Four babies had been born to church families in one week! Now, a month later, at Sunday service, four sets of parents stood at the front of the church joyfully holding their little ones, and the pastor read aloud the story of Hannah dedicating her son Samuel to God, and the story of Mary and Joseph bringing little Jesus to the temple to dedicate him. Then, one by one, the pastor lovingly took each child in his arms and prayed for them, asking God to protect and nurture them, and to help each parent to raise their new baby to love and serve the Lord. Finally, he came to baby number four, our son, Peter.
Holding Peter in his arms, the pastor again prayed, but as he prayed something unexpected happened. Reaching the final words of the dedication prayer, he suddenly spoke these words: “This child, Peter, will grow up to become a mighty preacher like his namesake, Peter, in the Bible.” As the words ended, the pastor stopped, and his mouth hung open. He looked surprised, almost shocked. Clearly, the words were not planned, nor expected. There was silence in the church. Finally, the pastor passed the baby back to us and said, “Amen.” The silence was broken, and the service continued. Yet we, Peter’s parents, knew that this could only be a word from God. After five daughters – four of our own, plus our niece who had come to live with us -- God had given us a son – and a precious promise!
Two weeks later, again on a Sunday, we were preparing for church, when I noticed that Peter’s little hand was swollen. I called my husband, who noticed that there was a small red mark, which looked like a spider bite. He suggested that I should stay home with Peter, while he took our five daughters to church. But when they arrived home an hour and a half later, Peter’s little hand was round like a ball. I could never have imagined that a hand could swell like that. It looked ready to burst. And a thin red line was inching its way up his arm. I had seen that before – when my brother had blood poisoning!
My husband quickly called a babysitter, and we rushed Peter to the hospital. The emergency room was busy and we were given a “number.” As we sat there, the minutes crawled by, and the red line went higher up Peter’s arm. He grew red and his body grew hot. I went to the nurses’ desk, and after taking one look at him, they sent us right into the emergency ward. There was only one doctor there, and she was sitting drinking coffee. The nurse said, “This is a real emergency.” The doctor replied, “I’m waiting for a phone call from a specialist, and they’ll just have to wait.” She continued to sit and drink coffee, for another half hour. I begged her to look at the baby, but she refused.
By this time the line was up into his armpit and heading down toward his heart. He was burning up, his skin pale, and his little body limp. Finally, another doctor wandered through the emergency ward. I rushed up to him, and begged him, “Please look at my baby.” He replied, “But I’m not on duty. You have to wait for the duty doctor.” I cried out, “I’ve been here so long and she refuses to check the baby. I think he has blood poisoning!” Quickly, he looked at Peter. Then he dashed over and pressed a button on the wall, and a loud beeper went off. Doctors and nurses came rushing into the emergency ward through all the doors. Trolleys loaded with equipment were rolled out. Peter was taken from my arms, placed on a cot, and surrounded by medical staff. (The lady doctor continued to sit and drink coffee!)
Finally, the doctor who had set off the alarm came over, and asked us to sit down. “How old is your baby? Do you have other children?” As we answered, he said gravely, “Your son is very ill. We do not have an intensive-care nursery here, so we can’t give him medication intravenously. We can try to give him oral antibiotics, but he is so sick that it is doubtful that he will be able to swallow them. We will try to slip them into his mouth as you nurse him. We will have to give him very large amounts, in hopes that he might swallow some. We cannot move him, even by helicopter, to another hospital, because any more movement will drive the blood poisoning right into his heart and he will die. I am very sorry, but there is a very strong chance that your son will not make it.”
Devastating words! We finally had a son, and God had given such a wonderful promise! Because of complications with the pregnancy, I could not have another child. It seemed that the enemy was doing all he could to destroy God’s purposes and plans. But of course, God is stronger. One of the men of the church had gone home for lunch, and God clearly spoke to him, “Pray for that Hill baby!” He didn’t even remember Peter’s first name, but obediently he prayed, all afternoon. Then he went to the evening service, and had the whole church pray. Meantime, at the hospital, the medical staff were doing all they could, but it still looked hopeless. They asked me to stay at the hospital, to try and get Peter to nurse, so they could get some meds into him. Finally, late at night, I fell asleep exhausted.
Monday morning came, and I woke, wondering if my precious baby was even still alive. But he was! Not only was he alive, but the swelling in his hand was gone, and the red line had almost totally disappeared! He started nursing well, and the doctors finally got some medicine into him. And on Tuesday morning, we took him home, totally fine! The doctors told us, “This is nothing but a miracle!”
But the story does not end there. For again, about two weeks later, Peter was sick. He had developed severe conjunctivitis, and antibiotics weren’t doing anything. His eyes were completely, thickly covered with pus, and there was so much of it, that even his cheeks were constantly covered, as it just seemed to pour from his eyes. His eyes, themselves, could not even be seen. Again it was Sunday. We took him to church, and when the pastor asked if anyone had prayer requests, we asked to have him anoint Peter and pray for him. We took him to the front. The pastor anointed him with oil, and then prayed a simple prayer. I was watching, and the very moment the pastor said, “Amen,” the pus literally fell off Peter’s eyes and off the area below his eyes. His lower cheeks were thickly coated, but his eyes and all the area around them were perfectly clear. He was happily looking around and smiling! I grabbed a Kleenex and wiped his cheeks off. And he never, ever had even a speck of pus in his eyes again! Our mighty God had again overcome the attacks of the enemy! Praise His name! And to this very day, over and over, I have seen our wonderful Lord taking care of our son who is now 17, and I totally believe that one day the promise of God given at Peter’s dedication will be fulfilled! Praise God! Thank You, Lord! Amen!
Date May 13, 2007
My name is Norma. I'm married to Lionel. We have 5 kids - Taryn, Sarah, Robyn, Wendy and Peter, and one grandchild, Tony. At the moment, I am teaching French and Home Economics at a Christian School. I also enjoy writing, reading, facilitating Christian study groups, exercise, gardening, playing guitar, and a multitude of other interests.
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