Monday, February 21, 2011

Praying for a Miracle

Today I woke up with a very strong feeling.

We ate breakfast and went to Resurrection church, the Bishop's church, for the Monday morning devotional. Pastors gathered and greetings were shared. The text for the day was the story of Jesus healing a boy who was possessed by a demon - a healing which was initiated by the strong faith of the boy's father.

I still had that strong feeling. I shared with our sister church pastor that I had awakened with the idea that we should go to the children's hospital, Benjamin Bloom, to check on the little boy from our sister community who was there. "We should go," he said.

We navigated our way to Bloom through a labyrinth of traffic and vendors. As I looked around at the creepy clown with red pants and balloon animals, the pick-up with an old tarp thrown over it as a display space for a big pile of stuffed animals, and the guy thrusting sandals toward us for $6 a pair, I could not imagine being a parent with a sick child having to navigate through the noise and craziness.

As we were nearing the hospital, from somewhere across the street Maria emerged, as if by magic. She quietly walked toward us with no look of surprise, as if she had been expecting to meet us here all along. Her son, Douglas Isaac, is in the hospital. His little four year old lungs are struggling to fight tuberculosis. He is breathing with the help of a respirator.

Maria walked us to the gate. The guard would not let us in until 1:00 pm when visitors can enter. Even then we will need special permission.

Maria gets up early, sends her older children to school and takes several buses each day to get to the hospital by 12:25 pm so that she can get in line to visit her son in the critical care unit.

We came back at 1:00 pm and the guard remembered us and let us in. Maria walked us up the stairs to the second floor and we all sat down in a waiting area. Maria knows the protocol and has made some friends among the other parents who perform this daily ritual. We waited our turn to go through the door, and then stood in the next line to get into the critical care unit. The guard gave a stern speech about only mothers and fathers being allowed to visit, and only if they have cards to get in.

I visited this area of the hospital once before with a group of medical professionals from the US who were in El Salvador for a Mission of Healing. The sick children are located in beds behind a glass wall. As visiting dignitaries we were allowed to come in and to view the children through the glass. All of the children were crying for their moms. They were hooked up to various types of equipment, much of it more than 20 years old. The doctors were kind and caring and doing their best with the resources they had.

I kept thinking about my own experiences as a mom with a sick child in a US hospital. It seems so wrong to restrict visits. It seems like the children who are so sick should have a mommy or daddy close by. It seems like parents who are so worried should have more access to their children. Yet, the care and safety of the children comes first and in a country with lots of dirt and lots of germs, maybe the restrictions have to be enforced.

Maria went in. After a while she peeked out and said that the doctor would let someone else in, in place of her husband. Prayers from the hallway united with prayers from the US and prayers from the pastor. I think it would be a good time for God to make a miracle at the request of a mother in great pain but with greater faith. Hugging and crying, Maria quietly testified to the power of God.

Tonight, maybe there will be a miracle. Or tonight, maybe a little boy will go to live with Jesus.

Addition to this story...
That night, the miracle was that Isaac lived. He lived long enough for his mom and dad and the doctors to try all that could be tried, and for his parents to be at peace with the reality that human healers could do no more. A few days ago, we received this message:

When you were in our country, you accompanied us in various areas, many of joy and others of sadness....and so God gave you the opportunity to be with Maria, visiting in the Hospital Bloom the little Isaac from the community...a 4 year old angel who built a chain of unity and strength....Thanks, friend, for dedicating a time for him. Today the little angel is already in heaven; he was called by the creator and his funeral was yesterday.

When Pastor Santiago had gone in to visit Isaac, he said that he couldn't help himself and he started to cry. When Isaac saw the pastor cry, little tears trickled down his cheeks too. This was the only way Isaac could communicate...his body just simply saying
"we are sad."

"He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away."
Rev. 21

With eyes of faith, we can see Isaac now, breathing well, with no tears in his eyes, sitting beside his brother Jesus, and looking forward to the time when he can again be with his parents and his pastor and say "we are happy."

2 comments:

  1. Heart-wrenching but powerful story. Prayers for the little one and his family are being sent their way.

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  2. As of today, the power of prayer is keeping little Isaac alive, and there may be some small signs of improvement. Keep the prayers flowing!!!

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