God Turned A Curse Into A Miracle

It was the day after Christmas. Our daughter Lesley was 6 months old. At the time she was the youngest of 5 children. My husband, a physician, had recently taken an interest in helping treat drug addicts in our area of New Jersey, and was doing some work at a local treatment program. He also had a private family practice.

So on this quiet day, after all the exuberance of the exciting holiday, I was sitting at my dining room table, taking a few moments to look through unopened Christmas cards that I had been too busy to read. In the meantime, my husband, five miles away, had just had an encounter with a drug addict who was an avowed satanist. We had been Christians for about 5 years or so at this time, and my husband began to witness Christ to this man, who took offense and said he was putting a curse on my husband, and said satan would cause great trouble for him that day. My husband rebuked him, and after the man left, my husband, who had planned to do several errands, began to feel very sick at his stomach and had to come home.

Our baby, Lesley, was in her playpen. She was showing signs of a cold, so I had made an appointment to take her to her doctor. I asked my oldest daughter who was 11, to bring me the baby so I could get her ready for the appointment. "Mom," she cried out," there's something wrong with the baby!" Lesley was limp and scarcely breathing. It seemed as though each breath would be her last!

Just then, my husband came into the house, and saw that it looked like the baby was dying, and said, "Let's go." I grabbed a blanket for her and we got into the car and headed to the nearest hospital about 5 miles away. Generally it was not a long trip in distance, but it was long because of a lot of traffic. We even drove partly on the wrong side of the road, racing against time. We prayed all the way to the hospital, begging God to spare her life, while I tried to breathe air into her mouth. Nothing changed.

When we arrived at the hospital, we ran into the emergency room, and the doctors grabbed her and began working on her. They were giving her oxygen, but still she remained limp and not responsive and would not begin to breathe on her own. We all stood around the examining table, when suddenly a mental picture of my father-in-law came into my mind!

My husband and I were still working out the intricacies of our Christian walk at this point. He had been raised Roman Catholic; I had been raised Methodist but had had a falling out with the church as a young adult as it failed to answer my questions about my faith. So at this point we were simply calling ourselves Christians with no other label. We attended a church and a weekly prayer meeting but we were not identifying ourselves by the denomination. We had also decided that we believed that baptism was to be done as a believing adult not as a baby. So unlike our older children, Lesley was not baptized. But when I had this picture of my husband's father deeply mourning this unbaptized baby, I blurted out to my husband, "She isn't baptized! Your father will not understand why!"

I did not really like my father-in-law. And it was me to whom God spoke, not to my husband. My father-in-law was nothing like my gentlemanly father, rather he was rough, tough, generally angry, and knew every swear and foul word in existence and probably invented a few. He also had some brain damage from a construction accident that limited his ability to think rationally and he often latched onto a topic and couldn't let go of it. I respected that he was my husband's father, but I did not respect the person.

Before we became Christians, my very Catholic in-laws prevailed in the area of having to have the children baptized right away. I had resentments about that because my family's feelings were completely ignored. They treated me as a second-class citizen in matters of religion. We were to raise the children Catholic and I had nothing to say about it or anything pertaining to it.

My husband was saved in 1966 at a retreat right before he went to Vietnam. I was saved after he returned. We were involved with the Catholic charismatic movement at its earliest stages in the Philadelphia area, but the leadership of the group was not particularly open to Protestants being involved - God forbid that one might take communion! Eventually we left that group and, with some friends, established a non-denominational group in NJ. When my husband left the Catholic church and became a Methodist, his whole family blamed me! I guess in their eyes, I went from no power to ultimate power.

So it was the strangest thing for me to entertain in my mind at this awful moment -how my father-in-law would feel! It flashed through my mind also that 11 months earlier my 11 year old nephew died in an awful accident and how my father-in-law was so angry at the driver of the car who hit him on his bike, and how the anger never seemed to leave him. He ranted on and on. The fact that our baby Lesley was unbaptized had no significance to her salvation in either my husband's or my eyes, but I became instantly aware that it would add much pain for this man. And for God to place this thought in my mind at this moment was totally outside my reality. I didn't even think to hesitate and the words just came out.

So upon hearing my words, the staff in the Catholic hospital was horrified, and said they would call a priest. My husband said, "no, I will do it," and immediately got a cup of water from the sink and poured it over her head, baptizing her in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Then the most amazing thing happened -- Lesley came back to life -- breathing normally and wanting to be held and hugged! Everyone in the room was just stunned -- including us!

In all, they kept her in the hospital for about 10 days. The doctors suspected all kinds of terrible diseases including SIDS, Cystic Fibrosis, Leukemia and a few others, but all tests were negative and I took home a normal healthy child!

A few months later, my husband and I and our older children were baptized by immersion. While we still believed that we were to be baptized as believing adults, we knew that God had worked a miracle of healing in an infant baptism - to touch the heart of a bitter man.

Baptizing our baby in that hospital had been an involuntary and automatic act of obedience for me, and Dick had just jumped right in as soon as the words were out of my mouth. It became a witness of the power of God and the leading of God in desperate circumstances. And obedience, especially when one does not at all understand why God would direct in such an unusual way, always leads to unexpected blessing and in this case, an actual miracle.

There were people who worked in the ER who came up to Lesley's hospital room each day during the time she was an inpatient, because they had been witnesses to a miracle. Years later when we moved to Maine and I was working at a local hospital, I met a doctor who had been working in that same emergency room in NJ the same day we brought in our dying daughter, and he remembered the event and brought it up to me, saying he was still amazed by it!

Sandy C

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