*A word of caution: though this Motion Picture is entirely family friendly, there is a scene of a baby in critical condition.*
Miracle // 1. an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause. 2. a wonder; marvel.
Excerpt from Peace Like A River
by Leif Enger
“Let me say something about that word: miracle. For too long it’s been used to characterize things or events that, though pleasant are entirely normal. Peeping chicks at Easter time, spring generally, a clear sunrise after an overcast week – a miracle, people say, as if they’ve been educated from greeting cards. I’m sorry, but nope. Such things are worth our notice every day of the week, but to call them miracles evaporates the strength of the word.
Real miracles bother people, like strange sudden pains unknown in medical literature. It’s true: They rebut every rule all we good citizens take comfort in. Lazarus obeying orders and climbing up out of the grave – now there’s a miracle, and you can bet it upset a lot of folks who were standing around at the time. When a person dies, the earth is generally unwilling to cough him back up. A miracle contradicts the will of the earth.
My sister, Swede, who often sees to the nub, offered this: People fear miracles because they fear being changed – though ignoring them will change you also. Swede said another thing, too, and it rang in me like a bell: No miracle happens without a witness. Someone to declare, Here’s what I saw. Here’s how it went. Make of it what you will.
…I believe I was preserved, through those twelve airless minutes, in order to be a witness, and as a witness, let me say that a miracle is no cute thing but more like the swing of a sword.”
This story from Peace Like a River was ringing in my head during AnaSofia’s seven cry-less minutes. After Diana labored day and night for 22 hours, we were waiting anxiously for the moment when the pain for these first time parents could turn instantly to joy. That’s the fun part about birth! But we didn’t get to see the joyful moment we had anticipated.
Andrea, Labor of Love’s incredible midwife, noticed that the baby’s heart rate was dropping toward the last few contractions, so giving Diana one last robust try, she waited for some movement. Nothing. Firmly and quickly, Andrea asked Diana to stand up and proceeded to bring AnaSofia into the world by hand, unraveling the umbilical chord that was wrapped twice around her throat. The placenta had stopped delivering blood, and she arrived with swampy lungs and a pale, limp body. Andrea was removing fluid from AnaSofia’s airways, resuscitating her, and rubbing her little chest…for seven minutes. As you might imagine in a situation like this, seven *seconds* would have felt too long, but seven minutes felt like an eternity. She instructed Mario and Diana to talk to her, to let her hear their voices, and that became the moment in which I witnessed something very significant. I witnessed the faith Mario and Diana have in Jesus Christ.
A couple years ago, I had an epiphany from the air as we passed through the frigid and cloudy Illinois sky. The plane ascended through the blankets of gray and there, above the clouds, the sun was shining in all its strength! We passed from brutal winter to blue expanse and glowing sun in minutes. Of course I knew that the sun is always shining, but there is this sense on a cloudy day that the sun just isn’t ‘out’. I’ve walked outside before and simply stated, ‘There is no sun today.’ But if I can’t see the sun, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t still shining in all it’s glory above my head. It just means that clouds have come between me and the sun. I think this is the essence of faith; of miracles. I think we don’t see a lot of miracles because of clouds. There are things that get between us and the sun, and we are tempted daily to look around and say, ‘The sun isn’t shining today’…or worse, ‘The sun just doesn’t shine anymore’…or far, far worse, ‘There is no sun.’ Through the miracle of AnaSofia, I realized that the clouds that come between me and Jesus are the clouds of my unbelief.
Mario and Diana believed. They believed that Jesus Christ was shining in all His power and love for them, even though there were clouds of a gray and limp baby lying in front of them. Their faith became sight as that little girl grew pink and warm and let out the cry of life. AnaSofia came to life! Your clouds might be different than my clouds, but the truth is that Jesus came to bring life to a dying world; both physically and spiritually. And it wasn’t just His good intention, He actually accomplished it through His life, death, and resurrection. Jesus actually broke the power of sin and death for us! He is making all things new; today, tomorrow, and forever! If I don’t always see it, it makes it no less true. However, this day, the day of AnaSofia’s birth…I was able to see and experience that truth. I was given the gift of rising above the clouds in those seven cry-less minutes to see the sun shining in all it’s strength. As Leif Enger said it, ‘It was no cute thing but more like the swing of a sword.’
[AnaSofia is healthy and happy, bearing no neurological damage. Her Doctor was shocked at her overall health]
I know what you’re thinking. I’m thinking it too. What about the babies who don’t live and the parents who walk away empty-handed? What about the sorrow and death that exist, side-by-side with the miracles? I don’t know. I’ve seen deaths that made no sense to me, and I’ve seen miracles that made no sense either. I won’t pretend to understand the contrast. It’s heavy and painful and too much for me to grasp. It’s a broken world in need of a Healer. But I do believe that the Healer loves us. I believe He hates death. And I believe that the miracles are whispering the deeper truth to us all. The truth that Jesus Christ is the One who will restore and resurrect this broken world fully one day. We may not always see it or experience it, but the truth still remains. Death will loose it’s sting. Darkness will be overcome with light. Sorrow will be overturned with joy. The miracles, they remind us. There is hope for the broken, the lost, the painful realities of this life, and that hope is and always will be Jesus Christ.