I’ve heard this verse many times. I’ve even memorized this chapter at camp. But when I read through it last Sunday, I wondered at this verse. How can strength be ordained? So I looked up “ordained”. It means “appointed.” Then I wondered, How can God be appointed strength from babies who can say nothing? One commentator said that it was because God’s strength is made evident in our weakness. This made some sense but I still wondered at the meaning of it. And this I pondered off-and-on throughout the next two days.
Then Tuesday morning happened. A call from the front gate said that a couple was wanting to bring their baby up to the clinic—he had a stiff neck and couldn’t talk. Well, most babies can’t talk so we asked if he was breathing.
“Oh, yes, he’s breathing. He just can’t talk.”
“Ok. Bring him up.”
They arrived as the doctor did. He was about to show them into the waiting room when he suddenly saw the baby and thought, “Oh, this is not good.” I was screening patients when the doctor came rushing into the clinic, saying, “We need to clear this area right now. We have an emergency—a baby’s having seizures.” The patients I had been talking to quietly excused themselves to the waiting room as the scared parents came walking uncertainly into the room with their young baby in his father’s arms and laid him on the bed. He was in constant evident seizure activity causing labored, barely adequate breathing and not very responsive though still awake. Dad said that this had already been going on for about half an hour. We began monitoring him closely, attempted to get an IV in, administered the few meds prescribed for his age that we could give and prepared for intubation should his breathing worsen, all the while praying that God would keep him breathing and stop the seizures. But the seizures did not stop and he was tiring. The doctor decided that it was time to head to the hausik—they had the medication that the baby needed to stop his seizures and they are excellent at starting pediatric IVs.
I scooped him up in my arms and headed out to the van, the doctor trailing us with the oxygen tank and the other nurse following. Through the car ride into town, I kept my hand on his little chest so as to monitor his breathing. He was fighting so hard, his little muscles so tense and spasming, his little lungs fighting to pull air in, and we all prayed that we wouldn’t have to pull over to intubate, that he would keep breathing on his own. He became less responsive and more flaccid, his seizing became weaker. About a third of the way there, I suddenly wasn’t feeling him pull much air in. I asked the doctor to listen. “Yes. He’s still moving some air,” was his answer but we didn’t know for how much longer. When the car pulled up to the hospital, we were ready. The doctor jumped out and grabbed the oxygen tank, I followed with the baby still in my arms, my hand on his chest, followed by the other nurse and the boy’s parents. After a brief check for the ER doctor, we announced to the nurse there that we were heading to the Pediatric ward and took off down the hallway only to find the half-door locked due to recent unrest surrounding the elections. However, a nurse soon heard our pounding and yelling and quickly admitted us before going off to grab the needed medication.
Laying him down on the treatment table in the exam room, I heard him begin to fuss a little! “Thank you, Lord!” I thought. “Please keep him breathing!” The nurse returned immediately with the medication. She poked the shot in and he began to cry—a real, honest, loud cry! I almost broke down crying myself when I heard him. I remember leaning over him saying, “Mi hamamas mi harim yu cry.” (“I am so happy to hear you cry.”) His mother looked a little confused by my statement but I didn’t care. If he could cry he was awake, aware and breathing! Within seconds his seizing stopped and his chest relaxed and he began to take full, deep, easy breaths! I couldn’t get over how different his little chest felt. God had freed his breathing!
Without a history of seizures in this child, the most probable cause was severe infection leading to encephalitis. The doctor quietly said that it was not likely that the child would survive even though his seizing had stopped. He was still a very sick little boy.
We left then, relieved to have heard him cry and to leave him in the care of others better prepared to treat him, but with heavy hearts, not sure what the next 24 hours would bring for him and his parents. I could not get over the difference I felt in his little chest. Throughout the whole ordeal I (and the others!) had been praying nonstop. I felt full assurance that God had heard me and complete, full peace that God was in control and, as He is always good, would do what was best no matter the outcome. And then to feel that chest loosen and him breathing freely, hearing him cry—that was one of the best gifts God has ever given me. I know that my God hears me. How awesome is that?!
Finding myself at the hausik again the next evening, I was able to look in on our little baby and his mom. I wondered if they would still be there, if he was even still alive. When I first saw her, she was sitting up resting against the wall with a small uncertain smile on her face and was not holding the baby. I thought, “He must still be very sick and laying on the bed beside her.” But as I got closer I saw the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life—a bouncing baby boy who gave me his biggest toothless smile, eyes sparkling, before giggling and rolling playfully away! God had spared him and healed him! They were going home the next day!
That is what Psalms 8:2 means. Through the weakness and helplessness of an infant God can prove Himself stronger than any enemy—stronger than sickness, infection, seizures and death. He is, after all, God.