16: The Healing Hand of God

16: The Healing Hand of God

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles

The Healing Hand of God

The prayer that begins with trustfulness and passes on into waiting will always end in thankfulness, triumph, and praise.

~Alexander Maclaren

My husband and I had agreed to a weekend camping trip with our good friends, Doug and Kathy, fellow youth leaders from our church. Our three young children were just as excited about time at the beach as we adults. We had a great time swimming during the day and at night we decided to gather around a campfire.

We edged our lawn chairs closer to the fire pit as a chill settled over the day. While we were talking and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on long sticks, I realized that our four-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, had wiggled her chair too close to the fire. I opened my mouth to instruct her to move back when the unthinkable happened. The chair tipped forward, dumping her onto the ground at the edge of the pit. She dropped onto a bed of smouldering coals.

All four adults reached for her. My husband and I grabbed her and ran to the nearby water tap. My first thought was to douse her smoking shorts. I hadn’t considered the possibility of burns—until I saw her feet. Blisters swelled like balloons filled with water. Our daughter wailed out her pain. Adrenaline took over as we hustled to our vehicle. We covered Elizabeth’s burns with a clean towel and, leaving our older children with Doug and Kathy, headed for the hospital in the nearby town.

“She has second- and third-degree burns on her feet and her hip.” I wanted to cry for this innocent child who wept out pain she didn’t understand. “You’ll want to take her to your family doctor to keep an eye on them.”

We headed home where Doug and Kathy waited with our other two girls. Elizabeth sat quietly in the car with me, her feet swaddled in white gauze, the burn medicine giving her temporary relief.

The next day we rented a small wheelchair. Our doctor informed us that Elizabeth would be off her feet for a few months and would likely undergo skin grafting. By Wednesday, an infection set in and Elizabeth’s temperature soared. That evening, she hallucinated, experiencing an imaginary card game of Go Fish. We headed to the hospital again.

A child should never have to endure debriding. It is a painful process where the burnt skin is removed. Anaesthetic is useless since the nerves in the burned tissue are damaged. For the next week, our little girl underwent the removal of the decaying tissue while I held her and prayed for God to give us a miracle.

I was supposed to go to a women’s retreat two weeks after our camping weekend. I called our group organizer and told her why I had to cancel. “Pray for Elizabeth. She’s in so much pain. Pray for healing.”

Unknown to us, that request went to the retreat leadership team. While the ladies from our church began their adventure in the Muskoka woods, I made daily trips to the doctor to have the bandages changed and new medication applied. Standing behind Elizabeth’s chair, I waited patiently while new gauze and tape covered wicked wounds and I prayed. I prayed that God would heal our daughter and that he would use this moment in time to show his love.

Saturday morning came and I headed out into the countryside to our doctor’s home. He’d been very concerned about the infection and insisted that the bandages be changed daily. Sunday morning showed no improvement in Elizabeth’s feet. We went to church as a family, her little red wheelchair carrying her down the aisle. She played quietly until the service finished and we headed home. That evening, the phone rang and I made my way to the kitchen to answer it.

“The whole group prayed for Elizabeth.” Our group organizer’s voice hummed with excitement. “It was something. Over 200 women gathered together praying for a miracle. I can’t wait to see what God will do.”

Monday morning brought a warm September sun and the girls and I climbed into the van and headed to the doctor’s house. He’d warned me the day before that he would not be in the office until Tuesday and to come to his house. We pulled up the long drive and parked. Lifting Elizabeth into her wheelchair, I instructed her sisters to remain in their seatbelts until I called them. I turned toward the porch and spied the doctor coming down the walkway.

“And how’s my patient today?”

Elizabeth grinned and waited while he squatted before her and unwrapped her feet. I watched from my place behind the chair, the prayer for healing running through my mind. My heart lurched as his expression sobered. What was wrong? Were her feet worse? Had the infection spread?

“I don’t understand.” The words came out in a slight stutter.

I locked the chair brakes and moved to the front, leaning over the doctor’s shoulder. There in his hand rested one of Elizabeth’s feet, the skin beautiful and fresh and pink. Not a mark marred the skin that had been a pucker of scorched flesh the day before. I laughed—a single, shocked chuckle — and he glanced up at me, his eyes frightened.

“I guess that’s what happens when 200 women ask God for healing.” The words slipped from my mouth and I watched the fear turn to confusion.

“If that’s what you want to believe.”

I laughed again, this time in amazement. “Do you have a better explanation?”

The doctor shook his head and tried to pull on the mantle of professionalism. “I guess we don’t need any more bandaging. Bring her in a week from now and I’ll check it over again.” I thanked him as he turned and headed for his house.

We sang songs as we drove home and then I spent the morning watching Elizabeth chase her sisters around the yard. Two weeks. She had suffered for two weeks and I pondered all that her suffering had accomplished. Because of it, our family’s faith grew, a doctor saw the healing hand of God and 200 strangers learned the importance of prayer.

~Donna Fawcett

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