Day 43

Please forgive me! I need to apologize to some of you. In my update the night before last (Day 41), I explained in more detail the whole tricycle experience. But if you remember, I chose to not use the video that night, out of respect for the Wall family. Then last night I posted the video with very little explanation. I’m afraid I inadvertently mislead some of you. Many of you understood what was happening, but I never want to mislead any of you. First of all, because God doesn’t need my help, and second because we are all in this together. The last thing I want to do is to lose your trust. So to be clear, Justus isn’t riding that tricycle. He is strapped onto the trike and his feet are strapped to the pedals—he is not pushing the pedals as the bike moves. The physical therapy and occupational therapy (PT/OT) folks are fantastic and one of the things they have emphasized is getting him to perform tasks that he was once familiar with. That’s why they have us put a toothbrush in his hand and practice brushing his teeth. We support him up on two feet so he can experience something he was once very used to. And they strap him to a trike so he can do something he once loved doing.

The truth is, when I listened to PT/OT explain that technique, it made me realize what an important part of discipling we often leave out. I think too many times when we are trying to either be discipled or are discipling someone else, we “talk” too much and “show” too little (as I write you yet another novel ). I think of some of the struggles I’ve had over the years on my journey. I’d read the bible, I’d read books, I’d listen to sermons, I’d attend conferences, and all of those things are good. But honestly, the most impactful lessons for me were the times I actually experienced what it was I was after. When I could see and experience the goal. When I’d spend time in a home and look around and say, “This is the kind of family I want to have some day!” Or I’d hang out with a man and realize I want to be more like this man and less like those characters on TV. Those times in my life when someone grabbed my hand and said, you know how to brush your teeth, let me just remind you what that feels like.

In a sense, #TeamJustus has done that for many of you. You knew how to pray. Many of you already prayed. But God used a little boy as a catalyst to strap you to a tricycle and get you to go through familiar motions and remind some muscles what it was like to pray. Hopefully, that brought a smile to your face. And just like Justus on the trike, if you will keep doing that over and over again, like some of you have been doing, great progress begins to happen. Obviously, if that tricycle ride is Justus’ last one, then he’ll never be able to do what he once did. But I know those PT/OT’s are going to strap him to that trike over and over and over again. Hopefully, he’ll use a few more muscles each time. I suspect he’ll get more strength and more balance with each repetition, until finally I can send you a video of him zooming around the neighborhood.

My prayer for all of us has been the same for quite awhile. I don’t pretend to know all that God is up to. But I’m confident of this; it has never been just about Justus! This prayer thing, this communicating with God, this relationship (regardless of how embryonic it is for you) with your creator is a good thing. It is something worth continuing. Yes, I hope you will always pray for Justus until he is fully recovered. We have stormed the throne room of heaven since the beginning with that petition and we continue to believe for that complete healing. But (there’s always a but), I can honestly say, even more than praying for Justus, I’m praying you continue this prayer journey and relationship with God.

May you always know that the moon is round, (I know this is sounding like I’m saying goodbye, I’m not – you can’t get rid of me that easily) because all of you are going to go through storms in your future. I pray none of them are like ours, but the reality is some of them will be bigger. God is able and God is good. Don’t evaluate God’s goodness by the circumstances you find yourself in. Decide now that God is good and then trust him in those times when you can’t see it. And if you can’t decide that about God, then search that out now. Remember, just like Dr. Bob was chasing Justus, this God is chasing you! We so often hide from God, but he continues to chase. But he’ll never violate your free will… he’ll never make you pray… he’ll never make you get caught. He’ll just continue to chase, hoping you’ll stop and say, here I am.

So again, please forgive me if I mislead anyone, it certainly was not my intention. It’s just that, strapped or not, we were so excited about his progress. If you would have told me 2 weeks ago that I’d be apologizing about how I presented him riding a tricycle, I would have laughed – “Oh ye of little faith!!!” I suspect some of you are saying, four weeks ago, if you would have told me how much I’d be praying, I would have laughed! Thanks be to God for patiently taking our hands and reminding us of what it’s like to connect with our heavenly father. Thanks again for all the prayers sent up on behalf of Justus. He had a little rougher day today, but he continues to make progress. There are still withdrawal issues as they keep weaning him off of these drugs. Please keep praying for our transition. I’m learning how hard it is to adjust (you can read that as “trust”) after being bedside for almost all of these last 43 days. But we are so thankful and grateful.

#TeamJustus has become a reminder to pray. I will continue, as will others, to make you aware of prayer needs. Please let the Lord lead you on what you are to pray for. Remember, God doesn’t need you or your prayers, in order to be God. He invites us into the journey and allows us the privilege of joining Him as witnesses to these miracles. Like Jesus raising Lazurus from the dead… God is saying come along and watch… this is going to be really fun… really hard at times… but really cool. One last image I’ll leave with you from C.S. Lewis’ book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”. It might be my favorite illustration of God he gives using Aslan,

“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.” “Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…”Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

God is good!