As I laid my head down last night to grab a couple of hours of sleep I had two heavy thoughts on my mind. I bet you can guess the first thing on my brain. After all, we’d just left the hospital and kissed our sweet grandson good night. On the 20 minute drive to my daughter’s house the second big thought began to germinate. By the time I went to bed I had a strong sense the Lord wanted me to talk about doubt in the next Justus update. Honestly, I went to bed hoping that sense would pass by the time I woke up. With my grandchild lying in a coma with Viral Encephalitis I was not the person to inspire anyone in the area of doubt. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve had a great peace that Justus is in the strong arms of Jesus. But the truth is I’ve had many moments of doubt along the way. Every time we were given bad news, I had my doubts. When Alyse or Jason would sob because of their little boy, I’d have my doubts. Preachers love giving sermons about the disciple Thomas and his doubting ways. I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but these past several days; Thomas has had nothing on me. I’m purposeful in using the word “almost”.
I mentioned the other day this added burden I feel for this online community that has formed around Justus. No one has made me feel this burden. I know it’s my own issue to work out. But I suspect some of you have dealt with the “shame” of doubt. Like me you’re praying for something and you want to believe, but this nagging doubt keeps rearing it’s ugly head. Well guess what, you’re in good company. And I don’t mean because of me! Every spiritual giant you know, if they’re honest, has had doubts. And the good news is God is not afraid of our doubts. In fact, last night as I struggled with some of this tension, I felt like Thomas as the Lord was saying, “Do not disbelieve. But believe.” Here’s the important thing I wanted you to hear. As I’m feeling this truth about belief, it wasn’t coming from a place of anger. Hear this – God’s not mad at me because I have my doubts!!! And if you have doubts – God’s not mad at you.
So as all the prayers have gone up for Justus, not only have you provided such encouragement for the family, but you’ve bolstered my resolve and tempered my doubts. But doubts still come. My head knows we’re ok, but my heart is weak and continues to struggle. Here’s the thing and this is important – my disbelief doesn’t somehow render God impotent. Yes, God wants me to believe – but he wants me to believe that God and God alone holds the future. For me, when I struggle with this, it’s because I’m wanting to be in control of the future. And God is asking me, will you trust me. Will you trust that I love Justus and Alyse and Jason and Amaya even more than you? Will you trust that I want the best for everyone? Will you trust that I am able to do the impossible with Justus? Will you relax and put your trust in me? That’s my prayer today. That I would trust in the Lord with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding (or even the doctors understanding). So please pray with us today, that we would believe. Like the man in Mark 9:24, “Lord help me with my unbelief.” God’s not mad at us, but he does want to strengthen us.
God is good – even when I don’t realize how. I thought all this contemplation about doubt was just so I could write some incredibly enlightening words to you. Silly me! It was to prepare me for our morning. Justus generally had a good night last night. All in all, the support team had another relatively restful night. But his brain didn’t stay as calm as they wanted. By the time we got to the hospital they had made the decision to increase the amount of drug sthey were using to induce the coma. And to add another 24 hours to the time he would spend asleep so instead of 48 hours it’s now 72. They assured us there was no reason to panic. This was normal. They were just trying to get the right level of rest for his brain and keep him there for the right amount of time. My head knew we’re ok. But my heart is weak. The result was doubt. So all of what I just wrote about doubt, was for me! God is working on my doubts and my beliefs. I’m getting better – but I’m still working on it.
Which leads me to this place of begging you all for continued prayer. When my belief is faltering, it is such reassurance to know that some of you out there are picking up the ball and running with it. And in spite of my spurts of unbelief, God continues to answer prayer. I asked you to pray for Amaya last night. Well she slept in until 10:30am. She has NEVER slept that late. Her parents were so thankful she got a good night of sleep. Thanks for praying. Please continue praying for wisdom for the doctors. My grandson is in a coma and clearly it’s not an exact science how best to do that or for how long to do it. Justus still needs to have a real bowel movement. His vitals are all holding strong right now, but they are now going to keep him under for an additional 24 hours at least. Please pray this “rebooting” (my word, not the doctors) of the brain will work. And we still don’t have definitive proof that the virus has stopped growing. Please pray that “Donatello” keeps doing a number on the infection. (Sorry if you are wondering about the Ninja Turtles you’ll have to go back and read about it in an earlier update) We are praying for a complete healing. We believe God is able and willing.
Thanks again for all of your prayers and support. We are forever grateful. Today’s image is actually a video. Many of you have already seen this. But so many have said something along the lines of, “I don’t know Justus, but…” We want you to better know this little boy. One thing you should know about Justus is he loves Jesus and he love to sing. I’m hoping this song is an encouragement to you and a reminder to pray for our little guy. We love you and continue to covet your prayers. We may never meet this side of heaven, but one day I am going to give everyone of you a huge Samoan bear hug! Blessings!
Thanks again for being a part of #TeamJustus!