In, out, in, out. Inhale. Exhale. That’s it. Breathe through it.
Cheryl willed her body to relax even as the pain intensified. She’d made it this far. If only she could hold on. . . just a little longer.
A short blond-haired woman trotted into the room, beating the air with a clipboard.
“Mother’s maiden name?” she grunted.
“How do you spell that?”
“Hah. . . hah. . . pooh!” puffed Cheryl, too intent on breathing to supply a coherent response. She felt the wave reach a peak and then subside.
Cheryl took the pen and furiously scribbled her name upon the form, irritated at the woman’s asphyxiating insensitivity.
How much longer, God? I’m stretched to the breaking point, and all they do is torture me!
Just as another hill began to rise upon the monitor, a plump nurse came by to take Cheryl’s blood pressure. She pumped air into the cuff, then gradually released it in perfect harmony with the contraction.
“One twenty over seventy. Perfectly normal.”
Normal? Who cares about ‘normal’? Small comfort ‘normal’ gives you when you have nothing to look forward to.
The possibility of any complications had never entered her mind until that morning, when the doctor asked when was the last time she felt the baby move. This question took her by surprise. She gasped, unable to give an answer. Had it been minutes? Hours? Even days? And why did he want to know?
“I can’t find a heartbeat.”
The noxious blast of those earth-shattering words threatened to suffocate her even now. She felt her throat constrict.
Where is he? Oh where is he? Where is the one who promised to never leave me or forsake me?
Anxious footsteps pounded the corridor, as if in direct response to her unspoken prayer. Panting loudly, he staggered into the room and rushed to her side.
His words came out in short spurts. “I’m sorry, babe. . . Got here. . . soon as. . . I could. Took me. . . forty-five. . . minutes. . . to. . . park the car. . . fill out all those crazy papers. . . and hunt down this. . . little guy. . . Found him in the gift shop. . . Elevator’s out, so I ran. . . all the way up. . . three flights of steps. Give me. . . A moment. . . To catch my breath.”
Cheryl heaved a huge sigh of relief. What a refreshing breeze in the midst of all the mind fog!
He squeezed the stuffed animal, making it squeak. She smiled. Handing her the teddy bear, he said, “Don’t let a spirit of heaviness smother your joy. Take on the robe of praise, because with God all things are possible.”
With heartfelt love her husband pressed those words to Cheryl’s lips. As he did, a mighty wind of faith rushed into her lungs, pushing from her chest the heavy weight of doom and reviving her deflated spirits.
Breathe in faith, exhale doubt. Out with the old, in with the new.
Ten minutes later the babe came out, cold, blue and beautiful, the spitting image of his Daddy. If only he had lived!
Cheryl gulped back tears. The easy part was over. A far more difficult task remained.
“Come on, baby. Breathe! In Jesus’ name, breathe!”
Later that same day. . .
Some called it luck. Some called it chance. Others labeled it a faulty diagnosis on the part of an inept obstetrician. But all those present at his birth knew the truth. Twenty minutes after Cheryl pushed her stillborn son from the womb, God breathed into his body the precious breath of life.
The doctors were amazed. In response to this breath-taking miracle, several of them gave their hearts to Christ. Through faith they too inhaled the wondrous breath of life. And the lusty cries that sprang up from the nursery rose up in celebration.
This story has been brought to you by: Genesis 2:1; Psalm 50:23; Isaiah 61:3; Nehemiah 8:10; Mark 9:23; Luke 1:37; Acts 2:2; and Hebrews 13:5.
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