One of my greatest struggles (I know I’m not alone) and I’ve alluded to it previously… why do some things happen the way they do. I don’t know how many times I’ve shook my fist at God and said, God I don’t get it! One incredibly good man dies suddenly of a vile disease and the next day some drunk kills three people and walks away from the accident. WHY!!!! And of course we’ll never know. Why is it that we pray for our spouse to be healed and they die anyway? And next door they pray for healing and their spouse lives. Why? If you’ve been following then you know I feel a bit of a burden with all of you. I hesitated once again to send out that prayer request earlier tonight about the MRI. Because I knew some of you would be so ready to see a miracle that you would immediately assume God was going to show off; while others would immediately panic and think, “Oh no! The prayers aren’t working.”
The truth is (and I’m sure some theologians out there are going to disagree with me) God doesn’t work like that. He’s not a wind up toy that we get to program to give us the answers we want. Not everyone that prays for healing get’s healed (of course we know they truly get healed, but not the way we were praying). But healing does happen. Unexplainable miracles… we’ve heard about them from some of you. So we know without a shadow of a doubt that God can simply touch Justus and he would be healed. But we also know that might not happen. There are thousands (I have no idea what the number is) of people praying for Justus. Tonight, in a matter of minutes we had thousands of you praying for his MRI and other tests. Some of you expected an instant healing and some of you feared we were in big trouble. I’ve already said this, God is God and He can do whatever He wants. But He loves us and He’s for us.
So tonight, thank-you so much for answering our call for more prayer. It did my heart good to know that so many people were acknowledging that something bigger than themselves was in charge. My prayer tonight was twofold. I prayed first and foremost that God would fully heal my grandson. And second that God would prepare me for what was to come. You see if (or when) God chooses to heal Justus, I wanted to be prepared to journey that well. But if God doesn’t choose to heal Justus (at least the way I want him healed), then I wanted to be prepared to journey that well.
I’m so glad God answered that second prayer because things didn’t go the way we had hoped. As per our earlier prayer request, Justus was hurried to an MRI. The reason, as it turns out, was partly because he was responsive a little earlier than expected, but the other reason was the size of his pupils. One of the ways they determine stress on the brain is when one side reacts differently than the other – called asymmetry (listen to me trying to sound like a doctor!). Well one of his pupils was considerably bigger than the other. The MRI confirmed a build up of pressure and the attending pediatrician got very concerned. Through the use of sodium and the ventilator, he was able to reduce the swelling some. But not enough to prevent the difficult conversation he had with Jason and Alyse. He told them he’d already called the neurosurgeon, and yes those are the people that do brain surgery. The neurosurgeon was coming in to put in what’s called a “bolt”. We decided brain surgeons aren’t worried about naming things with warm and fuzzy names (sorry if you’re a brain surgeon reading this – no offense intended). A bolt literally allows them to run a catheter out of the brain and measure the pressure in the brain. They do this to make sure the swelling isn’t causing additional and more severe damage. If the pressure gets too high it will force them to take more drastic measures to make room for the brain. Again, as you can imagine, it’s hard to hear them say they are going to put a hole in your four year old’s skull. But that’s exactly what they did tonight.
Am I disappointed? Absolutely, I love my grandson. Am I discouraged? Honestly, a little. I was hoping for a miracle tonight. Have I lost hope? Absolutely not! I don’t know why God heard all of your prayers tonight and yet Justus is still sick. I don’t know why another boy who was next door to us when we first got to the ICU has already been moved to a regular floor. And I’m not superhuman… I’ve told you I have my moments of doubt and discouragement. But I believe that God is sovereign. Personally, I don’t believe we are all here by chance. Because of that, I have to trust that someone bigger than me understands better than me what is best. I often think, if I were God I would just answer everyone’s prayer with yes – which reminds me of the mess caused when Jim Carey’s character said yes to everything in “Bruce Almighty”.
No, I’m disappointed. But I choose to trust in a sovereign God that loves me, and more importantly right now, loves Justus. But He loves you too!!! So we would love if you would continue to pray for our little Justus. Here’s what’s so great. My guess is, if you’ve been praying more for Justus, then you’ve probably been praying more for other things as well. And that’s a good thing.
So, I’m sorry this is so long, but I need to say one more thing. Many of you have been on this entire journey with us – praying your hearts out. Well, we made the decision yesterday morning that we were going to up the intensity today (Tuesday). The onsite #TeamJustushas decided to fast and pray. If you aren’t familiar with fasting, it basically means we are going to skip eating solid food all day. There are several reasons to fast. Some say it has health benefits but that isn’t one of the reasons we are doing it. There are cultures and religions that have practice the discipline of fasting for years. Our purpose in fasting is two fold – one is that the bible encourages us to do it. The second is that the hunger pangs we feel will be gentle, and sometimes not so gentle, reminders to pray for Justus. It’s not some magic pill that will make God listen to our prayers. But it does indicate a heart commitment to the idea that there is a sovereign God who controls the affairs of man. Otherwise, why go hungry?
So we don’t expect any of you to join us in this fast, but we certainly invite you to do so if you’d like. Either way, please pray for the irritation that is causing the swelling to go away. Please, please pray for Jason and Alyse. After this long holding pattern, today was a really hard day for them. They need to feel the comfort of the Lord. And please continue to pray for the medical staff as they do everything they can to take care of Justus.
I don’t know how this all got started. I don’t know how this is all going to end. But I’m grateful that you have chosen to take this journey with our family. I still believe God is going to showoff in this story. I hope we can enjoy the show together. Thank-you again for all of your prayers. We love and appreciate you!