Four years ago tonight, I read the only text that has ever made me literally cry instantly. “Alisha is critical.” Four years have passed and my stomach drops every time we think of that moment. My husband will probably stop reading at this point.
Earlier on April 9th, 2015, my sister-in-law, Alisha, delivered our sweet nephew, Smith. He was born at 8:15 in the morning halfway across the country from where we lived, so we relied solely on text messages from my parent-in-laws. As the day continued, we were anxious to get pictures of Smith and his parents, but we went without because we heard there were complications.
Sometime around 6 pm, we received the text: “Alisha is critical.” We instantly dropped to our knees, crying out to God. I haven’t cried that gut-wrenching cry, the gnashing-of-teeth cry since my Grandma Mary died. Odds are, you probably know that type of cry. The kind where you don’t know when you’ll inhale again. There is no noise. You feel it in your core. My husband held me so tightly… I’ll never forget the feeling of him clinging to me in that moment.
The night continued while we waited with bated breath for any update we would receive. She wouldn’t be out of the woods until the morning, so we made dinner, bathed our two month old, cried together, prayed together, and sat in silence. I told Ryan we could drive to the hospital, a literal 19 hour drive from where we lived at the time. I just wanted to be there. Somehow, I felt like that might help.
We didn’t sleep at all that night. We might have faded in and out of consciousness, but we were never truly asleep. Sometime around 2 am, in the dark of the night, I prayed a prayer for Alisha by myself. I prayed that she would be spared. I prayed that she would heal, and that she would recover and be there for her son and her husband. I prayed it wasn’t her time to head home.
But what if it was her time? Would God still be good? This was where my prayer wasn’t from me, but came from the Holy Spirit. He brought me to my knees and broke me. He showed me, as I prayed, that if it was her time, He is still good.
Is that a part of your story? Do you believe God is good simply because He is, or do you believe He is good because He gave you the answer you so craved? Has the age-old phrase, God is good all the time, and all the time (say it with me), God is good, brought a lump to your throat before?
Psalm 34:8 tells us, ”Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” See, God is good by definition. It is a fact. It’s like saying the sky is blue. But in this psalm, David tells us to “taste and see,” meaning experience the Lord’s goodness. This takes our statement that God is good from objective to subjective territory. When I say the sky is beautiful, that is spoken from experiencing the beauty of the sky. You can only say the sky is beautiful when you see for yourself. So the psalmist is telling us, “experience for yourself God’s goodness.”
Psalm 34:17 says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.” In that 2 am prayer that I said for Alisha, the Holy Spirit showed me the Lord would deliver her out of this, one way or another. Either way, God is good.
As Andrew Wilson wrote, “He has never been faced with a catch-22 situation, forced to choose between the lesser of two evils, or flummoxed into a decision that was anything less than completely good. Therefore—and this bit is both the hardest, and the most powerful, when we’re suffering—if God has done something, it is good. End of story.”
So it was good that Alisha endured this trial. It was good that He carried her out of it the next morning and she recovered and left the hospital just three days later. It was good that God took our family, and thousands of people around the world who were praying for her, through the dark of the night into the new morning He had for us.
I want to say, had that not been the outcome, it would be a sharp, bitter pill to swallow that God is good. But one day, the things that seem so ugly this side of heaven will be shown to have been made beautiful. He breathes life into dust.
Today, Smith celebrates his fourth birthday with his dad and mom at his side, and his younger brother, Fisher. He is the sweetest boy with some amazing dance moves. I’m so thankful I get to be his auntie. I am a different woman after that day, never to be the same. And I am thankful for His goodness that brought us all to that sunrise.
If you want to hear the story from Alisha’s perspective, please visit her blog here.
Photos by Alisha Marie Photography