In record time Andi saddled Taffy and the two tore off to Andi’s special spot by the creek. She tried to keep the tears in check without success.
As soon as she got there she jumped down from Taffy’s back and ground-tied the palomino. Collapsing on the ground against a large oak tree she began praying aloud. “God, please take care of my family! Please take care of Justin. Doc Weaver says he’s bad off. He has been almost like a second father to me since our Father died. God, if I lost Justin I---”
Andi stopped mid-sentence as a new thought hit her. She hadn’t realized until now that Justin, or Chad or Melinda for that matter, could actually die from the influenza. She continued her prayer as fresh tears wet her cheeks. “God, I’m putting myself and my family in your hands. Please make those sick well and give us all strength as only you can. Amen.”
Andi, feeling better after her talk with The Lord mounted up on Taffy and turned towards the ranch.
When Andi hurried through the main door she meet the Carter’s foreman, Sid McCoy, and Diego, carrying out a stretcher with a man on it. The man’s face was covered with a sheet.
Andi gasped. Please Lord, Please don’t let that be Justin or Chad. Without thinking to ask Diego or Sid who it was she turned and ran upstairs with tears coursing down her face.
Andi stepped quietly into Justin’s room, where Justin and Chad had been sleeping before she went riding. Justin’s bed was neatly made and Chad was asleep. Nobody else was there. She frantically looked around as the tears multiplied, No not Justin!! Please God no!
She turned and ran out the door and down the hallway.
As Andi started to enter the room where Melinda was, she met her mother coming out. “Oh, Mother!” Andi sobbed throwing herself into her mother’s arms. “I saw them carry a man out and Justin isn’t in his room! Mother, where is he?” Andi wept uncontrollably, feeling her heart was breaking.
“Andrea, it’s alright sweetie,” her mother comforted her. “Justin is fine.”
Andi looked up into her mother’s face, “Where is he, Mother?”
“He woke up while you were gone. He’s in the guest room. His fever broke and Dr. Weaver says he’ll pull through this,” her mother smiled.
“That wasn’t Justin. He going to be alright!” Andi said, more to herself than to her mother.
“Would you like to see him?” Elizabeth asked.
Andi simply nodded.
Andi stepped in to the room. Justin was propped up in a bed next to the window. He turned and smiled at her when she came in. Andi sat on the side of his bed, “I love you Justin. I was worried about you.”
“I know, sweetie. I love you too.” He reached over and gently took her hand. “You’re upset. What’s wrong?”
“Oh, Justin it was awful!” Andi began. “I came in the door just as Diego and Sid were carrying a man out. His face was covered and I was worried. I came upstairs and went into your room and Chad was there, but you weren’t.” Andi’s shoulders shook as she cried. “I thought you were---” She stopped.
“Come here, sweetheart,” Justin said holding his arms out to her, knowing what she had assumed. She immediately accepted. It felt good be held and to cry on Justin’s shoulder. He held her and gently brushed over her hair with his hand until her sobbing quieted.
“How is everyone?” Justin asked when Andi straightened up.
She wiped her eyes and answered, “Well, yesterday everyone was dangerously sick. Especially you.” Andi paused before continuing in a whisper, “This morning Dr. Weaver said he didn’t know if you would make it.”
Justin squeezed her hand, “Who is everyone?”
“You, Chad, and Melinda. Mitch hasn’t---” Andi stopped and turned around at the sound of her mother’s voice. Elizabeth was standing in the doorway, “Andi, could you come to the room where Chad is for a moment, please?”
“Coming,” Andi replied as her mind now filled with worry for Chad. She quickly told Justin goodbye, and hurried after her mother. Please let Chad be alright, Lord. We don’t always see eye to eye, but he’s still my brother and I love him dearly.
She took a deep breath and entered the room. Dr. Weaver, Diego, and Mother were hovered around the bed where Justin had been only an hour earlier. Chad was still asleep as he had been when Andi had seen him a few minutes ago. If Chad is still sleeping, why did Mother call me? Andi wondered as she stepped over next to her mother.
Andi gasped and held back tears when she saw who lay there, “Oh, no! Not Mitch, too!”
Her mother reached out to hug her, “It’s all right, Andrea. We’ve been through a lot together as a family, and we’ll get through this too.”
That night Andi knelt by her bed to pray. “God, please heal Chad, Melinda, and Mitch. And thank you for healing Justin. Please keep Mother well and give us all strength. Amen.”
As she stood and started to climb under the covers part of a verse she had memorized in Sunday School popped into her head. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick.... James 5:15
Andi paused and repeated the verse aloud. “The prayer of faith. I need to have faith in God to heal my family.”
She returned to her knees in prayer. “Dear God, I’m putting my faith in you. I know you can heal my siblings. And I know you will if I place my trust in you, because you are a miracle working God. Thank you for always listening. Amen.”
Hope filled her heart and she sleep peacefully all night.
The next morning Andi quickly dressed and hurried down the hall. She met her mother coming out of the guest room. Elizabeth’s eyes were full of tears but she was smiling.
“Andrea! I was just coming to see if you were awake. Chad asked to see you.”
“Chad! Is he alright?”
“Yes, dear. His fever broke in the night, so did Melinda’s.” She smiled.
“Mother I remembered a Bible verse last night. James 5:15. God healed them.”
“And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.” Elizabeth quoted.
Andi gasped. “You know the verse?”
Elizabeth nodded. “I read it last night before I went to bed.”
“It’s a miracle.” Andi whispered.
“Yes I believe it is, dear.” Elizabeth smiled.
Later that afternoon Andi was walking past the door to Chad’s room when she heard something. Dr. Weaver had had Chad moved to the guest room with Justin, so only Mitch was there now.
“Psst! Psst! Andi!”
Andi slowly opened the door and slipped inside. “Mitch! You’re awake!”
“Yep.” He gave her a lopsided grin. “Anything to eat around here?”
“Eat?” Andi gently pressed the back of get hand against his forehead. “You don’t feel hot.”
Andi called down the hall, “Mother! Dr. Weaver!”
Elizabeth entered the room with the doctor right behind her. “What’s the matter, Andrea? Mitch! How are you?”
“Hungry,” Mitch smiled at his mother.
Dr. Weaver placed his hand across Mitch’s forehead. “No fever.” He pulled the covers down to Mitch’s waist and placing his stethoscope against Mitch chest, listened. Andi and Elizabeth held their breath and waited.
“And no pneumonia. In a few days you’ll be back to your normal self.” The doctor said.
“Thank you, God!” Elizabeth said.
“Amen to that.” Dr. Weaver agreed. “Andi, Elizabeth. I’d like to speak with you.”
Elizabeth nodded and followed the doctor out the door.
“Be right back, Mitch.” Andi squeezed his hand and hurried out the door after her mother.
In the hallway Dr. Weaver turned to Elizabeth. “I’m going to be honest with you, Elizabeth. For a while there I really wasn’t sure if any of them would make it, much less all of them. It’s truly a miracle.”
Elizabeth smiled, “A miracle.” She repeated.
“A Carter family miracle.” Andi smiled.
“Hey, little sister!” A voice called from the nearest bedroom. “Bring something to eat. I’m so hungry I could eat a horse!”
Andi laughed, “Not my horse you won’t, Mitch Carter!”
Elizabeth and Dr. Weaver joined in the laughter.
Andi’s heart felt filled to the brim and it felt so good to laugh!
~ The End ~