“I would have despaired (lost hope) unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Psalm 27: 13
When the call came we rushed to the phone, eager to hear the report. Our joy of hearing we had a baby brother quickly dissolved into shock and unbelief as Daddy shared that Davy was born with a severely damaged heart.
The doctor said, “There is no hope. This baby will not live to be six months old.”
I don’t remember much about the drive to the hospital. There were no words, just a sad quietness that hovered over my 5 siblings and me.
I do remember the unforgettable words our father spoke as we walked down the hospital corridor together that day. “Doctors don’t know everything….Davy’s going to be all right.”
Our brother was released from the hospital within a few days because nothing else could be done for him, other than the loan of a portable oxygen tank.
Davy was seldom in his crib for the first two and a half months of his life. When he cried, he turned blue, so we kids all took turns rocking him during the daytime. Nights were especially hard as Mother and Daddy took turns rocking and holding Davy close to their hearts; praying that God would let him live.
I remember waking during the wee hours of the morning, hearing Daddy sing the same songs of faith he sang over us when we were babies. Jesus Keep Me Near The Cross; Draw Me Nearer Blessed Lord; Have Thine Own Way Lord.
Then there was the song that was Davy’s alone; Davy, Davy Crocket.
Two and a half months later, our one thread of hope was strengthened when our family doctor shared that our baby brother might be a candidate for open-heart surgery.
So it was on a beautiful spring morning in 1964, when our parents started their long six-hour drive to the Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. At one point, they almost lost Davy as he labored to breathe with a heart that barely worked.
Mother wanted to turn around and go home, but my father’s tenacious resolve won out. He would not give up hope! Hoping a highway patrolmen would appear and escort them to the hospital, Daddy put his foot hard to the pedal. The patrolman never showed up. Perhaps an unseen angel did.
Davy was still alive when they arrived at the hospital. Within minutes, he was released into the care of the team of heart surgeons who had been awaiting his arrival. Mother and Daddy, now empty handed and worn out, made their way to the cafeteria for a bite to eat. They had barely gotten there, when a caring nurse ran after them.
“Please hurry. Your baby needs you.
Rushing back to the critical care unit, Mother and Daddy found the team of heart surgeons huddled around Davy’s incubator, seemingly helpless as they watched him gasping for breath.
When a well meaning nurse saw our parents, she yelled; “Get those parents out of here” To which the head surgeon responded, “Let those parents come in any time they want. It’s their love that’s kept this baby alive!”
With that, Daddy walked over to the incubator, reached in and held Davy’s head up and began to sing his song. “Davy, Davy Crocket, King of the wild frontier. Davy, Davy Crocket, the man who knows no fear.”
A quickened heart beat—a fresh breath of life—a miracle!
Within a short time, open-heart exploratory surgery was performed. This was the era of the ’60’s, without the modern medical technology that we now take for granted. Once the chest cavity was opened, the surgeons discovered a missing heart chamber. They later told us they would not have attempted surgery had they known this.
Many long hours later the team of amazed surgeons found my anxious parents in the waiting room. With beaming faces, they reported the surgery had been successful. “This baby will live!”
In the years to come, Davy survived three more open-heart surgeries and lived forty-five bonus years; far beyond the hopeless diagnosis of six months.
Not surprisingly, Davy grew up with a love for gospel music. One of his favorites was “How Great Thou Art“. Some of my fondest memories are the times we sat together with Davy and sang along with Bill Gaither and Friends. Seems like there was always a favorite of his to rewind and sing again. Oh how our brother loved to sing.
So what if this story had turned out different and Davy had not lived? What then? Does hope die when despairing circumstances threaten to overwhelm you?
No. There is a hope that lies beyond our present trial. The hope that came through the form of a baby born in a manger over two thousand years ago. Jesus was born to die so that our sins can be forgiven, that we might live forever. (John 3:16)
This is the reason for our hope. One glad day—Jesus will come again and make all things new. Fully redeemed and fully restored.
Where does your hope lie when trouble comes knocking at your door?
Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD. (Psalm 27:14)