The Answer Came Immediately
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“The Answer Came Immediately,” Ensign, Mar. 1995, 53–54

The Answer Came Immediately

“Nothing is greater than being a father,” my father often said. Hearing these words constantly helped shape me as I grew up. By the time I arrived home from my mission, I could hardly wait for the blessing of marriage and fatherhood.

In 1976, when our first child, Laura, was born, I finally learned firsthand just how great fatherhood is. Our second child, Jonathan, was born in August 1978. Being a father both surpassed my expectations and challenged me more than I thought it would. Great responsibility came with the blessing.

One night in December, just a few months after Jonathan was born, I was left to fend for our children’s needs while my wife performed with her sisters at a singing engagement. Though I had two years of experience, I still considered myself a novice father.

All was going well until something horrible seemed to take over Jonathan. Suddenly, he began to scream and cry. When he screamed, his entire body would go rigid and shake. When he was out of breath, he would go limp until the next scream. He would then again shake, go rigid, and arch his back in pain.

I tried my best to assist our three-month-old. I tried to rock him in the rocking chair, and I walked around the house trying to calm him. I attempted to feed him and burp him, and I changed his diaper. I checked for restrictive clothing and unhooked pins. Nothing helped in the slightest.

Panicking as any young father might, I began calling the mothers I knew. My mother had always seemed to know what to do when I was sick as a child, but this time she was not home. Neither was my mother-in-law or stepmother. Jonathan kept screaming and crying, going rigid and then limp.

After doing all I could, I knew I had to take the problem to the Lord. I took Jonathan into the bedroom and laid him on the bed, then knelt beside him and put my hands on his tiny head. Summoning all my faith and priesthood authority, I gave him a father’s blessing over his screams and crying. Two-year-old Laura stood by intently with her arms folded, bowing her head and closing her eyes with the faith of a child.

I commanded that Jonathan’s distress cease, and I blessed him that he would be healed. As soon as I said, “Amen,” he quit crying. He stopped going rigid and then limp, and he again began acting normally. I sat down in the rocking chair with our baby son, and within minutes he was peacefully asleep.

Knowing full well where my assistance came from, I gave silent thanks so as not to disturb Jonathan’s sleep. After I put him to bed, he slept peacefully all night. He didn’t even wake up at his regular feeding time. The next day he was just fine, and he never again experienced anything like what he’d suffered that night.

I am humbled by the privilege and honor of being a father and a priesthood holder. Although we don’t always know how the Lord will answer a prayer or respond to the words of a blessing, I am grateful for the results of Jonathan’s blessing that night—it was the first time I had received such an immediate answer to prayer, and it made a great impression upon me. I will always be grateful to the Lord for his mercy in answering heartfelt prayers.

  • Martin Fairbanks serves as a home teacher in the Willow Canyon Second Ward, Sandy Utah East Stake.