Before David and Sherry Null’s daughter Tatum was born, David had drifted far from the Christian roots he had been brought up with. When he looked into his daughter’s eyes for the very first time, he became a believer once again and from that moment forward, he had an undying faith and a strong belief in the power of prayer. The way David and Sherry talk to God, the strength of their devotion to Him, their firm belief that prayer can change outcomes, was one of the reasons I wanted to share this family’s story in my book.
Tatum went into sudden liver failure when she was just seven years old, and the first thing that brought comfort to Sherry and David when their daughter was admitted to the hospital was a prayer chain that eventually led outside of the U.S. and into other countries. They had a prayer pager buzzing “143,” the universal numbers for “I love you,” every few minutes during the unthinkable life and almost-death situation they were forced to face.
Excerpt from book:
“You’ve got to pray for us,” Sherry said, hugging him tightly when he came into the room with David. “Pray that God’s will be done; pray that we stay strong, no matter what happens.”
Sure that the words “she’s gone” were waiting just around the corner, Sherry bowed her head and closed her eyes, praying harder than she had ever prayed, crying more than she had ever cried, believing deeper than she had ever believed.
Larry finished the prayer, and within moments, Dr. Shore plunged through the waiting room doors with a shining smile.
“She’s okay!” he blurted, explaining that either during the exploratory surgery or during intubation at Medical City, a small hole was poked into Tatum’s lung. Her chest cavity had slowly filled with air, pushing her heart to the side and causing it to beat irregularly.
“I inserted a catheter under her left armpit to release the air,” Dr. Shore said. “We’ve got her stable now.”
David and Sherry’s hearts were still racing and settling when Sherry wiped her eyes and smirked.
“Okay, God. I will not doubt you again,” she said in a silent prayer for Tatum’s transplant the next day.
And Sherry never doubted. Not once. From that point on in this family’s story, and in their lives, prayer was a constant companion, a guiding light. The night before Tatum’s transplant, her stable condition crashed, once again, and they were left to wonder if they were going to lose their little girl.
“She’s stable now and hardly on any meds,” said the nurse, who had apparently taken over the calm of the storm that had occurred just a few hours back. “She’s ready for her transplant today. They’ll take her back to surgery around 3:00 p.m.
David just looked at Sherry, any hope of understanding gone.
“It was that prayer,” he said quietly.
“It sure was.”
I could add ten more excerpts from the book to illustrate how powerful prayer was in the lives of the Null family, but I won’t. I’d prefer you read the story to see how it ends, and to see how God’s work continued in their lives, serving as reminders to the rest of us what the power of prayer can bring to our own lives.