As I approached the cardiac intensive care unit (expecting Joud to be in the room she was in last week), I was surprised to see Joud’s grandmother exit the secondary intensive care unit (this is a lower acuity unit). I was very happy to see her, as it has been 4 days since we were laughing together in the hospital waiting area. We embraced and exchanged greetings, and she asked if I wanted to visit Joud in the secondary intensive care unit.  Joud is no longer on the CPAP machine. She is still on oxygen support, but thankfully with very little support. Her nurse was very pleased with Joud’s improvement. Though Joud’s grandmother prefers for her photo not to be taken, she allowed for Joud’s photo to be taken today. We spent time simply holding Joud’s tiny hands.

I love Joud’s name, because to me it sounds like “Judah”. This word derives from the Hebrew origin meaning “praised”. While with Joud, I was reminded of Psalm 95:1-5.

Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.  In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he and his hands formed the dry land.

We praise God, our great God who formed the universe with his hands, for Joud’s improvement. Joud’s cousin, Ahmed, recently arrived from Gaza to the hospital to receive congenital heart defect corrective surgery. We pray for both Joud and Ahmed, for Christ to be glorified throughout their hospital journeys.