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You Entitle This!

February 17, 2011

Because it could be “God provides for Parenting,” or “A Miraculous Delivery,” or “A Faithful Father,” or “A Continuing Celebration,” or whatever else you see in this marvelous little story of God’s grace (I just love the cost-of-living scale then, too!):

Life wasn’t easy for us in the summer of 1963. Kent was both a full-time college student and a full-time swing-shift worker in a factory in East Los Angeles. Barbara was two weeks away from the delivery of our first child. Though we had saved carefully and lived on very little, school was so expensive that, according to our calculations, we would only have about $160 when the baby arrived. Not nearly enough, for the hospital cost was $250 and the doctor was another $250. We had no idea what to do – except pray, which we certainly did.

What happened is unforgettable. Barbara went to the doctor for her regular checkup. As the doctor, who was not a churchgoing man, perused her chart, he noticed that Kent was planning to attend seminary. He asked a couple of questions, then casually remarked, ‘We don’t charge the cloth.” Barbara was perplexed: ‘What’s the cloth?” He explained that cloth meant the clergy-preachers. All that we now needed was the $250 for the hospital.

When the night came for the birth of our lovely daughter Holly, Kent put on his Sunday best and escorted Barbara to the hospital for the sacred event. Perhaps the doctor was just being kind when he said that Kent was the most excited father he had ever seen. We like to think it was true.

There was only one problem – Kent had only $163 in his wallet. When he returned to claim his two “girls” and stood nervously before the cashier, waiting for the bill, he tried to think of what to say to convince her that he would pay. She then presented him with the grand total: $160. She explained that Barbara had been admitted just as the day was changing; we were charged for one less day. With the extra three dollars in hand, Kent ran from the cashier to the florist with just enough money to lavish a bouquet on his wife.

August 10, 1963, became a treasured stone of remembrance for the two of us. God miraculously met our needs, giving us a substantive sign of his smile upon our family. And the undiminished joy of that occasion was repeated three more times in the next few years – each time with increased intensity of joy. As a matter of fact, the birth of our first child set the tone for the entire experience of raising our family of four to maturity. It has been a continuing celebration.

Kent & Barbara Hughes, Common Sense Parenting, 15-16.

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