The Longest Night

It has been an eventful final week at Winamac First UMC. I’m preparing for my final Sunday, finishing my final visits with our homebound members, and continuing the packing process. In the midst of my final plans, there was an unexpected event a few nights ago. I received a late phone call from one of our members that his three week old son, who I baptized last Sunday, had an accident and was in ER. I immediately jumped out of bed and drove to the hospital, which happens from time to time.

When I arrived at the hospital, I learned that the little one had some bleeding on the brain and needed to be air lifted to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. I have been to Riley on several occasions and offered to drive the parents to Indy. It was late, they were tired and scared, so I offered to take them myself. They were having the same emotions any parent would have, concern about their son, worry, and uneasiness about giving permission for their little one to be flown to the hospital alone.

We prayed together. I tried my best to offer encouraging words. The entire time the little one’s parents focus was on the well being of their son. I realized at some point during the longest night that I was witnessing the most powerful love between these parents and their son. Even in the midst of the challenges and anxiety, their love and care for their child never left. That was a beautiful thing to witness.

After the helicopter left Winamac, we eventually began our road trip to Indianapolis. I believe it was around 1:30am. It was good to spend time with them in the car even under such circumstances. We talked about life, trips, church, anything to keep their minds off of the situation. I felt kind of selfish at times, because I enjoyed simply being with them so much. With little to no traffic on the roads we finally arrived at Riley around 3:30am. It was good to know that the father’s sister and fiancee had already arrived. They were a welcome sight to us all. Again, in the midst of worry, I got to witness the love and strength of family.

When the doctor came to meet with the family at some point in the night, he was able to offer the good news that the baby would heal with no problems. His announcement came as welcome news to all of us, almost like the Gospel being heard for the first time. There was relief, joy, and even some laughter.

Last Sunday, I decided to challenge myself to seek God’s grace and presence in every moment, especially during my final week at Winamac First. I never expected to be driving through Indianapolis at 3:00am with dear friends who were greatly concerned about the welfare of their three week old baby. Even so, God’s grace and presence was there. While I prayed aloud and silently and as the baby was being held and taken care of, God’s presence was all around us.

It was the longest night. Actually, it was a night that never really ended, as none of us slept. When I finally arrived back in Winamac the next day, I did get a little over an hour of sleep before a farewell party for me with the congregation. While it was a long night for me, it wasn’t as long as the night my friends had. It really was the longest night for them. Together, they made it through and baby will be fine.

Even during the longest night, God’s grace and presence is all around, in the darkness, in the worry, and in every single moment. Thanks be to God for that.


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