Three days before Easter, one of our six-week-old twin boys came down with bronchiolitis. I wasn't worried at first; we had helped more than one of our other children through this sickness before, and we had the support of family, friends and our community's medical clinic.
However, a six-week-old is awfully fragile to fight such a disease, and within hours we were rushing Josiah to the nearby university hospital's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where the staff fought to halt his downward spiral. Through that Thursday night, the news from the doctors was chilling: requests for consent for emergency procedures, tests to rule out meningitis, and blood transfusions.
My husband and I could do nothing but pray. We knew that at home, the whole community had gathered to pray that Josiah's life would be spared and his health restored. Friends, some of whom had lost a child themselves, came over in the middle of the night to join us. The next day was Good Friday. At last, after waiting for hours in the waiting room, we were able to go in to see Josiah. There he lay, so small we could hardly see his little body under all the tubes and wires, his tiny face and hands swollen with IV medications. The doctor was frank with us: he could not tell us at this point whether our baby would survive. Josiah, he said, was the sickest child in the hospital.
I was assailed with self-reproach. Why was this happening? Was it because I did not deserve to have twins? Was God punishing us? But why, then, must my innocent baby be the one to suffer? Was there anything I could do to stop it? The agonizing hours dragged on.
Finally, toward evening, Josiah's condition stabilized enough that we could leave a close friend there in the waiting room and return home to our other children. Together we went to the Good Friday evening service, during which we sang parts of Bach's St. Matthew's Passion.
With one of my two daughters on each side of me, I rose to join the opening chorus, "Come, ye daughters, share my anguish." The day's experiences flooded my heart. As we sang through the story of the passion of Jesus, I felt he was going through it all over again, today. The suffering of my innocent baby became one with the suffering of the innocent "Lamb of God."
By the time we came to the final chorus--"In tears of grief."--I was weeping. I had loved this particular chorus since I was a child, but that evening, after the events of the previous night, it was the perfect answer: "At thy grave, o Jesus blest, may the sinner worn with weeping, comfort find in thy dear keeping, and the weary soul find rest."
Where else could I lay all my anxiety and fear, self-doubt and sinfulness? Where else, but there by Jesus' tomb? To whom else could I entrust my deathly sick baby? Who, but the one just as innocent as my baby, who suffered as no one else ever has. In his hands we could leave it all.
On Easter Sunday Josiah turned the corner and in the following days recovered completely.