I spent the night in the neonatal intensive-care unit once with my son. It was enough to know I’d never want to be there during a power outage. My cousin in-law, a director of the NICU at a local hospital, woke up early one January morning to that very crisis. Severe winter weather resulted in a power outage, and the back-up generator lost connection with the fuel supply.
She was responsible to oversee the safe transport of several critical-condition babies by teams of professionals through darkened hallways and stairwells. With only flashlights to guide them, the teams effectively intervened. Once power was restored, the babies were safely, miraculously returned to the hospital unharmed.
When she shared the story with me, I was amazed how she could have remained so clear-minded in the midst of such chaos. She said when she arrived at the hospital, she stood in the pitch-dark stairwell of her unit thinking of all the lives that were at stake. And she prayed.
Her story reminds me of how Captain Rostron of the Carpathia responded upon hearing the distress signal from the sinking Titanic. Before taking action, shipmates observed him praying. Once they moved forward, they were able to successfully navigate the same sea of icebergs that destroyed the Titanic.
Prayer may seem to some an afterthought or a crutch. But for the person of faith, prayer is the very lifeboat that draws us to the presence of a limitless God. For my cousin as for Captain Rostron, God responded to their prayers by bringing peace and clarity of mind to navigate through an otherwise catastrophic situation.
When the lights go out in our lives, there is one who supplies greater power. He may not make the difficulties go away. He may not make them easier. But He will give us the wisdom we need to make our way, and even lead others, safely through the darkness. He will give peace that passes all understanding, when there is no other source for such peace to flow.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)