Kindness of the Lord

I can remember the day my youngest child was born, like it was yesterday. It was December 1988. Times were hard, we had three children, our car was broken down, and there was no money or food. I can still see that one lone can of "Cream Style Corn" sitting on the cupboard self. At the time I didn't truly know the Lord, not personally anyway. Although, I had known an awful lot about him, for I had gone to church most of my life. But knowing about the Lord, can't be a substitute for having a personal relationship with him. He was about to introduce himself to me, in a big way.

I had been reading a portion of scripture found in the book of Romans 2:4. It reads, "Do you think lightly of the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance." I was shocked by that, because I had always believed that a since of guilt led someone to repent, and seek the Lord. I had come to believe that not even a God of love could or would, give a sinner such as I, another chance.

So there I was, staring at that one last can of "Cream Style Corn." I was wondering what I was going to feed my children, when suddenly my labor began. My husband called the hospital. A nurse promised to come over and pick us up. Some friends told us to drop the other children off at their house. We were off and running. However, no sooner had we arrived at the hospital, than my labor stopped. It was around 10:00 PM. December 7, 1988.

I couldn't believe it. I was so afraid we would have to go back home. However, the hospital was well aware of our transportation problem, so they allowed us to remain. I was so relieved. At least I knew that I wasn't going to have to go home, without my knew baby. For many hours, I walked, jumped, squatted, even rolled in the bed, but to no avail. The doctor finally, started me on an I V drip, with some kind of medication in it, in an effort to restart my labor. Around 5:00 PM. On the following day, a nurse walks into my labor room saying, "Mrs. Elliott, we're going to be moving you into a regular room, before long. We will have to being this whole process in the morning."

"In the morning," I crouched at myself. "I don't want to start all over in the morning." After the nurse left the room, Romans 2:4 popped into my mind once more. The words, "the kindness of the Lord" rang through my head. "O, shut up!" I said out loud, "The kindness of the Lord, indeed!"

I remember looking up at the ceiling and shouting at the top of a whisper, "You call this being kind! Cruel is more like it!"

"If there's truly a God up there, one that wants to be kind to me, then let my water break, right now."

Don't ever challenge God, unless your serious, because he will answer your challenge. My water broke all right. It was almost like Noah's flood. I was worn out. I had no strength with which to push. It had only taken a few minutes before I had decided I really would like to wait until tomorrow morning. But there are some things in life that can't wait, and babes are one of them. I remember being terrified, at the sudden and swift answer to my prayer challenge. I was also terrified that because I had no strength, my unborn child might somehow suffer and die.

It is amazing to me, now, looking back on all this, how terrified I was that God was going to punish me for my sins, by taking it out on my baby. I have come to know that I am not the only one who once believed God was a bully. A God, who just sits away up there, waiting for one of us to make a mistake, so he can have the pleasure of pouncing on us.

Within minutes the nurse came back into the room, saying, "Man, there's water all over the floor."

My husband whose been asleep on the cot next to my bed, all this time, wakes up. The nurse begins telling him, "Randy, it looks like you need to gown up, we're going to have a baby after all."

I remember at this point I was hushed, thinking, "Is this all God's doing?" "Maybe there really is a God who cares!" Everything began to moving even more quickly, the room was full of nurses, Randy and the doctor. I was positive that the doctor didn't know anything. It wasn't long before I was having problems. I didn't have the strength to push. Everyone was yelling, push, breath, this baby needs oxygen, the heart rate is low.

"This baby is too big," I yelled at one point.

"No, it isn't!" The doctor returned.

"I can't," I yelled, "Something's wrong, I can't push."

"Your going to have to help me," I cried.

"No!" The doctor kept saying, "It's a little baby!" ( I want you to remember that ) "Your just not trying hard enough."

I was so angry. I almost got up off that bed and punched that doctor in the nose.

There were pains going on inside me, that day, pains no one knew anything about. All the yelling wasn't helping much. It just made my fears grow all the more. I was afraid. I was afraid God was going to kill my baby, because I was a bad person. I was afraid that was why I was having trouble pushing. I knew my child's life depended on me. But it didn't!

The room was full of confusion. My mind and heart were racing. It was then I saw something or someone out of the corner of my eye. It was another doctor, he was standing over in the corner. I never knew for sure, but it looked to me as if he was praying. I saw his lips move and his head seemed as if it were bowed, in reverence. "We've got to get this baby out!"

One of the nurses screamed at me, "Push!"

My husband took hold of my hand, but I couldn't look into his eyes. I couldn't take my eyes off that strange doctor, over in the corner, praying. In that moment fear was gripping at my heart, but something strange beat it back. It was peace.

It had been along time since I'd felt peace. I wasn't all that sure I knew what it was when it came. There was little time to analyze it. The room became hushed. A wondrous quite filled the room. It seemed as if I felt the touch of a strong and mighty hand upon my stomach. I could have sworn I heard a man's voice saying, "Debbie, I'm here, I'm going to help you have this baby." Yet when I turned my eyes towards the voice, I saw no one. "I want you to give little Sara all the love that is in you," the voice said. "You can push, there is strength in you, mine," the voice continued. "Push! Little one, push!" Strength did come into my weakness. Love came from some reserve, I knew not of. It was as though it had long been hidden, and I was only now discovering it. Once again, I felt the touch of someone's hand, and the urge to push. Push, I did! Little Sara was born. It was around 5:30 PM. December 8, 1988. She weighed in at 8 pounds and 8 ounces. She was 22 1/2 inches long. ( She was no "little " baby )

Our church had taken up a collection, while Sara and I were in the hospital. They helped my husband get a car and insurance. When we got home there was food, enough for three months. The hospital took up a collection as well. They paid most of our bills. Christmas, that year was a sight to behold. Several months later, around Easter, "The kindness of the Lord," led me to repentance. For I had found in Jesus, a God, with arms opened wide. A God, who wanted to know me, that I might know him.

Debbie Elliott

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