Day 36

I think this is another one where I better start with the picture. It was taken last night. I promise it wasn’t posed. In Justus’ moving about and twitching his hands he ended up in this position… for an hour. We tell parents who are trying to help their children learn self-control to teach them to fold their hands. Research has shown that by folding our hands, it helps to calm us. Of course, what a coincidence that it also happens to be the posture we take when we are in prayer. Personally, I think Justus is giving all of us a clear message… pray without ceasing. Obviously, I don’t know this, but I suspect if he could speak right now, he’d say, “And not just for me!” We’ve said since early on, this is clearly about way more than just Justus or just us… it’s about a Heavenly Father that is chasing us (if you missed that post – it’s a reference to our favorite medical people who have a passion for chasing Justus, not just the numbers that come up on a monitor – I mentioned in last night’s update that while I was home I had two big takeaways. I shared one of them last night involving withdrawal symptoms and how we need to fight through that. The other big takeaway happened when I attended our kickoff dinner for the Re|engage marriage mentors. Re|engage is the best marriage ministry I’ve come across. We got it from a great church in Dallas called Watermark. Since it was the kickoff to a new season, it was appropriate to revisit the fundamentals. One of those basics was a huge reminder of what we have been talking about during this journey. It’s a formula and you should know, I’m not typically much of a formula guy. The formula is simply this; GRACE + TRUTH + TIME = CHANGE. Obviously at re|engage the context is marriage, but this formula is what it will take for Justus to make the changes he needs to make. But I need to say something before I continue. Prayer, and faith for that matter, has a supernatural component that none of us can fully understand, because it’s God’s domain. God is God and He does what God does. His ways are higher than ours. So there is a part of prayer that we simply accept by faith and out of obedience we pray, knowing that a good and righteous God is hearing our petitions. I know of too many examples of unexplainable miracles, answers to prayers, to ever doubt whether God performs the supernatural. I’m positive in our journey that there have been some “miracles” along the way to Justus’ recovery. What I don’t know is why with some and not with others? Why just a little miracle when it would be just as easy for God to have prevented us from going through any of this? That’s why we leave the supernatural component for God to worry about. We pray and then trust God to be God.On the other hand, I feel like I’m learning all sorts of incredible benefits of prayer that touch on the supernatural but seem to also carry an element of the explainable. Please know, this what I’m about to say isn’t rooted in deep theological study. It’s been forged, in a sense, in the fire of the crisis. For instance, we have been humbled, supported and blessed by an overwhelming community of believers. I know it has been a huge part of what got us through the darkest of our days. Some of that is unexplainable; it’s just God’s design. But some of it is explainable as we read your words of encouragement and your prayers for Justus and for us. Another example is this, as you prayed for this young ninja you’d never met, some of you fell in love with him. Some of that is unexplainable, but some of it we know is due to having him on your minds and your hearts throughout the day. This formula is much the same. There is a supernatural element to change when we turn our life over to Jesus. In fact, when Jesus was getting ready to leave His disciples, He told them it was better for Him to go so that the helper (Holy Spirit) could come. The Holy Spirit, not bound by physical limitations, is available to every one of us to help us grow into the people we were designed to be. Unexplainable! But there is also an explainable part of change. It is the part where we take responsibility. And here is where I think it gets really fun. There is a part for the person trying to change and a part for everyone else. I remember early in our marriage when I found myself getting angry and frustrated with Kelli. Too often in frustration I would get big and be very unloving towards her. As I tried to change, to be a more loving husband, it took the supernatural. But it also required me to take responsibility for my actions and it took brothers in my life that, yes, held me accountable, but more than that, loved me through my journey. It’s called grace. I know it’s truth and grace, because in our own life we want to be rooted in truth. But I love the idea of us thinking grace first in how we approach others. We know truth, but leading with truth can often feel judgmental and rarely works. Leading with grace, but always holding onto truth, is a much more loving way and, as I read the gospels; it’s how I see Jesus so often living His life. Not to mention God is love. It is the defining characteristic of God. Wouldn’t it make sense to lead with that quality.Which brings us to Justus, our little man who’s been such a fighter. He had another great day. Last night after fighting through his episode (withdrawal?), he had a restful night. But literally from the moment he woke up they’ve been examining him, working him out, testing him, basically exhausting the poor guy. But he’s done really well. They are holding steady on his pain med wean one more day just to let him adjust. Please pray for him as he comes off of some very addictive drugs that he’s been taking for a really long time. They’re moving his feedings to resemble more and more what he would do normally. The path forward for him is GRACE (encouragement, patience, love) + TRUTH (doctors, numbers, treatments, PT/OT) + TIME (God could heal him instantly but it would appear he’s intended to go through a healing process) = CHANGE (we’ve seen daily changes and are praying they continue). That formula of grace + truth + time = change will work for Justus and it will work for your life. And just to make sure you remember the supernatural element of this equation, take a mental snapshot of today’s picture. Let our little catalyst remind all of us to pray! Then we go to work. But always pray!Thanks again ‪#‎TeamJustus‬. I just wanted to once again thank-you for all the support – primarily in prayer, but also in personal and practical ways. The GoFundMe has been amazing and so have the T-shirt sales. Just a reminder, there are only two more days before they close out the T-shirt sales. The proceeds go to the Nikolao family to help with medical bills and the recovery process. There is no pressure at all, just wanted to let you know before it closed. Here is the link: