skin which had been a golden yellow color since birth and his eyes were snow white, except for a tiny little brownish yellow spot in the inside corner of each eye. All the yellow of Jaundice was gone. It was amazing! At the hospital his test score had dropped from an off the scale high reading to clear, only the smallest trace amount of Bilirubin. Then the Pediatric Cardiologist, Dr. Woo, saw him listened, and listened over and over to his heart from every possible angle and then looking at me and his mother quite perplexed said, “There is no more heart failure! He is going to live!” I asked the doctor if he believed in Miracles and that God heals people. He said, “It’s a Miracle! What else can I say? He has only a slight murmur that is all. This can be fixed when he is older. I don’t know what to tell you, the heart is working now! Take him home and I will see him again when he is three months old.”
Derrick continued to have the Murmur but suffered no ill health because of it. He was fully active physically. When he was 13 his heart began to labor and he was once again faced with heart failure. But now medical advances and his age allowed the surgeons to repair the faulty heart. He was never sick, never had brain damage and graduated top of his class in High School and College from Western Washington University. He works today as a software engineer and has married and has a son of his own. God gave him the support and the protection he needed until the fix was available to him. Why didn’t God just fix his heart completely? I don’t know, but I thank God for doing it his way, the perfect way according to His will. Perhaps the experience of being a teen and facing open-heart surgery has yet some important lesson for him to use later in life.
"When you awake in the morning, learn something to inspire you and mediate upon it, then plunge forward full of light with which to illuminate the darkness." -Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
Jewish adventures in the diaspora.
Scripture, ethics and spiritual formation