Friday, November 14, 2008

One Holy Night

I want to share with you the power of prayer and God's protection. On Monday at 3:20, my mom called and asked if she could pick Mia up from the bus stop. Mom babysits for two girls, ages 8 and 10, on Monday evenings, and the girls wanted to play with Mia. I agreed, glad that I didn't have to run to the stop myself. At 3:33, I got a call from one of the girls on Mom's cell phone. She said that they wouldn't be coming to pick Mia up because Jacob, my little brother, had just been hit by a car and the ambulance was on the way. The girl was very calm, and I thought that they must be goofing around, so I waited for a few minutes for Mom to pull in the driveway and get Mia's car seat. Five minutes later, a knot formed in my stomach and I called Mom's cell. A male voice answered the phone and said that my mom couldn't come to the phone right now; in the background, I could hear the wail of an ambulance siren. It was no joke. I flew out of the door to get Mia, frantically dialing my own phone. I called Jesse and Molly, telling them to pray. Then I called our church, asking for them to get the prayer chain going. Every time I hung up the phone, I felt helpless, so I dialed someone else begging them to pray. I called my mom's pastor to get that prayer chain going as well. After I got off of the phone with my father, he called my aunt to get her prayer chain started as well.

Mom called me from inside the ambulance with a teary update. They were racing Jacob to Green Bay. He has a condition called ITP in which his platelet count is way down and so his blood doesn't clot the way it's supposed to, so while he didn't appear to have external injuries, there was deep concern over possible internal injuries, especially because his nose was bleeding. Mom said that he was trying to cross the street and while he saw the school bus and waited for it, he didn't see the car directly behind it. He was hit by the car, flew up and hit the hood before flying through the air and landing on the ground. Mom watched it all happen from her car and couldn't get out fast enough because she was caught by the seatbelt. The EMTs were trying to start an IV, but couldn't find a vein. I could hardly breathe with fear and couldn't stop shaking with cold. Mia saw my fear, and it caught her as well, so I was forced to calm down, and when I told her that God is in control and that He was holding Jacob in the palm of His hand, it calmed me down as well.

I emailed my FIRST blogging family and asked for their prayers as well, and the knowledge that between three prayer chains and over 100 bloggers, there were many people on their knees for Jacob's safety. At 5:56 pm I received a phone call from Mom. They were on their way home from the hospital; Jacob was completely fine. No broken bones, no internal injuries, barely a scratch (he did get a nasty bruise on his back the next day that is still aching). Mom found out on Wednesday that at the dentist's office directly across the street from the accident, as soon as they saw the ambulance, everyone in the office stopped what they were doing and dropped to their knees in prayer. And down the street at the thrift store where Mom and Jacob stop every day on the way home, when one of the workers heard the sirens, she stepped outside to see what was going on, and when she saw my mom's car, she immediately prayed for their safety.

I have to believe that it was God's hand that allowed Jacob to come through the accident virtually unscathed, and that it was prayers ensured it. It's nothing less than a miracle. In two and a half hours we went from the deepest fear to complete relief and the knowledge that the Lord had touched our lives in a way that cannot be denied. God is good, all the time.

One Holy Night
by J.M. Hochstetler is a powerful novel of anger and redemption. The McRae family is facing serious crises in 1966. Frank and Maggie are facing the deployment of their son Mike to Vietnam while Maggie is fighting ovarian cancer. The events of the next thirteen months will leave them all changed forever, including their daughter Julie and her husband Dan. Mike is uncertain about the war, as well as his faith, but enlisting seemed the right thing to do, especially to please his WWII vet father. Frank is harboring bitter feelings toward anyone of Asian decent after what he saw during his war years and that soon spills into his relationship with his son when Mike falls in love with a Vietnamese girl. Hochstetler unflinchingly portrays the anger of bigotry and its effects through Frank. His words are difficult to read, but the author uses them to at first define and then eventually redeem the character. One Holy Night contains a miracle that can change even the hardest of hearts. I was impressed at how Hochstetler let her characters talk about their faith to unbelievers without proselytizing. It's a perfect novel for Christmas with a story full of hope and love.

Mia & Mommy's Book Blog will be posting on Sunday; I have a scheduled Non-FIRST blog tour for tomorrow. And on Monday, I'll be kicking off a new book contest you won't want to miss!


J. M. Hochstetler said...

Christy, thank you so much for your very kind comments about One Holy Night! I don't claim this story--the Lord gave it to me, and I just tried to be faithful in writing it down. My prayer is that it speaks as powerfully to readers as it did to me as I was writing it.