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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

My Darkest Hour, My Brightest Day

By Reece Kepler
June 19, 2011

The doctor, a personable young woman, went out of her way to compliment us on doing “everything” good parents could by getting our child to a doctor and on to the hospital. Later we realized she was just trying to ease the pain we would surely face when daybreak found our baby no longer alive. But there were forces at work, the likes of which this doctor was not aware.

In April 1987 I was blessed with the birth of my second child, a “man-cub” I named John Reece. When you have a girl and a boy they call that a millionaire’s family. And I think I know why; I felt like the richest man on earth. But nine months later I found myself facing the darkest hour a man could know. My baby boy was sick — and getting sicker.

All weekend long he cried. His mother and I tried everything to ease his pain, and when the meds knocked him out, he slept. But when he woke up he cried — and cried. And I cried. Then he quit crying. He went to the sitter’s on Monday, and she said he just wanted to lie in her lap and sleep all day. When he wouldn’t wake up on Tuesday, we lost no time getting him to the doctor.

The doctor drew some blood and did a quick test. Then he said something that grips my heart to this day. “Drive him to Children’s Hospital as quickly as possible,” he said. “It would take too long to get an ambulance.”

The doctor called ahead, and they were waiting for us when we arrived. A spinal tap confirmed every parent’s worst nightmare: My baby boy had spinal meningitis. There are two types of meningitis: viral and bacterial. His was bacterial — the kind with the highest mortality rate.

I must now confess that if John Reece Kepler had to rely on the faith of his father alone to live and not die, he probably would not have seen another sunrise. I looked at the pale white complexion of that nearly lifeless rag doll of a child, and it took all the fortitude I could muster to keep from collapsing on the floor. But thank God I was not alone in this battle.

After a short while, family began to arrive at the hospital — praying family. First my parents; then my sister, Linda, and her husband, Dan; and then my brother, Joe, and his wife, Brenda, came. We stood in a circle around John’s bed to pray. But I didn’t have any prayer in me. I was whipped. And Dad was whipped. He’d stepped into the room, and at the first sight of John he lost his color too.

But it’s wonderful how God puts the right person in the right place at the right time. My brother-in-law, Dan Oden, led the prayer. And he prayed a bold prayer, a powerful prayer, a Word-of-God prayer — the kind of prayer you want when you’re at that place in life you hoped you’d never see.

My spirits started to lift. A hint of boldness began to eke its way into my heart again. In warfare there sometimes comes a point where the shift in momentum is obvious. Soon the doctor came in to check on John.

“This child is 100 percent improved over the last half hour!” he declared.

We rejoiced, but the battle was not over. It was actually at this point the personable young doctor offered her words of encouragement that failed to mask her expectation of what the night would bring. And when she came in the next morning and found our child still alive, her amazement was just as evident.

All in all, John spent 10 days and nights at Children’s Hospital. During those 10 days we were counseled on what we might encounter as a result of such a devastating illness: deafness, epilepsy, learning or behavioral disabilities, as well as decreased intelligence.

All I could think was, I don’t care! I don’t care what condition he’s in. I just want my boy to live!

John’s recovery was 100 percent. I’m not aware of a single lingering hint of the terrible battle he fought and God won. His healing was and is complete. To God be the glory!

I’ve heard people say, “God must have something special for him to have saved him from such a sure death.” I don’t agree. Oh, I believe God has something special for him, but no more than He has something special for you and for me.

So why was John healed to go on to a full and happy life when others die? I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but one thing I know: Spiritual warfare was waged, and our side was victorious!

So, John, know that God loves you, and He has a plan for your life. And son, it’s a wonderful life!

REECE KEPLER serves as a home group leader at Highpointe, an Assemblies of God congregation in Oklahoma City.

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