6 months have crept by. 6 months have sped by. 6 months have happened around us. We have endured, lived, embraced, loved, cried, worried, prayed, wondered, questioned, tiptoed, stomped, raged, wept, worshipped, and praised through 6 months. 6 months since we wondered whether our son would come home or go to heaven. 6 months since we knew our son was in God’s hands. 6 months since doctors said there wasn’t anything they could do but wait.
But we knew we were waiting on God.
I don’t talk a lot about the conversations I had with God starting from the moment I laid eyes on his crumpled body, through the drive to the hospital where I tried to help my 11-year-old understand this wasn’t his fault, or as I sat in a waiting room, not allowed to be by my son’s side.
How do I tell you I gave God ultimatums in that moment, like I knew what was best? Like it would be only my way or I wouldn’t be content or satisfied? Like I forgot that God knew the deep pain of watching His child suffer, and in His case, die?
But that’s what I did. Do this, or this, but not this, God. I prayed, I cried, I begged. I do remember, in the fog of it all, thanking God for all of the hard things I’d ever walked through leading me to a place where I knew, above all, that He is good. But my feelings were ahead of the moments we were living – I was upset by an outcome I didn’t yet know.
And then my son’s fingers curled around my own and squeezed, in the wee hours of the morning, after hourly checks with little response. Suddenly, response was happening. I remember at each check, wondering if there would be new signs, or not. And when there was a new sign, I felt robbed by the medication that was supposed to let his brain and body rest. JUST TURN IT OFF, I wanted to shout. Just let me see his eyes again.
I remember listening to a doctor tell me they didn’t think he would survive, and if he did live through the event, they didn’t know how much brain function or physical function he would have. Be prepared for a long road, it could take years for him to recover, IF he even does. In a short (didn’t feel short at the time) 24 hours, I watched a miracle of God unfold. My son gained responses hourly, tried to speak around his ventilator, was extubated, sat up, and tried to climb out of bed.
My only response, in the moment, was gratitude. I knew God did this and I didn’t ask why. I just thanked Him. Over and over. The hours ticked by and improvement after improvement saw us leaving the pediatric intensive care unit just 3 days after arriving, and 2 days after that, we discharged from the hospital. The long road ahead proved incredibly short in the middle of the medical emergency turned into a miracle. (Not that it has been easy since we were released, but that’s a different topic for a different day.)
I never, in my wildest dreams, thought guilt would be associated with receiving a miracle. Gratitude, praise, joy, elation, all good feelings and thoughts came to mind. But never a thought that guilt could show up. That the very enemy of God would point at another family, and whisper with a hiss, “Why you? Why not them?” And make me question God. Why God? Why us? Why not them?
The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. And if he’s got to watch God do a miracle for you, he’s going to try to steal all joy, kill all hope, and destroy all belief that the miracle you received was from God, on purpose. I don’t write this to warn you of something I know nothing about. I write this because I’m living through it.
I find myself locked up, not proclaiming the goodness of what God has done in our family just 6 short months ago, because I can’t figure out why He hasn’t done it for someone else. Maybe not because I think I’m less deserving of a miracle, but certainly because I know I didn’t pray eloquent, heavenly words, filled with Old English, King James speak and a million and two bible verses.
I gave God an ultimatum. This, or this God, but not that. I won’t praise You for that. I don’t want to walk through that. That is not how I pictured my life.
I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound much like surrender to me. That sounds like desperately trying to control something that is spinning wildly out of my control. But God didn’t give me that. He gave me this. And I feel guilty.
I know of another family that is living through a much different outcome. Similar onset, we could be sharing a very similar story, but we aren’t. And every single time I hear their names and their story, I am jarred with a stabbing guilt. And if I don’t deal with it carefully and quickly, it is paralyzing. It wrecks my communication with God for days. It makes me feel so numb inside that my fingers tingle on the outside. It is almost unreal how much it affects me emotionally and physically.
I have learned that only 2 things keep me from being wrecked for days with guilt.
- Praising God immediately and sincerely for doing a miracle for our family.
- Praying for healing and restoration for the other family.
#2 doesn’t always come easy. It comes with tears, sobbing, weeping. It comes with begging God to tell me how to pray so He will move on their behalf in the same mighty way He did for us. It’s reassuring God that they’ve learned something. They have a testimony. They are faithful. Please do this for them. Sometimes it sounds like a command. Sometimes a plea. Sometimes it is soft. Sometimes I am raging.
God can handle all of me – crying me, raging me, broken me, hurting me, confused me, even guilty me. And God can calm me, give me peace that is beyond all understanding, and strength for the next breath. But God can only do those things if I don’t let go and don’t give in.
I’ve always said I want a faith like Job. Whether God gives or God takes away, that is up to God. I want to be focused on Him, on who He is, and on what He wants more than anything I’ve thought up. I can’t say I’ve achieved it, but it’s still my goal to have faith that strong.
This family that is waiting, still waiting, for a miracle, posted about Job and I found myself in tears, crying out to God for them once more, and as I’m writing, I’m wondering if they want a faith like Job’s, too.
Job’s faith started when it was easy, it grew when it got tough, and it carried him when it seemed unbearable. He had to walk through all three to be refined. Maybe, just maybe, God knows what He is doing in, through, and for this other family. Maybe the refinement they are receiving is actually solidifying a faith like Job’s.
I’m not going to give up praying for a miracle for them. I believe we serve a God of miracles. I’ve watched Him do one before my very eyes, just 6 very short months ago. Now I wait for Him to reveal Himself in a great move and a great miracle for another family facing the unthinkable with their son.
Until next time,