Some events permanently mark our lives. Such was the case, eighteen years ago, when my wife and I lost a set of triplets to premature childbirth, at 21 weeks gestation. Jocelyn lived half an hour, Jonathan died during delivery, and Jeremiah had already expired in the womb. Though thousands had been praying for us and our children, they didn’t live. Yet, in the midst of the most miserable day of our lives, we have never felt God’s comforting presence so close. Although we didn’t understand, we trusted, and kept trusting. Through the years, God has brought amazing healing and blessing to our lives, with many answers to prayer.
Two years ago, we were introduced to Matt and Alissa Peppley. The Peppley’s were pregnant with a little girl they named Anna Joy. Physicians had informed Matt and Alissa that unborn Anna Joy only had half a heart, plus serious deficiencies in her lungs. They were told her chances of survival, even with surgery, would only be about 10%.
Instead of giving up, they asked for prayer, for miracles. Friends, relatives, churches—they asked for prayer from everyone they knew, who in turn related the prayer request to others. FaceBook; internet blog (the entire incredible story is on http://babyannajoy.blogspot.com); email; television news… By the time it was over, Anna Joy’s prayer team numbered in the tens of thousands. Through it all, the faith and courage of the entire Peppley family was amazing. We were expecting miracles. Faith was high. Quite literally, a million prayers had gone up for this little girl!
A beautiful Anna Joy was born December 8, 2011. Though the heart surgery which took place that same day was successful, there was nothing which could be done for her undeveloped lungs, and Anna Joy passed away on December 19. She had lived eleven days. I watched grief-filled family members take turns holding her for the first and last time, as her life quietly slipped away. Alissa held her beautiful daughter in her arms and sang her to heaven. It was absolutely heartbreaking.
Thousands of us grieved with Matt and Alissa over a little life which lasted a mere eleven days. I asked God for words of comfort for this family I had come to love and respect so much. The recurring theme in my mind was, “I knew I could trust you.” God knew if there was anyone He could trust with this situation, it was Matt and Alissa Peppley! Rarely had I seen such faith and courage in action. I worked on a song for them for months, trying to convey a message of comfort from God.
On the morning our triplets would have turned 18, I awoke with a chorus in my mind, complete with words and music: “The answers will come in heaven; healing will come in time, but the peace I give is for you, right now. Receive it, and know you are mine…” I completed the song for the Peppley’s, “I Knew I Could Trust You,” with the chorus God had given me, and sang it for them.
However, that song is eleven minutes long! It’s like a short cantata! I thought of the many other people with empty arms who might like some comfort, but maybe not eleven minutes’ worth, so I cut the song in half! Here it is. I pray God will grant His great comfort to you in whatever measure you might need. If there’s anything I’ve learned in life, it’s that God can be trusted. Hang on! We’ll get our answers in heaven; we can have His peace right now.
Dave Ness Seattle, WA