The prophet Elijah was literally running for his life when he finally dropped to the ground in exhaustion and despair. In the middle of the wilderness, he sat down under a broom tree and asked God to let him die. Instead, God allowed Elijah to sleep for a time before sending an angel to feed him. Twice, Elijah slept and twice, an angel woke him and offered him bread and water. Refreshed, the prophet got up and journeyed to the next place of ministry (I Kings 19). Carol McLeod believes ministering angels are still heaven-sent today…and so do I. Here is Carol’s story…
I couldn’t wait to deliver our second baby! I loved everything about being a mom and had relatively easy pregnancies. I had experienced a “perfect” labor and delivery with our first son complete with 6 hours of labor and a wonderful epidural! Certainly my second experience would be easier and quicker, right?
The doctor finally induced labor at 3 weeks and 2 days past my due date. Yes – you read that correctly! Christopher was nearly a month late according to medical calculations. This was at a time before sonograms were normal procedures and when doctors would rarely induce an over-due mother.
Christopher’s birth weight was 9 pounds and 11 ounces of pure boy! As you can imagine, his delivery was difficult and traumatic for me. In addition to nearly 24 hours of labor with no medical help, I then pushed for nearly 4 hours before the doctor decided that help would be required to deliver this very large, post-due baby. The doctor used what was known as “high forceps” and it was an agonizing physical experience after a long and arduous labor.
When Christopher Burton McLeod was finally delivered on January 27, 1983, he was whisked away to the intensive care nursery and I was wheeled down the hallway to the sterile recovery room.
I remember lying on the cold, hard table in the darkness shaking from head to toe, trying not to whimper from the trauma. My body had been brutally injured by the difficult birth experience and I had not even been given the opportunity to hold my baby. I wondered if he would be all right and if there was something wrong with him. No one seemed to be able to give me any information and so the pain was not only physical but also emotional. I laid in the dark and sobbed all alone. I just sobbed.
A small, Norwegian nurse came to my bedside; she had golden braids wrapped around her head with a light blue sweater covering her white nurse’s uniform. She took my cold hand in her warm one and whispered, “I’ve heard you’ve had a difficult time, dear one.”
The tears were rolling down my cheeks as I weakly whispered in response, “I just want to know that my baby is o.k.”
“Oh, he will be just fine. They are taking excellent care of him in the nursery and I am going to take care of you here,” she comforted with a thick, Scandinavian accent. With that, she encouraged me to close my eyes and to rest while she lovingly and tenderly book care of my bruised and bleeding body. She administered warm clothes to my trembling body and truly ministered in a physical way as I dealt with the aftermath of an indescribable labor. She then rubbed my arms and legs with soothing and warm oil as she sang gently over me in a language that I had never before heard.
When this Norwegian healer had thoroughly cleaned and restored my body, she then fed me warm broth as she cooed what a beautiful baby I had just delivered and how he would accomplish great things with his life. After praying a sweet, gentle prayer over me and my sweet boy, she smiled, patted my hand and walked away.
It was only a minute or two more before my husband Craig was allowed to come in the recovery room and be with me. I told him all about her and could not control my sobs because of her precious care and concern toward me.
The next day, when I had been sent to the obstetrics floor, I asked the young nurse who was caring for me if I could send a thank you note to the woman who had so ministered to me in the recovery room the day before. This perky little professional said that she would be glad to take it down on her break. I wrote a note of deep gratitude that came from my heart and thanked the kind nurse deeply for her love and ministrations.
When my nurse returned to the floor after her break, she said, “Mrs. McLeod, I am sorry but no one works in the recovery room by that description. I even asked the head nurse who was assigned to the afternoon shift yesterday afternoon and she said that no one has ever worked here by that description.” With that, she regretfully handed my priceless note back to me.
Now, I will never be sure if the nurse in the recovery room was truly an angel or an employee of a very large hospital but what I do know for sure is that the Lord was close to me at a moment in life when I desperately needed His love and comfort.
When the Psalmist declared that “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted,” His words of promise are spoken with tender care and great compassion. He is reminding all of Christendom in the epochs yet to come that the Lord is lovingly attentive to those who are enduring unimaginable pain. Whatever is the source of your pain today, you can be sure that the Lord is standing attentively beside you paying diligent attention to your shattered and bleeding heart.
If you have ever suffered a broken heart, a broken body or a broken life, I can comfort you with the certainty that you were never out of His care. If, today, you are emotionally torn apart and wonder how you will make it through one more today, I want to comfort you with the surety that He is with you now. God is close to you and has wrapped His arms of love around your life; He is hovering beside you just as my sweet little Norwegian nurse stayed with me.
You can learn more about Carol at http://www.carolmcleodministries.com