I grew up listening each week to Paul Harvey on the radio. One of my favorite segments was when he would share stories about famous people without indicating who he was talking about until the very end. His signature tagline as he finished was, “And now you know the rest of the story.” I loved The Rest of the Story.
Several years ago, I came to appreciate those words — “the rest of the story” — more greatly than I thought possible.
The Big Trip
It was October 25, 2009. The morning started out with the normal chaos of last minute packing, hurrying and scurrying about making final preparations before the big trip — but this was no ordinary big trip. My family and I had been living in England for nearly three and a half years and now it was time to go home. Only I would not be going with them. I still hadn’t found a job to return to, so my company allowed me to stay an extra month while I continued my search. Meanwhile my wife and four children (13, 9, 6, and 2) were going back to Denver, CO.
As you might imagine, my wife felt overwhelmed with the prospect of traveling with the children without me. Going through airports was daunting enough when she was by herself, (she HATES airports!) but going through three airports with four children and all of the luggage that goes along with that, as well as having to deal with customs, seemed like trying to climb Mount Everest. But it had to be done, and being the amazing person she is, she went forward with faith, trusting in the Lord that somehow they would make it. Little did she know that morning how much her faith would be tested before the end of the day.
In the midst of all the scurrying, my two-year-old son came into the room and let out a barking cough that sounded like a seal. Oh no! Croupy cough! I thought. That was a major concern because whenever he got a croupy cough, my son, at that point in his life, always got really bad asthma. I asked my wife if she had his inhaler and she assured me she did, so I felt a little less concerned. I immediately thought, however, “I need to give him a priesthood blessing before they leave.” That was my good intention. Yet in the rush to get everything done and get the family out the door, I forgot until after they were already gone.
Fast forward eight or nine hours. Later that afternoon, I received a call from my mother-in-law. My wife and the children had arrived safely in Chicago, but all was not well. My son was really struggling to breathe and in the urgency to get through customs and get their bags re-checked, my wife forgot to grab his inhaler and the spacer that he had to have (it had a mask to put over his nose and the inhaler was placed at the other end of a tube that attached to the mask because he was too small to take it directly) in order to use it. Now they were at the gate and my wife sat there cradling our boy, at a loss as to what to do for him. She prayed mightily and felt like she should call and ask her mom to get in touch with me and ask me to pray, hence the phone call.
I immediately knelt down with the phone and I and my mother-in-law did indeed pray mightily. I felt horribly guilty for forgetting to give my boy a blessing and for not being there with my wife in her time of need. With those feelings swirling around my heart and mind, I plead with the Lord to bless my dear sweetheart with comfort and wisdom to know what to do. I prayed with all my heart for my boy, that his breathing would somehow get better and that all would be okay. I closed the prayer saying, “Nevertheless, Thy will, not mine, be done,” trusting that somehow everything would be okay. Then I hung up.
Over the next three hours I returned to my knees several times. When I wasn’t kneeling, I was praying in my heart. As the time neared that they should have arrived in Denver, I keep looking at the clock and hoping to hear the sound of my phone ringing. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, it did ring, and my wife’s lovely voice greeted my ears. She let me know that they had arrived safely in Denver and were at my mother-in-law’s town home. I then asked her what had happened in Chicago, and she told me to sit down while she told me “the rest of the story.”
A God of Miracles
After hanging up with her mother, my wife sat there and started weeping openly. The woman next to her was kind enough to ask if there was anything she could do for her. My sweetheart explained the situation with our boy and lamented the fact that she’d left his inhaler in the luggage and didn’t know what to do for him.
The woman listened carefully and then spoke up and said, “Well, I have an inhaler here. From what you’ve said, I believe it is the same as your boy’s.”
My wife looked at it and it was exactly the same. But then she said, “I still can’t use it for him, however. He’s too small to take it by mouth. He needs a mask with a spacer tube, and I left his in his luggage with the inhaler.”
Just then a man next to the woman spoke. “I apologize for not saying anything sooner. I’m a doctor. If we can find a cup that we can punch a hole through, we can use that as a spacer.”
A woman across the aisle then spoke up and said, “I have a plastic cup here, will that do?”
“Yes,” the doctor responded, and took the cup from her.
In no time, the doctor had a hole through the cup and was able to insert the inhaler. My wife was then able to use it and within a few minutes my son’s breathing improved.
My wife thanked everyone involved profusely and then bowed her head in prayer and thanked Heavenly Father for that blessed miracle.
The Rest of the Story
But the miracles weren’t through. Though she was comforted that our son’s breathing was better, she still longed for the comfort that could only come through knowing that he had received a priesthood blessing. As she prayed, she poured out her desires to our loving Heavenly Father, pleading that somehow a missionary would be sent her way so she could recognize a priesthood holder and get a blessing for our son.
No sooner had she opened her eyes and looked up, when a young man in a suit with a missionary name tag was walking through the airport right in front of her. She called out to him and he, and his father who was walking with him, came over to her.
“Could you please give my boy a blessing? He’s having trouble breathing. This woman was kind enough to let me user her inhaler, so he’s breathing better for now, but I’d feel a lot better if he had a blessing.”
The young man had oil with him. He anointed my son and then he and his father gave my boy a blessing.
Our son was fine for the rest of the trip. By the time they arrived in Denver, he was breathing almost normally.
Was it just luck that a woman with the same kind of inhaler ended up sitting next to my wife in the Chicago airport? Was it just a happy chance that a doctor who knew what to do just happened to be there, or that a woman with a plastic cup was also right nearby? Was it just a “one of those things” that a missionary was walking by at exactly the right time?
Were all of these things just coincidences? No. I don’t believe in coincidences. I do believe, and know, that we have a loving Heavenly Father who hears the prayers of those who put their trust in Him, and prepares a way for them to be answered. I know that the power of the priesthood is real. I know that God is a God of miracles.
And now you know “the rest of the story.”
Randall McNeely is a husband, father of five, and author. He is also a singer/songwriter and has written several patriotic songs, children’s songs, and multiple religious hymns. The best known is 'Oh Jesus, Savior of Mankind', which won a Special Recognition award in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints 2008 Music Submission contest. He and two of his daughters have also recorded and released the children’s song Everybody Speaks Smile! Randy has a firm testimony of Jesus Christ. He is the light and the life of the world. It is said and written of Him that "He went about doing good." In doing so, He weaved light into the hearts and souls of all with whom He came in contact, both in word and deed. Randy's desire is to have the same said of him. He wants to have the words and lyrics he writes uplift, inspire, and bless others. To read more articles by Randy visit his Pure Testimony website at www.puretestimony.org.