In early 2017, we received this testimony from a friend of our family, Bonnie Wrisley. For many years, she and her husband, Bob, were the kind neighbors to Mark’s grandparents, George and Penny Coté, in northern Pennsylvania.
Several years ago, friends of ours were expecting a new grandchild and learned about five months prior to the baby’s due date that the baby’s brain had a devastating and lethal deformity. Due to the dire prognosis, the expectation was that the baby would either be stillborn or die within minutes after her birth. The expectant parents knew this baby was a girl and named her Victoria Grace.
My heart ached for this family. As the due date grew close, I increased correspondence with the baby’s father’s Aunt Sandy who promised to let me know when Victoria Grace arrived.
The day Victoria Grace was born, Sandy sent me a message that she had arrived and was breathing on her own.
Back then, I had been working full-time at a state agency for about three years and, frequently, throughout my day, took 15 seconds away from my tasks to check my personal e-mail for new messages. After Victoria Grace was born, I increased my e-mail checks significantly. Considering I had been checking my personal e-mail several times a day for three or more years, it would not be an exaggeration to say that I had checked my e-mail 500 or more times prior to Victoria Grace’s birth.
It’s important to note that each time I checked my personal e-mail on my work computer, I was given a 5-digit code to enter as a security measure since my e-mail software recognized it as a public computer. An example of the code would be:
NEVER, in each of those codes that were prompted, at random by the computer software, had the five digits ever spelled a real word.
Victoria Grace was born mid-week and I expected each new message from Sandy to say that the baby had passed away. But the days went by and the weekend came with the updates stating that Victoria Grace was still alive. At home over the weekend, I kept my e-mail open and checked it every time I walked near my computer. After five days, Victoria Grace was still fighting for her life.
As I was getting ready for work on Tuesday morning, I started toward my computer to check on Victoria Grace. The phone rang and when the call ended, I realized I was running late and immediately left for work. [The phone call I received was from our oldest daughter. This is significant because in all of the time we lived in NH (10 years), this is the ONLY time she called us on a weekday morning. In fact, I cannot remember EVER getting a call from her on a weekday morning since she knew we would be getting ready for work, and since she often worked the early morning shift].
Throughout the 30-mile drive all I could think of was turning on my computer the minute I arrived at my desk and checking my personal e-mail for news of Victoria Grace.
As planned, I fired up my computer, clicked on the link to my personal e-mail and looked at the 5-digit code I had been given. My heart stopped beating when I saw:
Victoria Grace had died that morning.
Isaiah 41:8-10 (NASB)
8 “But you, Israel, My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
Descendant of Abraham My friend,
9 You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its remotest parts
And said to you, ‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you and not rejected you.
10 ‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’”
“There can never be any mistake about the hurt of the Lord’s word when it comes to His child; but the point of the hurt is the great point of revelation.”
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, March 1