Sometimes, you get to a low place where all you can do is hum a familiar tune. On this occasion, Lhorraine and I were there. We both sat in bed staring at the slightly opened closet door in front of us. My wife’s wet cheek rested against my shoulder as I turned my attention to my tablet’s screen. I had been nervously scrolling through my apps for about four minutes. I didn’t know what to do, and the moment was definitely not calling for conversation. I had opened my iPad to begin reading scripture, but repeatedly swiping from left-to-right and then right-to-left was as far as I had gotten. I didn’t want to read. I didn’t want to pray. I didn’t want to cry. I didn’t want to sit still. I wanted to scream. And just when my composure was about to erupt, my eye caught an app that I had forgotten about. I pressed the Music icon and opened my Hymnal App.
Hymns have an uncanny ability to calm the raging emotions of the soul. They contain antidepressant properties, void of any pharmaceutical side-effects. The chemistry between a hymn’s lyrics and its melody make for an inseparable union–a healing potion. And we needed the relief. So I kept crooning familiar hymns until one hymn stopped my humming…it was so apropos that it caused my heart to quicken and my breath to shorten. I couldn’t believe it. The second verse of this hymn was embarrassingly close to my situation:
“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.”
Where did this stanza come from, and why hadn’t I noticed these lines before? I have often heard senior members reprimand song leaders for not singing all stanzas of a hymn; however, I never saw much merit in the argument…until now.
I had heard the 1971 Gaither-classic hundreds of times, but I had never noticed this second stanza. Honestly, I really only knew the chorus. “Because He Lives, I can face tomorrow…and life is worth the living just because He lives.” But on this stressful evening, the forgotten (and oftentimes disregarded) stanza of this hymn arrested my attention with brute force. My captivation was so complete that I missed the moment when Lhorraine drifted off to sleep. I turned to show her my newly discovered omen, but upon noticing her peaceful breathing, I could not bring myself to wake her. So I just remained still, basking in the encouraging glow of my smart screen.
Here is Jesher’s current medical report:
LIVER–Jesher is being tested for liver complications due to his inability to produce his own blood platelets. He did receive another blood transfusion to help him in the interim; however, doctors are wanting Jesher to graduate from needing periodic blood or platelet transfusions. To do this, Jesher’s liver needs to produce an enzyme that triggers the production of blood platelets. The test will let us know if the lack of platelets is being caused by a liver-development issue or being caused by the TPN fluids [Total parenteral nurtrition] given to help Jesher’s nutritional values (which is known to slow the enzyme production of the liver). PLEASE ASK YAHWEH TO STRENGTHEN JESHER’S LIVER SO THAT HE CAN RELEASE THE ENZYMES NEEDED FOR HEALTHY BLOOD PRODUCTION.
LUNGS–Jesher’s lungs are improving at an amazing rate. The improvement is so noticeable that the doctors are considering extubating him late this week or early next week. At that time, he will most likely be transitioned to a CPAP [Continuous Positive Airway Pressure] machine. Seeing Jesher relieved of his breathing tube would be amazing, but we don’t want this transition to happen before Jesher is ready (the last thing we want is for him to be extubated only to be intubated once again). PLEASE ASK THE LORD TO KNIT JESHER’S LUNGS TOGETHER WITH DIVINE PERFECTION, MAKING A WAY FOR JESHER TO BREATH WELL WITHOUT THE NEED FOR A VENTILATOR.
WEIGHT–Jesher is now 32 weeks and 3 days old [2lbs 7ounces / 15 inches long]. We are so excited to see Jesher making his way towards 33 weeks old! And we need him to receive a special gift for his 33rd week celebration–we need him to gain weight : ) PLEASE ASK GOD TO GROW JESHER LIKE HE GROWS THE TREES…ASK HIM TO BLESS JESHER WITH SOME HEALTHY BABY FAT!
I fell asleep with “Because He Lives” echoing in my mind. Specifically, I continued to hear the melody of the second stanza as if God was singing me a lullaby. As in times past, another hymn had soothed my discouragement and successfully resolved the inflammation of my emotions. I slept well that night–primarily due to the renewed assurance I found in the second stanza of hymn #526: “This child can face uncertain days because He lives.”
I claim this promise on behalf of our son (in the name of Jesus). Amen.
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” John 14:13-14