I have been truly scared only two times in my life. The first happened more than 30 years ago. I was a new husband and an even newer father. As you moms and dads all know, it is hard for young parents to know when their child is genuinely ill. My wife and I had moved 400 miles away from our families so I could take a job as a youth pastor. Without knowing many people in the area, we felt somewhat isolated when our son became sick. At first, we thought he had another ordinary childhood disease. He cried, whimpered and was a little fussy . . . but what little baby isn’t? When he refused to eat, we called our parents to ask their advice. By midnight, he had diarrhea. Early the next morning, he didn’t look good at all. We called the pediatrician (a member of our church) and told him what was going on. He sent us to the Emergency Room of the local children’s hospital.
My son was seriously ill, my wife was scared and this small-town boy had to find his way downtown in a large city. I was scared, too, but I didn’t want my wife to know. When we reached the hospital, the staff rushed us into a room and examined our baby. His skin had taken on a strange color and you could see the outlines of his little ribs. He was less and less responsive. Soon, they broke the news: he might have spinal meningitis.
My fear deepened. I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but it didn’t sound good. They asked us to step out so they could perform a spinal tap. At that moment, I prayed harder for God to show up than I had ever prayed before. I needed my Father.
As we prepared to walk out of the room, my son raised his head. His pleading gaze said it all: Daddy, stay with me.
I turned to my wife and kissed her on the forehead, whispering my reassurance. I stepped close to my son and took his little hand in mine. I looked deep into his eyes as I silently told him: Daddy’s here. It’s going to be all right. A sense of peace filled the room, and I continued to hold his hand as the doctors performed the procedure.
That day, Jeremiah and I both got what we needed: the comforting presence of our father. That sick little son is now a six-foot bouncing baby boy, as my wife refers to him, and has been healthy as a horse from that day until this. He doesn’t remember his time in the hospital. I have tried to tell him, but he doesn’t yet understand the love of a father for his son. Maybe one day . . . he will.
Today I had the second truly scary day of my life. My wife has not been feeling up to par, and we just returned from the doctor. He informed us that she has a serious heart problem. All I can pray is, Daddy, stay with me.
Much of what I am today, I owe to the beautiful woman I am blessed to call my wife. She can spot my weaknesses faster than anyone and doesn’t hesitate to tell me when I’m wrong. She may not be perfect, but she’s perfect for . . . me. And I can’t tell you of anyone I love more. Every time I preach, I seek her out for affirmation. No matter what others tell me, hers is the opinion that counts. You see, most of my life has been not about me, but we: my wife and I together. When I am out front, swinging the sword of the Lord, she is on her knees, interceding on my behalf. When we get to Heaven and they start passing out trophies, she will be the one who receives . . . the biggest and best.
The doctor told us she has a damaged valve in her heart that will have to be replaced. He explained some other issues related to her heart and again, I felt scared.
Just like my small son, I looked into my Father’s eyes. I didn’t have to say anything. He understood that I needed Him to hold my hand.
My wife and I are confident everything will be all right. Together, she and I will continue to wage battles as we send mission teams into all the world and help parents raise up capable, responsible, self-reliant children. Until then, I’m thankful I can hear His voice: Daddy’s here. It’s going to be all right.
Note: Cathy Moore underwent successful heart surgery on May 8 and is recovering at home.