Day 13 – post #1 – The Eye is the lamp of the body

#TeamJustus takes on many forms. Of course there is the on site team, supporting Jason and Alyse directly here at the hospital. There is a local team that has been incredible taking care of food and other important resources (like taking out the garbage at the house we’ve deserted). Then there is this amazing group made up of you all. Because of you I’ll never be able to look at a sunrise the same… a beautiful reminder of God’s mercies… new every morning! And we’ve also had a number of visitors over this past 13 days. Speaking on behalf of the Nikolaos and the Pritchards, we feel so loved and supported.

One particular visitor this past weekend was a pediatrician friend of ours. What’s unique about our friend is for the last couple of years he’s been a doctor in a poor country in Africa. So he has to regularly deal with the heartache of watching kids die of things he would be able to treat in a U.S. hospital. As we visited Justus it was obvious how grateful he was that our grandson had the best equipment and the most highly trained doctors anywhere. We often look at our little guy and give God thanks for the wisdom and the resources that are keeping him alive. We know God is God and can do this any way He chooses, but typically he chooses to use doctors and hospitals. As most of you know Justus has been in a medically induced coma for several days now. Because of that he is on a ventilator to breath. He has wires and tubes and medications that are delicately balanced to keep him as healthy as possibly while we wait for healing.

“The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! ~Matthew 6:22-23

One night we were talking to one of the veteran pediatricians. This was the night they were making the decision to operate on his skull. He said, “I’ve lost all of my ways of examining him.” He said the machines spit out numbers, but they are just numbers. Then he said something we’ll never forget. He said, “The only thing I have to tell me how he’s doing, are his eyes.” In fact what told him it was time to operate was the difference between the pupils of his left and right eye. They are supposed to be the same size. They weren’t, which was an indication of brain swelling. Afterward, my wife Kelli, who is one of the most amazing women I know, said “Did you catch that?” As has been so often the case in our marriage, I asked, “Catch what?” She proceeded to remind me of how the bible often describes the eyes as the window into our very soul.

In fact when I think of proofs of a divine creator, the eyes are enough for me. Not just what we were experiencing with Justus and his pupils, but one of my favorite illustration supporting a creator. I’m told when Justus was inside my daughter’s womb, developing into this amazing little boy he would become. His eye began to form in the location of the eye socket. Then the optic nerve with a million nerve endings, began to form at the eye working it’s way toward his brain. At the same time the optic nerve was also forming at his brain and working its way towards the eye. And then somewhere in the middle these million nerve endings just happen to line up so he can see. The only thing that explains that is a divine creator. And now I’m learning that God created the eye so that even in a coma, he’s able to give the doctor information! I know I’m biased, but Justus is a miracle and I’m being reminded of that every day!!! And as cheesy as it sounds can I remind you that you are a miracle too!

We’ve had a little reprieve from the craziness we were in. Yesterday was hard and I tried to write a full update last night and physically just couldn’t do it. We got 5 hours of sleep last night and I feel like a new man!!! Yesterday was a really good day, but it was hard because we were on edge. We just didn’t know what to expect. I’m working really hard not to be afraid. I think I used the phrase “gun shy” last night. God doesn’t want us fearful… so yesterday while I was fasting (thank-you to everyone that focused on prayer yesterday… and I know some of you even made the decision to fast – thank-you!) I kept being reminded, “Do you trust me? Do you trust me?”

I do trust God, but if I’m honest, I’m selfish, so because I’m selfish, I only trust God if he’ll do certainly things. But I need to just trust God. So yesterday was a hard start to what became a hard day. But thanks to you all, I woke up to some amazing images of sunrises. A gentle reminder that God’s mercies are new every morning. I’m able to reset my focus on God’s goodness rather than my selfishness; which makes everything better. What’s hard is now Justus is in a holding pattern with no clear end. But I keep praying the verse we mentioned a couple of days ago –

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. ~Exodus 14:14

Today, Justus is resting more peacefully than ever. They’ve really shut down his brain activity to rest his brain. Please pray that while he truly rests, that God will continue to fight for him. And pray for his eyes. We want both pupils to be the same size. We also are praying for his vital signs to remain steady. On the drive here this morning the sunrise was spectacular once again. Another day. Another chance to be in God’s presence. Another chance to be grateful for all that we have. Yes we’ve been living in a hospital for the last 13 days. But we have so much to be thankful for. What are you thankful for today. I’m thankful for you taking this journey with us. I know I keep asking, but he still needs your prayers so I’ll ask again. Please keep praying for Justus. Thank-you #TeamJustus.