Monday, May 08, 2006

Against All Hope

I'm sorry I missed last week's post. Lawrence and I were given the rare treat of getting away alone together for an overnight trip to Solomon's Island in Southern Maryland. We spent a very relaxing time away and came home to my best friend, Amanda's visit with her son, Benjamin. We had a delightful time playing with Amanda and Benjamin. The boys got along very well, and it was a very special treat for me to have extended time with my college buddy. Thanks, Amanda, for making the four hour (five with kid(s) in tow) trip to spend a couple days with us. We LOVED seeing you!!

I wanted to give ya'll an update on Judah's most recent EEG and neurological evaluation. Dr. Comi was pleased with Judah's development and concluded that there were no outward signs of seizure and/or stroke activity. His EEG confirmed her evaluation as well. THANK YOU, LORD! However, she did measure his head to be a half centimeter bigger than the last visit, which isn't that much of a jump except that Judah's head is already within the large adult sized head category. Additionally, there were some findings during Judah's last EUA for his eyes that Dr. Comi asked me to follow up with a.s.a.p.
So, after several phone conversations with a couple of Judah's doctors, we have an appointment scheduled for next week, and I will let you in on more of the details of that and ways you can pray for us next Monday.

Today, I wanted to write another post on behalf on my friend, Emily, whose daughter, Alivia, remains undiagnosed but now with outward signs of the apparent infection or disease within. Please continue to pray for James, Emily and Alivia Haughery and feel free to "stop by" the blog Emily has been keeping for the most recent updates.

Some time after Judah was born, I began exposing myself to literature and personal stories about the real and sometimes grave outcome of Sturge Weber Syndrome on one's life. What was also being brought to mind was the reality of my father's death, a man who loved the Lord and lived to serve Him yet died nevertheless of a malignant brain tumor despite our faithful prayers and fervent hope that he would live. I felt too well acquainted with the reality that God sometimes does allow our greatest nightmare to turn into reality, and I hesitated to hope and pray for better outcomes for my son.

At the same time, I knew there is no room in a believer's heart for bitterness or mistrust of God's goodness. He has proven His love for us on the cross and promises furthermore to give us every good thing (Romans 8:32). I did not know how to face the hard truth that Judah could have a very difficult lot assigned to him while also hoping in God and praying to God for a better outcome for his life. It was in the midst of this struggle that God led me to Romans 4, verses 18-21.

In hope he [Abraham] believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations, as he had been told, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body, which was as good as dead (since he was about a hundred years old), or when he considered the barrenness of Sarah's womb. 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

As I read this, I felt like Abraham's life was answering my heart's struggle.
He believed against hope.
He faced the facts.
He was 100 years old.
He saw that Sarah's womb was as good as dead.

Abraham did not ignore the reality of his situation, just as I and anyone who walks through any measure of suffering or hardship should not and cannot ignore the reality of our circumstances.
However, the passage also says that
Abraham, in hope, believed God's promise.
He did not weaken in faith.
He did not waver through unbelief.
He gave glory to God.
He was fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He promised.

Now, it was clear what God had promised Abraham: that through his seed, he'd become the father of many nations. God sent an angel to Abraham to reveal this promise. However, God did not send an angel to reveal any specific promises to me regarding Judah's health and well being. As I wrestled with the Lord, I began to see that the promises I wanted to hear from God appealed more to my flesh than to God's glory. I wanted God to promise me that Judah's brain would be alright for his entire life and that Judah would not lose his eyesight. I wanted God to promise me that Judah's skin would clear up and that he would someday marry a woman who would love him for everything he is and everything he's not. I wanted God to promise me that my son would have friends who would care for him, support him and love him unconditionally.

As I searched the scriptures, I did not find God promising me any of these things. But what I found was better. I found that God's promises offered hope and healing to something deeper, my soul. I found that His promises invited me into a reality where He is glorified and I am most happy when that is true. As I searched through His Word, desperate for promises to sustain my soul and to help guard my heart from bitterness, I found that I have so much to be thankful for and that no matter what the outcome may be for Judah, I can have hope and peace and humbly resign to God's choice for us. I found and continue to see that God knows better than me.

It is not wrong to pray for Judah's complete physical healing, and in fact we do so every night before we tuck the boys into bed. It is not wrong to hope for all the things I mentioned above. But, for me, I had to come to the point where I could, along with Abraham, face the facts of all that Judah's SWS might mean for us while not wavering through unbelief and not weakening in faith. I had to come to the point where I could regard the promises of God found in His Word and bring glory to His name by humbling resigning to His gracious and merciful ways with us.

If you are in the midst of trying circumstances, my prayer is that wherever you are in the process of facing the facts, you will REGARD THE PROMISES of God, BE STRENGTHENED in your faith and GIVE GLORY to GOD, fully persuaded that God has the power to do what He has promised.

7 comments:

Karen Hevesy said...

How did you know I needed this today? Thank you for your faithfulness and obedience in sharing what God is showing you, with others. You have no idea how much you have encouraged me in the last 2 months.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I am a childhood friend of Emily Allen and I came upon your website when I was reading Alivia's page. I am so inspired by some of the things you have written about your faith in God. I just wanted to tell you that everytime I pray for Alivia I will pray for Judah too. Emily is so lucky to have a friend like you. Psalm 133 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!

Leslie Malito

Laurie said...

Thanks for writing, friend. It is a treasure to us to read what God is doing in your life through hard reality.

Anonymous said...

bri-

Anonymous said...

bri-
i feel unworthy even to enter the "pages" of your writings...it feels so far above me... and i know that it is, because it is all about the One who is so OTHER than us. but what kindness, what mercy, what faithfulness and sheer delight of God to prove His existence and sovreignty and glory through you. thank you friend.
heather

Beth said...

you're such a good mom.

Danielle said...

Praise the Lord that there are no outward signs of seizure or stroke! That's great. Thank you also for this post. Like Karen, I needed this today too.