Early yesterday morning, through the predawn darkness, we drove to the hospital for Angela to give birth. Before doing so, however, my son Philip emerged from his room with Bible in hand. “Daddy, I have a word for you.” It is from Psalm 18:16-18:
“[The Lord] sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.
He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.”
Backing out of the driveway, I thought of the God who delivers us from treacherous waters. It is unlikely that Philip would have known the relevance of this word. Sure, he knew that his Mommy carries the gene that potentially causes hemophilia, and he had some vague awareness of the fifty percent odds facing his newborn brother. He has seen his older brother grow up with the condition, and probably knew that the test results indicating the outcome would take 24 to 36 hours. But it is unlikely that he would have known the extent to which his Daddy loathes the suspense and uncertainty of those hours… how it transports him to a neonatal unit in Massachusetts where the firstborn son bled, and continued bleeding. The rotation of confused doctors and nurses, bewildered expressions, and outright panic. The small army of nurses it required to brace his hands and feet while a phlebotomist attempted to thread a tiny vein. The piercing cries as one stab after another failed, and those big brown eyes looking directly at me as if to say, “How can you let this happen, Daddy?”
It’s incredible how traumatic experiences remain with us. To this day a newborn baby’s cry makes my blood run cold. But, thankfully, we are not held captive to the past. The redemptive promise of God has the power to draw us out of yesterday’s pain and fear. So the Psalmists words… The Lord draws us out of treacherous waters and rescues us from a strong enemy.
After David’s birth, Angela and I were transferred to her recovery room when it was quite late. Sitting beside the baby’s isolette, we joined hands for a final prayer, to thank God for David. Perhaps because I had been reflecting on Psalm 18, they found expression in my prayer:
“O’ Lord, thank you for your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who came to this world as a baby and eventually shed his blood on our behalf so that we would be forgiven and embraced as children whom you love. We recognize that even Christ felt forsaken, exclaiming from the cross, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” But you did not leave him to languish in death. You raised him from the treacherous waters and seated him at your right hand. We therefore confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and that whatever might come we will find your grace to be sufficient.”
As I uttered the final words of our prayer, two nurses entered the room. They announced that they had received the test results sooner than they expected. A protracted pause followed and then the words, “normal.” “His blood seems to have clotted normally. Tomorrow’s results will provide definitive confirmation, but it looks promising.” Earlier today those results arrived and confirmed this diagnosis.
Praise God who is gracious beyond all we could ask or think. To him be the glory.