Pastor Laurie Barnes writes:
Late last December, a member of our church asked if one of our pastors could visit his grand-daughter Sarah (not her real name) in the hospital. Sarah, 6 years old, had been diagnosed with a form of meningitis shortly after Christmas. In addition to the meningitis, she had some other medical issues that complicated her treatment. I started visiting Sarah every Monday morning on my way into work. Sarah was always curled in a ball on her bed and attached to numerous tubes. She always looked very small curled on the bed. Nominally my visits were to Sarah but I actually spent most of my time in prayer and caring conversation with Sarah’s parents Melissa and Kevin (not their real names). One or the other of them was always present with Sarah and, as the weeks went on, they started to age before my eyes. How emotionally challenged they were as week after week there appeared to be little or no change in Sarah’s condition.
The Monday before Palm Sunday was particularly disheartening. Melissa said Sarah still was not talking and they had no idea how much longer the hospital would keep her. Melissa and I agreed that in the week to come, we would pray for “progress” for Sarah. As I was leaving the hospital that day, I felt my knees buckle and had to sit on the couch in the lobby for a few minutes to recover myself. As I sat, I cried for Sarah and her family and prayed for progress for Sarah. A person crying in the lobby of a hospital must not be an unusual occurrence because no one, staff or volunteer, asked me if they could help. After a while, I felt that I had “prayed through” and was strong enough to go on to my car.
The following Thursday, I received an e-mail from Sarah’s grandfather telling of Sarah’s miraculous turn-around. Apparently by Thursday, Sarah was sitting up in bed, talking and singing and wanting to go for a walk down the hall. I couldn’t wait for the next Monday to go visit Sarah and see for myself. Sure enough, she was sitting in bed talking to her stuffed animals when I arrived. Melissa and Kevin looked rested and happy for the first time in months and months. Sarah was going to be released and would be at home for Easter. She still had a journey ahead of her for full recovery but she was going to be able to be cared for at home. After we prayed and as I was leaving, Sarah blew me a kiss and said, “I love you!” What a joyous day that was! It was the day that we all saw God’s answer to all of our prayers for “progress” for Sarah.