When our Calvin was born, Phil was already 16 months old. He didn't actually walk as yet, but he would crawl over to the tiny crib, pull himself up and reach in to touch his baby brother's head. He stroked it very gently and said, "Baby...baby." "Yes, Phil, that is your baby brother." We thought it was great the way he took ownership of this new intruder into our lives.
Tragedy loomed over us, however, when tiny Calvin had to return to the hospital with jaundice when he was but 8 days old. His bilirubin count kept increasing. Philip, however, didn't know what had happened, and so he crawled over to the crib, pulled himself up and reached in, only to find empty sheets. He searched with his little hand, and then looked up at us and said with a plaintiff question in his tone, "Baby?" It broke our hearts. We were skating on the edge as it was.
We had a private prayer meeting, committing our Calvin to the Lord. We admitted that he was only on loan anyway, and acknowledged our heavenly Father's right to take him if it was his sovereign will. Little did we know that God would not only spare his little life, but drag him into the ministry of the gospel. Yes, he did go kicking and screaming, as it were. We did not mean this when we had that prayer meeting. And I know better than to suggest that God mistook our prayer.
I remember Barbara driving over to the local hospital (just incidentally, it is the same hospital in which Bruce Springsteen was born) three times a day or more just to nurse her tiny, crying baby. She did this for the three straight days he stayed there. Since he had been released and re-admitted, he could not be placed in the nursery. He was in a huge adult bed and did a lot of loud crying. She would hear this cry as soon as she stepped off the elevator. I understand that a woman finds it difficult to lactate when she is under stress, and I would say there was supernatural providence to enable her to spread her mother's love so far. The doctor was no encouragement, telling her that she ought not to be nursing. "We can give him a bottle here." What do doctors know?
Just before his bilirubin count mounted to the marker for a blood transfusion, the corner was turned in his condition and the count began to subside. One doctor was convinced there was a blood incompatibility at work (AB-O is a common problem combination). But our pediatrician said he just has a slow liver which finally caught up to his needs.
That was a crisis time in our lives in which we praise God for answered prayer. A year later we began playing my boys' favorite game: Boys Climb on Daddy. My senile memory banks will probably never forget those days.