Day 37

In some ways this was a post I was hoping I wouldn’t get to write, but I kind of knew I would be. Yesterday I mentioned the formula GRACE + TRUTH + TIME = CHANGE. The context we’ve used that formula for is marriage, but it applies to our faith journey in general. The bible actually describes Jesus as the embodiment of grace and truth. One of the interesting nuances this experience has highlighted for me is the order of the words, grace and truth. So often we think of it as truth and grace. In fact, Kelli and I have titled our parenting conference, “Parenting with Truth and Grace.” I realize now we need to change it… it should be grace and truth. We want to lead with grace – always armed with truth – but leading with grace. In our faith journey, grace and truth over time will yield change.

As we’ve watch Justus in his journey, we’ve seen the same formula apply. The challenge, and the post I was hoping I wouldn’t have to write, has to do with the manner in which the change takes place. Here’s what I mean. Picture a graph (like the ones you hated in math class) in front of you with the x axis being time running from left to right, and the y axis being change with improvement going from the bottom to the top. Now mentally draw a line running from the bottom left corner at a 45-degree angle to the top right corner. That’s the way we all wish change would happen, a gradual and consistent improvement; whether we’re talking about Justus’ change or a change in our life or in our spiritual journey.

Immediately there are two huge points of anxiety. The first is we have no idea the end point on the x or time axis. In other words, only God knows if the change is going to take 1 day, 1 month, 1 year or a lifetime. In addition to that, we have no idea the rate in which improvement will take place or in what increments. When it comes to a sick kid in the hospital it creates a lot of angst and anxiety. It leads to raw and real responses like Jason and Alyse are having. If your son is going on a long trip and you won’t see him for a month; you’re going to miss him. But what if your son is gone and you don’t know for how long. That’s a piece of the reality Alyse and Jason face – they miss their son. Thankfully, their son is still with them, but they know there is more to come, they just don’t know how much and for how long. So please pray for their hearts.

The topic I was hoping to avoid but knew better has to do with the line you drew on that graph. In reality it’s never a straight line from the bottom left corner to the top right. With time there will be improvement, unfortunately like what has happened the last 24 hours with Justus, with time there are also setbacks. So that line moves from bottom left to top right, but it isn’t straight, it’s crooked and looks like Justus’ EKG readout. Last night we had such a setback. Justus had a rough night dealing with what appears to be withdrawal symptoms all night and actually into today. They’ve given him a lot of additional pain medication to help make him comfortable. But it wasn’t until 4pm today when they put into action, a pain plan to control the weaning of these really strong drugs, that they finally had some results. The plan is showing some promise. The picture was taken shortly after the plan was put into place. You can see it was a happy moment, that Justus was alert and responsive. But they are playing catch up, so our poor little warrior isn’t comfortable most of the time. An hour or so after this picture, he was back in need of some pain meds. It’s hard to watch, but he’s such a fighter… if you could see him you’d be so proud of the little guy.

And of course, that is just like change in our life. It so often feels like we take 2 steps forward and then a step backwards. And just like we’ve done with Justus, sometimes it takes sitting down with people who are wiser than us, to come up with a plan of action. Sometimes it takes changing our strategy. Remember with change, there is an explainable element, which is what we are talking about – finding the plan that will help us become who it is God has designed us to be. But never forget the unexplainable element. Pray that God would change you from the inside out. Pray that God would take away the craving, or remove the anger, or heal the wounded heart. God is able and God is good!

Tonight, Alyse and Jason have done a spectacular job of doing everything they can with the explainable elements of Justus’ change. I get to ask you once again to help us ask God to deal with the unexplainable (supernatural). God is able and God is good. So please join me in begging the Lord on Justus’ behalf to remove the pain and give him true rest tonight. Who else in your life needs prayer for an unexplainable intervention (a miracle) from God? Then lift them up tonight as well. God is omnipotent and omnipresent. He can handle all of our prayers at the same time. So pray. Incidentally God has me praying for you right now. I’m praying against the enemy, against the father of lies. Satan isn’t happy you are praying. I’m praying you will stay strong in your faith, regardless of where you are on your faith journey right now. Remember the key isn’t a big faith in God… it’s a faith in a really big God!!!

The other reason it’s so important to manage Justus’ withdrawal and pain is his ability to rehab. The more physically comfortable he is, the more able he is going to be to work on change in his vision, eating, and movement. He still has a long way to go. Justus is working hard on the explainable… learning to make eye contact… learning to move his hands… learning to wiggle his toes… of course hoping it eventually leads to a lot more. So again, please join me as we ask God for a miracle in this area of Justus’ life. Whether it’s Justus or you or me, GRACE + TRUTH + TIME = CHANGE. With God’s help, Justus can do this. Guess what? With God’s help, you can do this too!!!