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Redeeming These Failing Bodies

I've always been skeptical of modern day miracles.  To me, Christian "healing" conjured up images of television evangelists wearing too much hair product and soliciting unsuspecting victims to "plant a seed of faith for only $1,000" to somehow coerce God into supernatural intervention.  I used to  listen to testimonies in church with what I considered well-placed medical skepticism.  Certainly there were therapeutic interventions and diagnostic errors that accounted for most purported cases of healing,

But one week ago, I had a first hand encounter with a real life, modern miracle.  Today, I am holding him as I type.  His name is Josiah, which means "Jehovah has healed".  We initially chose Josiah as our "boy" name after (arguably) the most godly Biblical king; Josiah was appointed at age 8, sought God seriously at age 16, and conducted a nationwide religious reform at age 20.  The name also reflected the healing surrounding our child's conception; as a cancer survivor, my husband had been told he would not be able to conceive children naturally (one month into marriage, we found God thought otherwise).

During the second half of our pregnancy, however, we were given a new reason to cling to God as healer: our baby, according to five separate ultrasounds read by four different perinatalogists, was determined to have several brain abnormalities.  The cavum septum pellucidum, a structure that marks normal development of the front part of the brain, was not properly visualized.  Another structure, the cisterna magna, was repeatedly noted to be significantly larger than normal.

Worriedly, I spent hours researching published articles on the two abnormalities.  The majority of the children with isolated mega cisterna magna are entirely normal.  However, this abnormality was not "isolated" in our child, because of the inability to visualize the cavum septum pellucidum.  The cavum septum pellucidum, according to one research study, is visualized 100% of the time between 18 and 37 weeks of pregnancy in normal babies.  Its absence suggests a variety of problems, including septo-optic dysplasia and agenesis of the corpus callosum.  We ultimately received the latter diagnosis by a "specialist of the specialists" in our area (another perinatologist remarked, "the imaging she did was over my head"). One week before delivery, I logged in to my medical chart and found the diagnosis "fetus with agenesis of the corpus callosum" on my problem list. I broke into tears. First, that our baby was seen as a "fetus". And second, that someone was sure enough of this diagnosis to enter it in my medical record.  Some children with agenesis of the corpus callosum have profound learning disabilities, many have behavioral difficulties, and nearly all have at least some higher order neurocognitive deficits on testing.

So we prayed.  And prayed, and prayed.  We were joined by hundreds (possibly thousands) of believers around the world, who with boldness declared that it would not be more of a miracle for God to heal a brain than to create one in the first place.  Repeatedly, I felt God's assurance that our child would be healed.  But faith is not a one-time decision; often, I relied on the prayers and encouragement of my sisters and brothers in Christ to hold on to God's promise of healing.  The final prenatal ultrasound (several weeks before our son's birth) appeared, in my Google scholar opinion, markedly different.  Typically, the structure in question becomes harder to visualize near the time of delivery -- but God was telling a different story.

Josiah entered the world at 7:48 on the evening of March 15th.  Interestingly, neonatal ultrasounds at our tertiary hospital are performed at midnight.  We would have an official answer by the following morning.  Admittedly, I worried.  I knew what God had promised, but my faith is daily challenged towards maturity.  We (especially in the medical field) cling so strongly to what we see, it is sometimes difficult for us to flesh out what we believe.

The ultrasound was entirely normal.  When the pediatrician read us the "preliminary read", I breathed "praise God".  Ethan texted everyone in his phone: "Miracle complete.  The corpus callosum is there.  Praise God."  Seems there was a lot of praise going on in that room.

Take it from a converted skeptic: the purpose of miracles is to increase praise to our great God.  I will never get tired of telling the story of Josiah's healing, though it is a distant second favorite to an older, far greater Story: the Good News of God becoming flesh, to redeem us from these failing bodies.  Someday, we won't need miracles... because we will see the greatest of all miracles, clearly, and face to face.    


Comments

  1. Hi Elizabeth! I came across your blog post when searching online for prenatal cavum septum pellucidum. We are anxiously awaiting to go back for a second ultrasound, due to a previous undetected cavum septum
    pellucidum at my first mid-pregnancy ultrasound. Your son’s story gives me hope and lifts my spirits! It’s been stressful and I’m trying now to allow fear to take ahold, so I am daily praying and interceding for the Lord’s healing hand over my daughter who He formed in my womb. If He can part the Red Seas, raise Lazarus from the dead, save Daniel from the lions and protect Jonah’s in the whale’s belly-I believe He can give the healing my daughter needs! :) Thank you again for sharing your story. Would you mind praying for our family? We are the Cassa family from California! God Bless

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