This morning I was at work, about to go into our regular Monday morning planning meeting, when an unfamiliar number flashed on my cellphone. On the other end of the line was a woman from Bakersfield, calling on behalf of a friend. She explained that the friend’s four-year-old was in the intensive care unit at CHOC, with fluid in his tiny lungs and an irregular heartbeat. Was there someone, she wondered, who might be willing to go to the hospital and give the child a blessing? I knew there was and did my best to reassure her that we would have someone at the ICU shortly.
Immediately I called the hospital to speak with the mother of the boy. Too shaken to talk, she handed the phone to a daughter who gave me the full background on the situation: The boy was in town visiting Knott’s Berry Farm with another family. He had no history of health problems. He had collapsed and had to be revived. The hospital now had him sedated and on a ventilator while they worked to drain his lungs. Terrifying.
As you would imagine, the anxiety, fear, and emotion were palpable as she described the shocking phone call that summoned the family from the Central Valley just hours before. As a parent, it was not hard for me to feel some of that same anxiety myself as we talked. I’ve had some experience in the past with families fighting for the life of a child hundreds of miles from home. My heart ached.
As I considered their plight, my mind flashed to the life of Christ. I thought of the young man, sick since childhood, who gnashed and foamed and thrashed about uncontrollably. Beyond hope, his father finally came to Jesus. “If thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us,” the father said. The Lord responded, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”
Those terms were almost more than the desperate father could bear. Through tears he offered what little faith he could muster: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:22-24). Of course, that meager faith was plenty for the One whose grace is sufficient to heal all that befalls us. The tormented young man was cured on the spot.
And what of Jairus, one of the rulers of the synagogue, whose only daughter lay dying? He fell at the Master’s feet and “besought him greatly” on behalf of the girl. His circumstances were perhaps even more grave than those of the father of the demoniac, for Jairus’ daughter died before Jesus could arrive at her bedside. Nevertheless, once inside the home, the Savior took the girl by the hand and restored her to life (Mark 5:21-43).
The mother of the boy at CHOC no doubt felt the selfsame longing for divine assistance. And thus she turned to those authorized to act on behalf of the Master Healer. Within a couple of hours, Bro. Miller and Bro. Fisher, two high priests from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, were at her side. Invoking their Holy Priesthood, they placed hands on the head of the ailing boy, and with simple words pronounced a blessing in the name of Christ.
Several hours later, I called the boy’s sister to check on his condition. Her tone was completely different. Her brother had improved so markedly that they had removed the ventilator, withdrawn the sedatives. The boy was alert in bed, improved so vastly and so quickly that several doctors had gathered in his room to consider his remarkable case. His recovery was unprecedented. It seemed miraculous.
And yet it makes all the sense in the world.