“Yaweh is the builder of Jerusalem. He is the one who gathers the outcasts of Israel together. He is the Rophe of the brokenhearted. He is the one who bandages their wounds.” Psalm 147:2-3
I had just been given two pain pills and a dose of Benadryl before we got the news. Abigail’s small body was failing and her doctor needed to see me right away. My mind desperately tried to focus on the words that the doctor was sharing as my body fought to fall asleep. “She is very, very sick . . . her lungs are like that of a 25 week old preemie . . . we believe there is an infection in her blood stream . . . she will most likely not make it through the next 72 hours . . . we need you to be prepared to lose her.”
Sunday, March 19th, 2006 was the day that my life changed forever. I was 25 weeks pregnant with our first child and anxiously awaiting my husband to return from a business trip that had him overseas for the previous month. I decided to lay down to take a nap before picking him up from the airport. When I woke up I discovered that my water had broke. And thus began the most intense roller coaster of emotions I have ever been on in my entire life.
When I first arrived at the hospital, my OBGYN started to comfort me on the loss of my baby. I was completely stunned. My baby was still alive! I politely told her that my God was bigger than her assessment of the situation and that I was trusting in Him for my daughter’s life.
It was at this point that I was transferred to a hospital that was better able to care for us. I laid in that extremely uncomfortable hospital bed for two weeks, all the while praying for the safe delivery of my precious child. The day came when they were no longer able to safely hold off delivery and Abigail Rose was born via emergency c-section.
You know how expectant mothers dream of what the moment is going to be like when their baby is born? How they wonder what it is going to be like to hold their child for the first time and gaze into their eyes? I never got the moment that I had been dreaming about for the past 5 months. Abigail was wisked away to the NICU immediately after being born. I barely even got to see her.
And now, here I was, 8 hours later being told that she would most likely not survive. As I was wheeled into the NICU to see her for the first time, my senses were bombarded with all of the alarms and noises that are the constant chorus of the place that would become our home for the next 89 days.
|Abigail at about two weeks old.|
She looked so extremely fragile, barely the size of my hand, just two pounds nine ounces. Her little body was vibrating from the force of the ventilator that was keeping her alive. Her eyes were covered to protect them from the bright light that shone down in an effort to help her break down toxic bilirubin. What I remember most, though, were her legs. She was kicking them straight up in the air. I would come to look for those legs each time I walked around the corner as I entered the NICU. The doctors and nurses said that it was a sign that she was a fighter.
Over the course of the next few days, I sat beside my daughter’s isolette and prayed. My family prayed. Friends prayed. They asked their churches to pray. Eventually people from all over the country were praying for my daughter. And Yaweh Ropheka, The Lord Who Heals, heard our prayer.
When Abigail was taken off the ventilator six days after her birth, the doctor said that he had no explanation as to why she was doing so well. We knew, though, Yaweh Ropheka had heard our prayer. When they informed us that there was a problem with her heart that would most likely need surgery to repair, we prayed. The next day, when the cardiologist performed his scan, her heart had been healed. Yaweh Ropheka had heard our prayer. When they came to us and told us that her brain was bleeding, we prayed. The next day the bleeding stopped. Yaweh Ropheka had heard our prayer.
Time and time again, the Lord looked down upon us with mercy and choose to answer the prayers we prayed for our little girl. The baby who was not going to make it through the first 72 hours of her life is now an energetic, outgoing five year old who is whizzing through her math lessons and is loving learning to read. The baby with the damaged lungs who could not breath on her own for the first six months of her life is now the little girl who can belt out a broadway style tune the likes of Barbara Streisand (we’re still working on her pitch).
|Proudly displaying her new bible at Awana Cubbies graduation|
I do not know why God choose to heal my little girl and why He allows others to perish or to suffer disability. My heart breaks for the families whose outcomes our not like our own. But I have no explanation for the survival of my daughter other than Yaweh Ropheka choose to answer the prayers of many and heal her.
Just as Yaweh Ropheka healed my daughter’s physical heart and head, He also works to heal our spiritual hearts and minds. I carry deep wounds in my heart that were inflicted by my earthly father, but the Great Physician is ever so gently healing those wounds. A constant litany of negative self-talk runs through my head, the replaying of hurtful things that were said to me and the hurtful things that I say to myself. God is healing my mind by replacing those falsehoods with the truth of His word.
As a gaze into Abigail’s room while she sleeps under the delicate canopy of purple and green flowers, I sing praises in my heart for the great things that He has done. I am also inspired to be bold in praying for healing. Yaweh Ropheka still heals! I am challenged to pray not just for physical healing for myself and those that I love, but for spiritual healing, as well.
And hopefully I will again be able to say, Yaweh Ropheka heard my prayer.
The Hebrew word rophe means “heal,” “cure,” “restore,” or “make whole.” Shortly after his people left Egypt for the Promised Land, God revealed himself as Yaweh Ropheka, the Lord Who Heals. The Hebrew Scriptures indicate that God is the source of all healing. (Ann Spangler, The Names of God Study Bible)
Further Study: Exodus 15:20-27