The most amazing thing happened the other day. I'm still trying to process it, actually. Here's the story; let me know what you think:
Sunday, 4 a.m. My 6-year old daughter wakes up complaining of a stomach ache. To the best of my memory she's never done this before. I ask her if she feels like she might be sick. No, she says, but my tummy reeeeally hurts. So we get the "barf-bowl" just in case and settle in and watch her. She is really in pain, and I'm wracking my brain trying to figure out why. We all ate the same thing for dinner, and it was homemade so I can't blame a restauarant. No one else is sick. We hadn't done anything unusual over the last couple days. I'm stumped. After a little while the vomit did appear. And appear. And appear. Around 5:30 I decided to make a couch-nest for her, since it was apparent neither one of us would be sleeping any more that night. Here's where things took off. That little girl vomited 11 times in 90 minutes and then I stopped keeping track. I could barely get the barf-bowl emptied and cleaned before the next round started. At one point she was retching every 5 minutes. Gut-wrenching heaves, where she convulsed like nothing I've ever witnessed, even while working at a hospital and having two kids. All the while she was writhing in pain from the original stomach-ache. I'm emotionally frantic, calling up all my medical training trying to figure out what is going on. No right-quadrant sensitivity (which is difficult to ascertain when your entire belly hurts), no fever. She appears to not have appendicitis or the flu. That's good. But what on earth IS it? Nothing is seeming to fit. I call the pharmacy to check on their stock of Emetrol; they're not yet open. I call the pediatrician; they're not yet open. I am five minutes away from packing my little barfling in the car (in the rain and cold) and driving her to the ER--that's how extreme was her condition. She couldn't talk. If you know Regan, you know how extreme this is. I'm not being sarcastic--this child talks all the time and the only time she doesn't is when she is seriously ill or asleep. So I'm thinking I'm all out of options and we're going to the hospital when I remember something: I'm taking a Spiritual Gifts class at my church. Just the day before, we learned about the spiritual gift of healing. Now, I've read Mark 16:17-18* in the past, and I've tried the laying on of hands. I did it in faith, even though it felt ... a little strange. But I've learned that that strange feeling is earthly, not from God Himself. So I've done it. I've laid hands on both my kids when they've had colds and frankly, it didn't seem to do much. I told Paul, the pastor teaching the class and a good friend, and he said, "You know, it may not work every time, Lisa--we have to keep trying, in faith." At the very least, in obedience, right? With that thought I laid my hands on my little 6-year old, but honestly, my primary emotion at that time most closely resembled desperation. And I think that's OK. God loves desperation as well as faith, and hears us when we are anguished, the way any loving parent hears their pleading child's cry for help. I laid hands on that little girl, and I desperately claimed God's promise for her health. I prayed that He remove all illness from her and restore her to wellness. Part of me felt like I was on some sort of video for a charismatic religion, and I pondered getting a couple snakes just to complete the picture. That part was definitely not Godly, but there you have it.
And this time, it did work.
I laid hands on my daughter and prayed. I let go of her. I looked down at her. This took a total of maybe 30 seconds in all, maybe less.
And then I witnessed a little miracle.
Regan sat up, said, "I feel better, Mommy!" and started asking for food. Food! I asked her how her tummy felt. I asked her if she thought she was going to be sick again. Fine, and nope. I thought, "This won't last," and prepared for yet another onslaught of sick. It never came. From that point on, Regan chatted happily, ate breakfast and acted as though the entire sick-fest never occured at all. It was all I could do to keep her on the couch and resting for the remainder of the morning, and in the afternoon I gave up. She showed absolutely no sign of having been ill at all. She woke up at 4 a.m., 4 hours earlier than usual and didn't go to bed till 10:00 p.m. that night, 2 hours after her bedtime. She was in good spirits and full of energy the entire day.
I was another story.
I still don't know what to make of this. Wait--yes, I do. I am just having trouble believing what I witnessed. For me, faith is not difficult. I can easily have faith in something I cannot see as long as I feel it. But when presented with compelling visual evidence of that faith, I am gobsmacked. Whaaaa? What just happened here? I kept asking myself. Some people need to see "proof" before believing in miracles, some of us don't.
This may not seem so miraculous when viewed in print. I wish you could have been here that day. I wish you could have watched the agony in which my little girl writhed, in pain so fierce, she couldn't even cry. I wish you could have witnessed her distress as she puked over and over and over and over, for hours. My graphic description is not for nothing--it's to give you the picture of how sick she was. I've dealt with a lot of sick. This was something very, very atypical. I wish you could have seen the difference that 30 seconds made. How she went from writhing in pain to sitting up and acting as though nothing had happened. I wish you could have been here because part of me needs a witness to what I witnessed. Part of me still thinks, "Naaah. This just couldn't have happened. It's too ... 'out there'." Although skeptical about many things, I do believe in the supernatural.
I just honestly never expected to encounter it in my family room.
Miraculous signs, indeed.
With God all things are possible.
* "These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: in My name they will place their hands on the sick and they will be healed."
Mark 16:17-18 (edits mine)