My daughter Ruth recently wrote about a miracle that took place in our family 22 years ago, causing me to reflect on the providence of God and the power of His precious promises during that defining time in our lives. Here is how God used our trials to strengthen our faith, deepen our surrender, and teach us to rest in His grace.
By Veena Malhotra
Today as we commemorate Veterans Day, with hearts full of gratitude for the U.S. military, my thoughts go back to Veterans Day 22 years ago when I experienced the amazing power and providence of God in protecting me from an unexpected medical emergency. Even though it was one of the most difficult days of my life, on that day I also experienced one of the greatest miracles in my life.
On November 11, 1990, as I was attending the Veterans Day church service, listening to an upbeat, inspirational patriotic sermon commending the military for their spirit of service and surrender, I was suddenly confronted with a medical emergency. I was 29 weeks pregnant, with an excellent report from the doctor just a few days before that, and looking forward by faith to a beautiful, healthy baby in a couple months. After seven years of unexplained infertility, this baby was to be the culmination of years of prayers and promises of divine intervention in impossible circumstances. The promises of God and the testimonies of scripture became an anchor for my soul. And the fulfillment of hope, seen in the stories of Sarah and Rebecca, Hannah and Elizabeth brought great comfort and anticipation. We were all expectantly awaiting the birth of our “son of promise” – we claimed more promises, prayed more fervently and exercised greater faith for this blessing than any other personal pursuit. And now, suddenly, that was all going to change – or so it seemed.
In the middle of the church service that November 11 morning, I was rushed to the hospital with massive hemorrhaging, and contrary to all expectations, when we thought all was lost, God preserved me and the baby in a miraculous way. For the next eleven weeks I experienced three more similar emergencies, but each time God protected us. During this time God kept reinforcing two concepts: faith and surrender… that through this time of uncertainty and anxiety we were to rest in His grace and providence and respond in faith, not fear. And we were to respond in unconditional surrender to His divine will and purposes for our lives, which were transcendentally higher than our personal desires. It was a time of intense spiritual engagement, totally abandoned to God.
It was during these dark days that God gave our family special promises from the Bible. When the doctors talked of preterm delivery, God gave my husband the promise from 2 Timothy 1:12 – “…for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” The doctors were thinking of prescribing steroids for the baby’s underdeveloped lungs and early delivery, but we believed God for a full term baby, and guess what… our son, Paul, was born two hours into the 40th week! When the nurses talked about how quickly things were happening the night I went into labor, I told them: “We have to wait until midnight… we have to make it into the 40th week!” Well two hours later, Paul was delivered… a full term baby.
I remember endless hours in the hospital listening to the incessant heartbeat of hope as the monitors recorded the baby’s heartbeat, wondering why I had to go through the agonizing uncertainty and pain, and the Lord gave me these precious words from scripture:
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)
This was a defining time in the life of our family, a time marked by fear and faith, hope and surrender. God used these trials triumphantly in elevating our faith level, deepening our surrender. At a very young age, my daughter Ruth saw God’s amazing intervention and His power revealed in so many difficult circumstances. I saw the community of faith rally around me through prayer, and countless people supported me in so many practical ways. Together, we celebrated life.
For the past 21 years, it has been an incredible joy to see Paul grow in spirit and stature – from the stages of infancy and childhood, and now into young adulthood. I remember the joyful day he prayed to receive Jesus Christ as His Savior. Now a senior at Liberty University, Paul is a self-proclaimed “Kingdom Kid,” training in Worship, Biblical Studies and Business so he can dedicate His life towards the purposes of the God who gave him life – through creation and redemption – and so fulfill His potential. I love Paul’s audacious authenticity, his uncompromising convictions, His love for God and desire to impact this generation with transformational worship, and his great burden to bring about justice to people groups trapped by poverty and slavery. I pray that God will truly be glorified through his life.
Every year on November 11, I remind Paul that he is my son of promise, a gift of God’s grace, designed for His glory. I echo the words of Hannah’s dedication of her son in 1 Samuel 1:27,28 – “For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord.”
In my darkest hours, the greatest anchor of my hope was the precious promises of the Bible which strengthened my faith in an unprecedented way, and showed me God’s amazing power and providence… reminding me that He is in absolute control of every situation. The words of Romans 4:20-21, expressing Abraham’s faith in the midst of impossible circumstances, became a reality in my life:
“He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.”
Every year since then, November 11 through January 26 is a time of joyful celebration in our family, remembering God’s amazing power and providence as He protected me through an excruciatingly difficult season in my life. In the midst of crises in our lives, we can rest in God’s favor and faithfulness. November 11 is indelibly marked in my mind as a constant reminder of God’s sovereign control of circumstances, the hope and encouragement of God’s precious promises in times of pain and peril, the strength and fragility of life, and the delicate balance of unwavering faith and unconditional surrender in our response to the will and purposes of God. He works out all things by His grace, and for His glory!