Faith in the Midst of Trial

We all know “stressful seasons of life.” That’s how I would have described situation of my close friends, Robbie and Jane-Ellis, a few weeks ago. Jane-Ellis was nearing the due date of their third child, and they were scheduled to close on both the sale of their house and the purchase of a new one just a week later. That’s plenty of extra things to think about, to be sure.

However, shortly after the arrival of their newborn son George, they realized they were in for a much greater trial than they had anticipated. George was born with his aorta and pulmonary artery switched, meaning his blood was not properly oxygenating. Thus the need for their little, days-old son to undergo open heart surgery this past Wednesday.

Thankfully, the procedure went very well, and as I write, George is scheduled to have his chest closed today (it having been left open for a couple of days to relieve possible swelling on his newly repaired heart—wow). Still, I have only the barest idea of what it must be like to stand aside while your newborn son undergoes such a process.

I bring all this up because I have admired and been encouraged by my friends’ honesty and faith in the midst of such a wrenching experience. Robbie is an associate pastor at our sister church, Central Presbyterian in St. Louis. He’s given his church good reason to “remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith” (Heb. 13:7). Perhaps a couple of excerpts from the blog he’s used to update friends and family during this process will illustrate, allowing you to be encouraged as well:

I go back and forth between being ok and realizing that George could die as a result of this defect. I prayed harder yesterday during the septostomy than I have in a long time. I do not believe that just because God is good that there are any guarantees in all of this–that is glib, pseudo-theology. The hard thing is coming to grips with the goodness and mercy of God even when death is a real possibility. I believe and know that God loves George more than we do. I believe and know that He will make a safe path for him in this life. But I don’t want to lose him.

That leads me to prayer, I guess:

Pray that God would deliver George through this time and that he would grow to be a strong and wise man of God who leads others to love and follow Jesus.

………

I’m not supersitious, so I’ll relay this little anecdote from yesterday. I was speaking with our insurance agent about insuring the new house (there had been a delay on confirming that they were going to insure the house which was troubling to our lender since we are to close on Friday). And she mentioned that the replacement cost of the house would be much higher than our purchase price and that she and underwriting were trying to get a good replacement cost. (This is mainly because of the cost of brick, I believe. The house is brick on all four sides). She wanted to know whether we were going to insure the house based on the purchase price or the replacement cost. I said to JE, “The way things are going for us, we’d better insure based on the replacement cost because the thing is sure to burn down within the next 6 months.”

She laughed. I laughed. I don’t really believe that. I said it just to indicate that, given all the stuff we’ve been through over the last several years (Peter’s deafness and cochlear implant surgery, health issues of family, various other disappointments), nothing much would surprise me anymore. And I’m confident that whatever comes our way, God will be with us. That does not mean that any of this is easy. Again, I don’t believe in the sort of pseudo-comfort that ignores the brokenness of this world (including my own brokenness and sin). I don’t believe that everything is necessarily going to be ok. I do believe in the resurrection of Jesus and that, because of that, one day all things will be made new, including our broken bodies.

So, if you are the praying type, pray that we would be spared the loss of little George. But along with that, pray that Jesus’ kingdom would come.

Please pray for George and the entire family in the coming days. And like Robbie says, pray also for the day that our Savior comes again “and night will be no more” (Rev. 22:5).

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