Day 88-36 or T-Minus 1 – Justus is Walking

Tomorrow is the day and I feel a little like I feel the night before a big football game. Excited because I know this is going to be awesome, but a little anxious because there is so much that is out of my control. Of course if you had the chance to listen to our podcast  then you know, the whole idea of control is a complicated one. At any rate, tomorrow morning at 9:10am Justus is scheduled for a bone flap replacement surgery. It feels like a mini-reunion of our on-site team, although not everyone was able to come for obvious reasons. And I feel like #TeamJustus is primed and at the ready to do what we’ve done for the last 88 days… to storm the throne room of heaven and petition for this little boy. So once again, thank you for your faithful prayers and once again, thank you in advance for praying for his surgery tomorrow morning. As I’ve said before, I don’t think God is impressed because we have thousands of people praying. I simply know God wants us to pray, prayer matters to God, prayer has been known to influence God’s decisions, and prayer always changes us! We ultimately put our trust in a sovereign God who loves us and loves Justus. We believe God is able and God is good. And as so many have said in so many ways… the moon is round!

So much has happened in Justus’ journey these last few days; it’s overwhelming! And it highlights another huge lesson in our faith journey. So often when we think about a storm and our faith, what we immediately focus on is the big crisis moment, that darkest night when we aren’t sure we’re going to make it, or the moment we learn the bad news of someone dying. And certainly those are moments when our faith is absolutely tested. We’ve all been there in big ways or small ways. For #TeamJustus it was that day the neurosurgeon said, “I’m sorry. We’ve done all we can do.” In those moments we choose; trust God or trust man (sometimes meaning myself). We understand this critical moment and it’s connection to our faith.

I want to suggest a different faith building experience in storms. In fact, I believe in some ways it’s more challenging to our faith than those critical moments I mentioned above. Which of course means it presents more opportunities for building our faith as well. What am I talking about? I’m talking about prayers being answered. Huh?!?! That’s right!

We have some really good friends whose young daughter got cancer years ago. To make a long story short, after much prayer and a lot of time in hospitals, one day they got a really good report; the cancer was gone. The husband prepared to celebrate with his wife. But his wife was not even close to being ready for a celebration. She was still tender and hurting from their journey. In addition she had some fear of what the future might still hold. So who’s right? The prayer has been answered. But, there are some real wounds that shouldn’t just be glossed over.

I suspect half of you reading this immediately agree with the husband… it’s time to party. That’s me! But some of you completely relate to his wife. I suspect this often falls along gender lines. I know that makes some of you uncomfortable, but I believe it’s part of how God has used the oneness in our marriage to grow us… Kelli’s differences challenge me and vice versa. Absolutely there are exceptions. The only reason I even mention this difference is it could help some of you young husbands to better love and serve your wife and it will help both of you grow from being married to each other. Instead of seeing those differences as right and wrong, you’ll see them as… well… differences.

Here’s the point. For me it’s clear God has answered the prayer so it’s time to party and I’m right. For Kelli, she would say, yes God has answered the prayer, but I’m still tender from the journey. There are still some things I would like to work through before I can fully give myself to celebrate. Not to mention, I have some concern for the future; there is still more to come, and she’s right. Without Kelli, I easily gloss over all the lessons God was teaching during the journey because it was time to party or I’d find myself blindsided every time the “more” happened (too busy partying!). Without me, Kelli would run the risk of never being able to “in faith” celebrate what God has done. Hear me, I know it doesn’t always fall on gender lines, so forgive me if I’ve crisscrossed the two of you… but the principle is the same. When God answers your prayers then have the faith to celebrate. BUT, when God answers your prayer, have a big enough faith to recognize God probably has more for you than just the answered prayer – don’t miss the big picture. And don’t be afraid to face up to the pain of the journey. It doesn’t discount the answered prayer; it just means there’s more.

God is clearly answering our prayers. Justus has stayed dry now for three days. He can’t talk, but somehow is able to communicate to us when he has to go potty. And as you can see by the video… well how do I say it… HE’S WALKING!!! #TeamJustus we’ve prayed for progress like this so it’s time to celebrate. But do we have faith that God can do more? And more importantly have we done a good job of processing all the lessons and pain from the journey. After all, before July 31st, Justus was running and jumping… not struggling to walk to his Grammy.

So the other night I didn’t post because as a family, we were struggling with this tension. We were all excited about what God was doing! Some wanted to celebrate and share the good news! Others were still tender and struggling to completely give themselves to celebrate. Neither was right… neither was wrong. So in order to honor everyone, we held off posting until we could better process the changes. What’s so great is we all grew and we all learned. What we all agreed on was this; #TeamJustus (YOU ALL) has been through the darkest days with us and we wanted to share the good news with you. Some in our family are learning to trust God’s goodness even as they continue to process the reality of the journey. The rest of us have taken a step back and experienced a much deeper appreciation of what God is doing and we’re trying to not miss the lessons along the way. I hope that makes sense.

At any rate, I don’t mean to forget all the other prayer requests on #TeamJustus prayer page (… in fact I’ve been intentional about praying for Daniel, Cait, Brylee Joy and Lexy. Please remember them and the others in your prayer time. If you choose to join us in fasting tomorrow, pray for them… remember to let #TeamJustus remind you to pray! And of course selfishly I’d ask you to remember Justus at 9:10am. We pray for a successful surgery and that God would be glorified in our time back at Doernbecher. What a privilege this journey has been and as we have a physical reunion here in Portland with the onsite team… I’m equally excited for the spiritual reunion we are having each day as #TeamJustus unite in prayer! We love you and we’ll send you a quick report as soon as we hear from the surgeon after the operation.