Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2002

Subject: From the Isolette to the Queen’s Palace

Good Morning Ethan & Emily:

Well, as I write this, Ethan is somewhere in London…perhaps waiting to see the Queen!  Yeah…right!!

Thinking of him now as a grown man takes me back to the day he was born and the verses of Scripture that the Lord gave me the night of his birth.  Having been born at 24 weeks (miscarriage caused by placenta separation), our doctor gave us little hope that Ethan would survive past that first night (Ethan had been born early that morning).  In fact, before I left the hospital, Dr. Kopp told Marilyn that she would want to go down to the prenatal intensive care unit to see Ethan one last time….he was just that critical.  In fact, due to the care required to keep Ethan alive, the nurses and doctors had not even placed him in an “incubator” yet but for these first few hours, they had him out on a “warming” tray (with overhead heat lamp) with wires and tubes all over him.

As I left the hospital it seemed almost certain that would be the last time I would see Ethan alive.  That night before I retired at Marilyn’s parents house (closer to the hospital and a comfort to be with them), I opened my Bible and asked God to speak to me.  I do not necessarily believe that God always answers in a “wherever the Bible falls open” manner but we know that God does hear and that He answers in all kinds of ways.  Well, this night as I opened God’s Word, my attention was directed to Psalm 71, and as I read, it was as though God was there sitting next to me on the bed, comforting me with these words that seemed to come directly from the little baby struggling so desperately only several blocks away:

“O Lord, you alone are my hope.

I’ve trusted you, O Lord, from childhood.

Yes, You have been with me from birth;

from my mother’s womb you have cared for me.

No wonder I am always praising you!

My life is an example to many, because you have been my strength and protection.

That is why I can never stop praising you; I declare your glory all day long.”

(Ps. 71: 5 – 8 NLT)

In the words of the New King James which I was reading that night:

“For thou are my hope, O Lord God;

thou art my trust from my youth.

By thee have I been held up from the womb;

thou are my trust from my youth.

by thee have I been held up from the womb;

thou are He who took me out of my  mother;

my praise shall be continually of thee.

I am as a wonder unto many,

but thou art my strong refuge.

Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honor all the day.”

(Ps. 71: 5 – 8 NKJV)

And as real to me today as then…I felt God’s arms of comfort around me assuring me that Ethan would be O.K. and that he would be “a wonder unto many.”  I knew then with no doubts that God was in control…and that nothing had taken Him by surprise but that everything that had happened was all part of His plan for Ethan’s life.  In fact, Ethan’s sudden and abrupt birth had actually been a fortunate thing…for we found out later that with the placenta separation, if birth had not occurred, Marilyn would have been in risk of toxemia which can be fatal.

Returning to the hospital early the next morning, I was not surprised to hear that Ethan had made it through the night.  But I felt overwhelming thankfulness and praise…almost more than I could ever express….even now.

I don’t remember if Ethan was put in an enclosed Isolette incubator that day or not but when Ethan finally made it into his own little “home,” I typed up the above verses and placed them on his Isolette for “all the world to see.” I wanted everyone who viewed Ethan and who worked with him to know what God had done…and was doing in this little baby’s life.

Not many of us have such dramatic beginnings, but God is so very good to us “all the time” that we would do well to rejoin Ethan at his birth in daily supplication and praise:  “Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honor all the day.”

And may you have a wonderful day in London, Ethan.  It’s afternoon…perhaps you are having a “spot ‘o afternoon tea.”!  Have a jolly good day….and may you never forget “from whence you have come.”

Sending my love to both of you,