Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot uttered.
And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8
The nurse was gently holding my hand as she guided me across the room to where Gabriel lay in the warming bed. I was blinded by the torrents of tears that fell from my eyes and stained my shirt. As we came to the little enclosed bed she released my hand, and after handing me some tissue to wipe my eyes ,whispered, “go and ahead and hold his hand.”
As I held Gabriel’s small hand, and my tears dried, I was struck with how beautiful his head and face was. He was so much prettier than my first son who had been born some two years earlier and as a matter of fact he seemed to me, to be the most beautiful new born I had ever seen. Diminutive but, oh my, so perfectly formed. I spent a few minutes in prayer and quietly told Gabriel how much I loved him before the nurse said it was time to take him to the nursery where they would make him comfortable.
In all my years I had never felt so let down and confused as I had a few minutes earlier when Gabriel had first appeared from the birth canal. It was obvious God had not answered our prayers as I first gazed upon our baby. He was just so very small and so very quiet.
My wife, Cathy had unexpectedly begun to dilate two weeks earlier and after hearing the pessimistic prognosis and receiving some drugs from the physician she was instructed to go home and to bed with the slim hope that she might possibly carry the baby to full term. Full term meant four more months. We began to pray every day along with our church for a miracle and it seemed our faith grew stronger with each day that passed. Our pleadings with God turned into thanks for a healthy baby we knew was in the making. It was however, not to be.
Now two weeks after our visit with the doctor our hopes and seemingly our prayers had been dashed. After they wheeled Gabriel out to the nursery, I held my wife’s hand and we talked softly and shared our disappointment intermixed with a new flood of tears. After a bit they came to take Cathy to her room in the maternity ward and I went out to find a quiet corner in an adjoining hall. I had never felt such dark oppression since I had come to know Christ. I was bent low in my spirit as doubts of a loving and faithful God filled my soul. It seemed God’s consoling spirit was no where to be found when a brother from the church silently came into view.
It was my good friend Mike, and because he was a physician he was making his rounds at the hospital that evening. As our eyes met tearfully I cried out to him, “why?”. He said nothing but only laid his hand on my shoulder and prayed for a short moment in tongues, by the utterance of the Holy Spirit. Immediately the looming black clouds of depression left my mind and there was miraculous a bubbling new joy and hope that entered me. I immediately knew there was a fresh presence of God with Cathy, Gabriel and myself and his joy would somehow be expressed in this seemingly dire situation.
In the hours and days that followed my wife and I would come to marvel at God’s goodness and grace manifested toward us. An hour after Mike had prayed for me, Cathy and I were allowed to hold Gabriel for a few minutes and express our love to him. The staff made Gabriel comfortable in the remaining few hours he lived.
God continued to bless us the next few days as a mortician friend donated a small Styrofoam casket and another allowed me to wallpaper his bathroom in exchange for a small engraved headstone. The small burial was just amazing as a few close friends and family gathered to give praise for a little life that seemed so brief but yet so full in it’s expression of God’s blessed grace and love.
I will never forget the life changing power and love that was extended to us in the blackest of moments as a dear brother prayed in the tongues. Truly God’s Holy Spirit interceded and was exercised in groanings too deep ever be uttered.
Gabriel was certainly an angel like his namesake and he wonderfully shared God’s message of love with Cathy and myself.
Twenty three years after this miracle I love my Lord even more than ever,
Note: Two years after Gabriel’s birth, Cathy and I would be blessed with the arrival of a little girl, Erin. Cathy had the same problem with this pregnancy and was diagnosed with what is termed an “incompetent cervix.” She again began to abort in her mid trimester of pregnancy but through an amazing miracle her obstetrician caught it in just a nick of time and operated to sew her cervix closed. She was bedridden for five months and with much prayer and God’s enduring grace a healthy eight pound Erin was born. Today she is the apple of my eye and will be entering med school next year with hopes of a career in healing.