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JOSEPHINE -- and Peter

( Part II )

On the way to the hospital, Jimmy said, "Dad, is the baby going to be all right and is Mom going to get better?" His face was drawn. He was anxious and in deep thought. "Yes, Jim," his dad answered, "The doctor gave me some encouraging words this morning. Mom is past the danger point, but baby Peter is a "preemie" and will have to stay in the hospital a little longer. He will need some extra care but I'm sure he'll get along all right."

Josephine had unexpected birth pains and was taken to the hospital in the middle of the night. All had not gone well. Because of complications, there had to be a Cesarean section birth. The baby's breathing was a concern to the doctors. Friends from the church had been contacted and asked to pray. Thankfully, by morning, the situation was not quite so serious.

Jimmy and his friend Joey, were spending more time together these days. This afternoon they wandered over to the school yard to bat a few balls. It was a hot day. Tired out, they took time out and sat under a big shade tree. The happenings in the hospital seemed to be the center of conversation. "We've never had a baby at our house," said Joey. "Will you let me come over and see and touch yours?"

"Sure," said Jimmy, delighted to have such an opportunity. "What is a "Preemie," asked Joey.

"I'm not sure," said Jimmy. "I guess he's sick, or something'. He'll have to stay in the hospital for a while."

Marcy Anderson, from across the street was always helpful. Jimmy was there for all noon meals while his dad was at work. The night Jerry spent with Josephine in the hospital, Jimmy stayed with them overnight.

The neighbors had become close friends since the Anderson's moved in a little over a year ago. Joey began going to S. S. with Jimmy and was learning to know and like the kids and enjoy the lessons. The day Josephine came home, there was a celebration. Late in the afternoon, Marcy, Tom, and Joey, came over and welcomed the patient home. They brought -- meat-loaf, a salad, and a mouth-watering dessert. Everyone was happy that Josephine had gotten past her physical set-back and appeared to be ready to return to a semblance of a schedule. There's nothing quite like loving, caring friends, to give the extra lift needed at a time like this.

Jerry was protective of Josephine and did as many chores as he could around the house. Before leaving for work he said, "My dear, you don't know how much Jimmy and I missed you the days you weren't here. You bring joy and life back to our home. Now we must commit baby Peter's needs to God, and trust that he can join us soon to make our home complete. What a day that will be when the four of us are here together!" Little did he know then, what the future held. At the dinner table that night, Jim noted concern in the eyes of his parents. "What's going on" he asked. "It's not Peter is it?" When is he coming home?

Jerry spoke. "Well son, Doc Turner called today and said Peter would have to stay in the Nursery a little longer than we expected. When Mom went to see him later today, she was told of a minor set-back. But we are trusting the Lord for his increased strength and that this is only a short delay."

"Maybe we better pray right now" said Jimmy. They bowed their heads and asked for God's loving intervention.

"May I see him tonight when we go to the hospital? He is my brother and I love him." He was permitted to go and his eyes grew big as he soaked in the tiny detailed features. His smile was like a half-moon. "My little brother" he said again.

Two days later Josephine picked him up at school. She hadn't done that before and he knew immediately that something was wrong. Mom had tears in her eyes. "What's happened" he asked. "Please don't tell me it's Peter."

"Yes, I'm afraid it is, Jim." She drove to the near-by park and in the aloneness of that front car-seat, she explained what had happened. The breathing problem became an emergency, and in the nurse's arms, God took him home to Himself.

Jim cried out, "It's not fair. Didn't we ask God to take care of him? Didn't we place him in God's loving hands? Aren't we supposed to trust God for the things we ask for? What else are we supposed to do?" He put his head in his hands and cried aloud.

Josephine took him in her arms. "Son, I know this is almost impossible for you to accept. You know that I carried little Peter under my heart for many months and my love is deeper than I can explain. This is crushing news to your dad and me too.

We all planned for this precious little life to be added to our family, but apparently, God wanted him added to His family in heaven now, rather than later. We will learn the lesson that our ways are not always God's ways, but we know that He knows the end from the beginning and always gives us what is best.

That night before they went to bed, the three of them sat together and shared their heartache."All our hearts are crushed," said Mom. "Separation always brings sorrow. They cried together.

"I'm sure our heavenly Father's heart was broken too, when He saw His Son dying on the cross" said Dad, 'No man cometh to the Father but by Me'. That means the closed door to heaven is opened when we accept what he did for us when he died there on the cross. He really loved us deeply Jim, even more than we could ever love Peter.

Jim was quiet. He shared his thoughts. "That means that when I accepted Jesus two years ago, the door to heaven was opened for me. Right? Now I know that someday I'll see Peter again...not dead but living.

A peace came over their hearts as they discussed this glorious truth. They held hands. Dad prayed. With outstretched arms they held each other close and then went to their own rooms.

The next day the Anderson's, along with a small group of friends, went with them on their quiet little journey to the cemetery.

Back home, Josephine, Jerry and Jimmy, began another segment of their lives, thanking God that they had each other.

Elsie K. Young


click here to go back to part I

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