A Fighting Chance
By Dixie Phillips
My husband and I were overjoyed at the birth of our second child. John Drake Phillips weighed in at 8 pounds 10 ounces and was born with a black eye--our "heavyweight fighter" we joked. Ironically, in just a few days our little champion faced a fight for his very life.
Baby John awoke the morning of his two-week birthday in distress. He was whimpering like a sick puppy, so I went to his crib to see what was wrong. I couldn't get him to open his eyes.
Picking him up, I tried to get him to nurse, without success. The entire time his eyes were tightly closed and he continued his high-pitched whine. I rushed him to the doctor's office where I was advised to go immediately to the hospital. Our baby was admitted. My husband and I were in shock. What happened? How did our healthy son get so sick?
After several tests, a pediatrician met with us. He was very somber as he gave the diagnosis: bacterial spinal meningitis. John could die.
The doctor said John probably picked up a bug in the delivery room that over the previous two weeks infiltrated his entire system. Our hearts beat wildly. It felt like we were in the middle of a bad dream. The doctor went on to explain that if John's fever broke, he might have a chance.
Over the next twelve days, my husband and I took turns spending the night at the hospital. Our two-year-old daughter didn't understand why she had to be separated from us, and we tried to keep life as normal as possible for her.
For days the fever continued to rage in John's limp body. The evening of the seventh day I stood by his bed and whispered in his little ear, "Don't give up, baby. Don't give up." My spirit cried out to his, "Keep fighting, John. Your daddy and mommy love you so much."
I was not allowed to hold my baby, so I pumped breast milk in hopes that he would eat it. As I sat in the hospital room, a nurse turned the television to The 700 Club. A gospel group was singing a song.
How sweet to hold a newborn baby.
And feel the pride and joy he gives.
But greater still the calm assurance,
This child can face uncertain days,
Because He lives.
Because He lives I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because He lives.¹
I can't explain what happened during that song, but I started crying uncontrollably. I knew I was no longer alone in that hopeless place. The Presence of God had come into the room. As if the musicians were physically in the room with me, one of the singers stopped the song and said she had a Word from the Lord for some young mother watching the program.
"There's a newborn baby boy who is very sick in the hospital," she said.
I sat there stunned as she continued, "The walls of the hospital room are green."
I looked at the hospital walls. They were green. I couldn't believe my ears. She went on to describe how the crib was under a window - exactly like John's crib.
"The doctors told you that your little boy might not live, but God wants you to know that this sickness is not unto death. Your baby is going to live."
The group went on to finish the song. As they sang the final chorus, a peace swept over me, and I knew John was going to live. I knew God was going to heal my little boy.
I crossed the room to his crib and felt his forehead. He still had a high fever, but I raised my hands to Heaven anyway and began to thank God for healing my son. I knew I was standing on holy ground and that God was granting a miracle to my family.
In the middle of the night John's fever broke.
"John has had a high fever several days." The doctor said the next morning. "He is going to live, but he might have brain damage."
Amazingly, my heart stayed peaceful at the announcement. No fear, no what ifs terrorized my soul. I had experienced a visit from Heaven, and I knew that John was healed. Five days later we took our baby boy home, completely whole.
Twenty-six years have passed, and we still reminisce about the day Jesus visited our baby in that green hospital room and healed him. We are convinced that without God's supernatural touch from Heaven, our little boy wouldn't have had a fighting chance--even though he was born with a black eye.
¹ Because He Lives, Words: Gloria and William Gaither
© 1971 Gaither Music Company/Kingsway Music
DIXIE PHILLIPS is a pastor's wife of 30 years, mother of four grown children and a ghostwriter. You can find out more about the ministry she and her husband Paul are involved in at www.floydlighthouse.com. Many of her writings have been published by Standard Publishing, Abingdon Press and Eldridge Publishing. If you would like to write to Dixie, you can do so through the Letters page of this magazine.