My bedside vigil stretched into days as I watched meningitis suck precious life from the still form of my college-age child. Sunday afternoon I sat alone with my daughter, watching the disease apparently winning its battle. Gone were the twinkle in her eyes and the ready smile on her lips. The nurse had just left, the same one who had been coming in every 15 minutes to take vital signs. Pained and discouraged, I watched when she recorded on her chart a blood pressure reading only half what it should be.
Alone again in the hospital room, each of us experienced our own unique agony. Lying curled in a fetal position, my daughter moved only her eyes. With them almost swollen shut, she looked up at me through her consumed torture. "Mother, this may be my time to die," she whispered. No panic or fear registered in her words or in her fevered eyes.
The same thought had been silently hammering inside my mind all afternoon. Holding her limp hand in mine, I leaned closer and said quietly, "Darling, it may be." She shared a labored smile with me and slowly closed her eyes.
Amazingly, I did not curse God or offer him any arguments or attempt to bargain with Him to spare her life. I knew without doubt that my daughter believed in God's Son and trusted Him for her salvation and eternal life.
As precious minutes slipped away in that lonely hospital room, I trusted God for his comfort and everlasting strength to support me (Isaiah 26:4). I rested in the assurance that my daughter also claimed these same promises. I saw peace on her swollen face when she closed her eyes. We both accepted God's will.
Our pastor and his wife came by after evening church services. They barely concealed their shock at seeing my daughter’s hands and face twice their normal size. After speaking encouragement to her, they prayed with us in that still, quiet hospital room.
Looking back, I can only believe the Holy Spirit influenced every medical move my daughter's doctors and nurses made. The next day, her health made an unbelievable change for the better. Since she was fully recovered by Wednesday morning, the doctors released her from their care.
On Wednesday evening when our pastor found my daughter's hospital bed empty, he asked about her at the nurses’ station. Later he told us how much the nurses had marveled about her unexplainable recovery. "It's just a miracle that she survived," one nurse told him. We all smile now, knowing what absolute truth she spoke.
Does a Christian experience valleys between the mountaintop experiences? Yes. Those trying days when it was evident I might outlive my daughter were one of the deepest valleys I’ve traveled. God promises His buffering strength and calming peace for valley travel. We can always cling to His promises, "For he himself is our peace" (Ephesians 2:14).
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