Words of Faith


Several years ago we were blessed with a baby son. The month prior to his birth seemed very long as my husband, Roy, and I, plus our three older children, awaited the arrival of our baby.

Finally the great day came and we were all delighted with this little child from God. We decided to name him Jonathan.

However, the excitement of Jonathan’s arrival was soon marred when, at only 12 days old, he was admitted to the hospital with a condition doctors called bronchiolitis. He was showing signs of pneumonic infection in his right lung, had lost all interest in feeding, and was very distressed. As I handed him to the nurses in the hospital, I felt so helpless. What could I do to make my little son well? He was so tiny and frail.

Because Jonathan had been admitted to the hospital so suddenly, I needed to contact my husband at work. When Roy finally arrived I could tell he, too, was anxious for our son’s well-being. For a few hours the doctors carried out various tests and took X rays. We were eager to have some quiet moments alone with Jonathan so my husband could administer to him. When the opportunity came, he placed his hands upon Jonathan’s tiny head and whispered a short blessing. I had never seen Roy so nervous.

Afterward I awaited the comfort I hoped to feel, but it did not come. I worried and felt guilty for thinking the words Roy had said were inadequate. I had wanted him to utter a refined and eloquent blessing—one that would automatically heal our son. I felt numb, as if the whole experience were unreal.

I watched the nurses come and go as they brought various equipment to my son’s bedside table: tubes to ease his breathing, tubes to force-feed him if that became necessary, and syringes to administer medication. Jonathan’s medical needs were being met, but still I felt no comfort.

Then, slowly, a great warmth began to spread over me, a great sense of peace. The guilt I felt over doubting Roy’s priesthood blessing disappeared as I realized Heavenly Father was aware of our need. A strong witness came to me that it was not the words Roy chose to use in his blessing that were important; what mattered was the faith that both Roy and I had in the power of the priesthood.

Faith was the key. I recognized how grateful I was for the life my husband led and for his worthiness to fulfill his priesthood responsibilities. I was grateful for the faith he showed in calling upon our Father in Heaven even though he felt inadequate. And I was grateful for the knowledge I gained that faith can bring the influence and blessings of the Spirit into our lives.

A few days after Jonathan was admitted to the hospital, his bedside table was cleared of all the unused tubes. He ate hungrily and began to put on weight. Five days later he was discharged, well on the road to recovery.

Jonathan’s illness may not have been a life-or-death situation, but it was the first time our family experienced the kind of anxiety serious illness can bring. Through it all, I learned a great lesson on faith.

Andra MacDonald serves as Young Women president in the Bangor Second Ward, Belfast Northern Ireland Stake.