Verse of the Day

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."

~John 20:31

Today's Devotional Thought

June 03, 2015 by Rachel Piferi



It was a normal Tuesday morning. Well, as normal as our Tuesdays were in the Spring of 2008. We seemed to have settled into a new normal of three times a week fetal testing and constant prayer and waiting. We were nearing our due date and were anticipating that our new normal routine of the Spring of 2008 was about to change drastically.

We knew change was coming, as it always does when you are expecting a baby, but we just didn't know what that change was going to look like.

And we certainly did not know a miracle was coming.

And not just coming. But coming THAT. VERY. DAY.

I can remember it like it was yesterday...

It was a normal Tuesday morning OB appointment. We put our oldest on the school bus to go to school and we drove our second oldest to her preschool for a day of coloring and tag and learning. After we dropped her off, we drove into the city from our house in the Baltimore suburbs. It was about a 30 minute drive on the interstate. A drive that my husband and I knew very well as we both worked on that Johns Hopkins campus. I can remember thinking, as we drove into the hospital, how different that drive felt as a patient. I drove to that campus so many times as an employee for research meetings or classes or meetings. But that day {and many days that springtime}, I drove in as a patient.

So often, as I made that drive, I thought of the others who came from near and far to Johns Hopkins to get the best medical treatment around. I remember looking at people in the halls of the hospital or in the elevator just wondering what they were dealing with. Wondering what ailment or illness or condition brought them to our hospital campus in East Baltimore. Did they feel hope? Did they feel hopeless?

So many people.

So many stories.

So much need for hope.

Johns Hopkins had valet parking service for patients which was a very nice respite to us. We were enduring the worse medical issue of our lives with the pregnancy of our third child and the last thing we wanted to worry about each time we drove to an appointment at Hopkins was where to park in East Baltimore. It really is the little things sometimes...

As we did so many times before that June 3rd morning, we pulled up to the curb, left the car running, and took our valet slip from the young man standing on the curb. He smiled gently as he went to get in our car.

Oh the people and stories he must see each day...

We entered the elevator and my mind reflected on the months we had spent in this hospital. The countless times we had ridden this elevator to various floors to meet with different specialists. The endless testing we'd had in that hospital. The advice we'd been given. The warnings and admonitions and cautions we'd received. All because they had to. It is their job after know, to prepare you for the worst. Heaven forbid you experience the worst without being prepared for it, warned about it, cautioned.

I know it looked really bleak.

But all I wanted was a little hope...hope that seemed to evade us each time we rode that elevator to meet with someone.

The doors of the elevator opened that June morning and we stepped out. We had been told in a recent appointment that our precious little baby was actually doing really well in utero and that they didn't even need to see her any more before she was born {which was scheduled for a week from that very day}. They were pleased with the progress she had made in utero, but they remained so concerned about her kidneys and her lungs. They were never able to see her kidneys on the ultrasound. And, there was no way they could test her lungs with the technology available at the time. Because of all of the problems she had early in her pregnancy, they told us that her lungs would likely be impaired. How badly impaired, was the question that remained. The question that would only be answered when she made her exit from the safe home inside of me and into the cold, cruel world that would require she breathe on her own. They just didn't know if she'd be able to breathe on her own...and whether it would be so bad that they couldn't even help her.

As they hooked me up to the fetal monitoring, we began to get some suspicion that this June morning, our little baby was acting differently than she had been. After some closer investigation and a little "behind the curtain" consultation, the nurse moved us to a room where they could monitor me more extensively. We quickly learned that I was having contractions and the baby's heart rate was dipping from time to time. She appeared to be experiencing bits of distress, although not super serious.

And after a couple of hours of monitoring and a couple of phone calls to friends to pick our other two kids from their schools, the nurses and doctors began prepping me for surgery. The surgery we had been praying for and anticipating for months. In the words of the nurse, "This little one is making her arrival today."

And as I heard those words, my head and heart began spinning with the words of prayers I had uttered for months. Prayers that filled the dark nights of waiting. Prayers that no one but Jesus heard when my heart was so afraid of what the future was going to hold. Prayers both pleading the Lord for a miracle and at the same time, fully submitting to whatever it was that he deemed best. Prayers begging him to just carry us through the days and nights of uncertainty that laid ahead of us and prayers asking him to flood us with his grace to walk the journey he had before us.

A journey that was taking a turn on June 3rd and becoming our present reality.

After months of waiting, it was time to walk what God had planned.

On a normal morning after a normal nighttime in the middle of an agonizing season, we were about to walk into a miracle {to read more about the miracle, please read "Isabella's Story" on the "About the Miracle" page}.

A miracle that took my breath away on that June 3rd and continues to take my breath away on every June 3rd after it. A miracle that, in the words of the Disciple John, changed me from a follower of Jesus to a disciple "who truly believed in Him" (John 2:11 [emphasis mine]).

There is truly not any way that I could fully articulate how Isabella's birth changed me. Her birth was a miracle in every sense of the word. Much like Jesus healed the blind man or the woman who was bent over or the woman with the issue of blood, He healed my Bella. He gave her life when the experts said she would not live. He formed her kidneys when no kidneys existed halfway through the pregnancy. He perfectly formed her lungs when they should have been severely impaired.

He gave her life.

And in giving her life, he also gave me life.

When I think about this miracle in my life, I think about a couple of verses in the Gospel of John where John explains the purpose of his writings. In Chapter 20, right after he describes the resurrection of Jesus, John writes the following:

"Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." (v. 30-31)

When we got pregnant with Isabella in the fall of 2007, we had no idea the journey ahead of us. We had no idea how we would see the signs of the Lord. We had no idea how we would experience him. How we would experience his comfort and sustaining grace. How we would see him work through our friends and family in carrying our burden in those months. How we would experience his strength and endurance through months of agonizing waiting. How we would experience his power over death.

And when we stepped into an elevator that Tuesday morning, we had no idea a miracle was about to be revealed to us that day. And that because of it, our lives would be changed forever.

On a normal Tuesday morning in a really hard season, Jesus revealed his plan (or at least the first step in his plan). A glorious plan that we would not have experienced had we given up when things looked really hopeless.

Sweet friends, if you are in a season of hopelessness, may I encourage you to endure. To keep seeking the face of the Lord. To keep praying and listening. To keep believing in the sustaining, comforting, strengthening, sovereign, all powerful, Redeemer who can take your worst season and use it for his glorious, eternal purpose (Romans 8:28). Who through those seasons of waiting and praying, can show you a side of himself {when you seek him} that will bring you everlasting hope.

Who through the miracles he does in your heart and your life and in your situation can help you believe and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20:31).

The Lord still preforms many signs and wonders and miracles. Sometimes he does them through physical healing. Sometimes he does them through emotional healing. Oftentimes he does them in ways that we do not expect. And he does them today for the same reason he did them thousands of years ago....

So that you may believe in him.

And that by believing, you may have life in his name.

Believe today sweet friends.

Believe in miracles.

Believe Jesus Christ is who he says he is and that he can do what he says he can do.

Believe in the goodness of his glorious plan {whatever form it may take} and your place in it.

Believe. Just believe...

Memorize this verse today:

"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
~John 20:31

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