One year ago this week a little baby was born into this world in a violent and horrific manner. His mother had taken heroin every day of her pregnancy–even just an hour before he was born. She had tried to abort the baby herself several times, including trying to kill him on the way to the hospital for delivery. Why she did not go to an abortion clinic I do not know, other than to suspect that she had had other abortions before and for some reason, could not go back for another. When the baby was born, he was black and blue from head to toe and in critical condition. The doctors and nurses said they had never seen such a “violent” birth. One hour later, the mother pulled out the IVs, snatched up her clothes and left the hospital alone.
The baby boy was not expected to live nevertheless he was transferred to a larger hospital where he could get better care. For almost two months he was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Gradually, he improved somewhat, but he was addicted and he spent those two months screaming so much that they finally had to move him to a small storage room off the NICU by himself because he was upsetting the other critically sick little babies.
The nurses cared about the baby boy, but they were busy and were unable to spend much time in trying to comfort him. Protocol, and their own emotional protective barriers, demanded that they not become too attached, so the baby was held only when he was fed or changed. Most of the time, he was swaddled tightly and left alone.
Until one day a miracle happened.
A man and woman walked into the NICU with orders from a judge that they be allowed to visit with the baby whenever and for as long as they wanted. From the moment the woman picked up the baby and cuddled him, whispering tender words of love in his ear and prayers for healing, a change came over the baby boy. He grew still and quiet, relaxing in her arms. The couple spent every moment they could with the baby, surrounding him with love and prayers.
From the beginning, they prayed about what to call the baby boy. They wanted to choose a name with special significance. The Lord laid it upon their hearts to name him Josiah, claiming its meaning for him—healed by God, supported by God. His middle name would be Ezekiel—God will strengthen.
They had chosen well. Day by day, little Josiah began to thrive and respond to them with smiles and contentment. The doctors and nurses were abuzz with the change they saw in the baby and declared that it was a miracle. A few of the nurses were believers and had been praying all along for the infant, but even those who did not profess to be Christians believed in the miracle they were seeing before their eyes.
The baby was on methadone to wean him from the heroin addiction he had been born with. They expected that it would be months yet before he would be healed. Thirteen days later Mommy and Daddy walked out of the NICU with baby Josiah—weaned off the methadone and well on his way to complete healing—and headed for home and the family who awaited them there. It was Christmas Eve. It was a Christmas Eve miracle.
Josiah turned one year old this last week, and from all appearances is thriving and developing just as he should, reaching all milestones just when he should and, in some cases, earlier. He took his first steps alone the day after his birthday. He is saying some words already—dog, ruff, fish, turtle, dada. He is curious and on the go all the time, zooming around the kitchen in his walker and trying to climb already. When I hear of something new that he has learned, I don’t just think, that is a smart baby. I think, that is a miracle baby. To think of everything that baby went through before he was even born, and to have survived and thrived with a sound body and mind is nothing short of God’s healing, supporting, strengthening Hand.
King David experienced that same miraculous Hand of God. Just as Josiah’s birth mother tried to kill him, David had enemies trying to kill him for years—betrayed sometimes by his own children and close friends. He said, though, in Psalm 147:3 about the Lord, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” He praised God, as well, for physical healing. “Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases.” (Psalm 103:3)
Psalm 18:17-19 tells us, also, that David praised God for His support. “He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me.” From the time he was just a young boy and fought a lion, and a bear, and ultimately the giant Goliath, David knew God stood with him and for him, supporting him in the battles he must wage.
King David could say in all confidence to us then in Psalm 31:24, “Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the Lord.” The strong hand of God, which had strengthened his hand and heart, will do the same for us when we trust in Him.
There was a king who followed David who bore the same name as our baby Josiah. II Chronicles 34:1-3, 8, 26-33 tells his story, ”Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the ways of his father David; he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his father David; and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem of the high places, the wooden images, the carved images, and the molded images. In the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land and the temple, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the Lord his God. But as for the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, in this manner you shall speak to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God of Israel: “Concerning the words which you have heard— because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,” says the Lord. “Surely I will gather you to your fathers, and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace…” Then the king sent and gathered all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem. The king went up to the house of the Lord, with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem—the priests and the Levites, and all the people, great and small. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant which had been found in the house of the Lord. Then the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to follow the Lord, and to keep His commandments and His testimonies and His statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book. And he made all who were present in Jerusalem and Benjamin take a stand. So the inhabitants of Jerusalem did according to the covenant of God, the God of their fathers. Thus Josiah removed all the abominations from all the country that belonged to the children of Israel, and made all who were present in Israel diligently serve the Lord their God. All his days they did not depart from following the Lord God of their fathers.”
King Josiah was just a little boy when he became king, but from the very beginning he determined to love and follow God and lead his nation in doing the same. He purged the land and temple of all idolatrous worship, restored the temple building and when the Law of God was found in the temple, he had it read to all the people and led them in repentance and obedience to God. I have no doubt that our little Josiah, with the love and teaching of his mommy and daddy, will follow in the footsteps of King David and King Josiah and grow up to love and serve the Lord God as well.
How blessed our baby Josiah is to have a mommy and daddy who love him unconditionally, plenty of older siblings who adore him, and a happy home in which to thrive! The story of Josiah’s life could have been written far differently. And how blessed they are to have this little bundle of joy and energy! How blessed I am to be his grandma! How blessed we all are to have witnessed the miraculous healing, supporting, strengthening Hand of God in this precious child’s life! And what He has done in our baby’s life and the lives of kings, He can do in yours, as well!