A year ago today I…
A year ago today I had just been through one of the most stressful experiences of my life.
A year ago today I was sitting in a hospital room with my wife, talking about our new baby boy and deciding on his name.
A year ago today I was leaving that same hospital room periodically to check on my brand new baby in the Special Care Baby Unit, hoping his oxygen levels would stabilise, and that the raft of negative outcomes and worst case scenarios we’d been asked to prepare for would not eventuate.
A year ago today I was thankful my son had successfully had his first feed and was doing much better than the doctors expected prior to birth, that he wasn’t rushed to intensive care, and so on.
A year ago today I remember being in awe of my wife, and even more in awe at the goodness of my God.
A year ago today I looked at my baby son through the plastic walls of a humidicrib filled with a mixture of swirling emotions; I was relieved, worried, happy, concerned, hopeful, sorrowful, joyful.
A year ago today I was unsure what the future would hold, I did not yet know that this year would contain two brain surgeries and three reservoir taps to drain cerebrospinal fluid from my son’s brain, and that he would come through it all alive and generally happy, facing his challenges with an infectious smile (most of the time).
A year ago today I didn’t know to what extent my son would be affected by cerebral palsy, or that his eyesight would not be functional.
A year ago today I was deciding on a name with my wife, a name that means “God heals… behold, a son” – a name given in faith, gratitude, hope, and acceptance that healing comes from God who gives and takes away – healing is not named and claimed as if God was someone we could boss and badger into doing our will, it is asked for on your knees, believed for in your heart, and must be understood in the mind as a promise that may or may not be outworked in this life, and that God will be glorified regardless, but will certainly be fulfilled in eternity for His people.
A year ago today I knew this experience was not about me, it wasn’t even about my wife and I, it was about a new human being designed by God and brought into the world for his glory… and yet I would certainly be changed by it.
A year ago today God…
A year ago today God was hearing the prayers of the many faithful friends and family – for whom we are incredibly grateful – who have continually upheld our little boy in prayer before our Heavenly Father. (1 John 5:14-15)
A year ago today God was causing my understanding of a biblical theology of suffering to be less governed by the desires of my heart and more by the truth that suffering is not a plague to be avoided, it is a tool used in the hands of God to cause our hope to lie not in earthly health, wealth and comfort, but in the promises of God who helps us endure, makes us more like his Son and will one day ensure that all promises are fulfilled for all who follow him. (Romans 5:1-5, Revelation 21:3-5, 1 Peter 1:3-7)
A year ago today God was the same as he is today, a God of love, a God of justice, a God of truth, a God of holiness and righteous wrath against sin, a God of peace towards those on whom his favour rests, a God of promises, a God who is faithful, and a God who is to be relied upon because he never changes. (Luke 2:13-15, Hebrews 13:8)
A year ago today God was caring for my son, whose life – as with my life and the lives of all people – is in the palm of God’s hand. (Matthew 10:29-31)
A year ago today God was in the process of showing me that his sovereignty and providence are not areas of theology merely to have neatly buttoned up, but that they can also be relied upon… in and through everything. (Isaiah 55:8-11)
A year ago today God was teaching us – as I’m sure he will continue to for the rest of our days – that He really does work all things for good for those who love him and are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28-29)
Happy 1st Birthday, Josiah. May you come to know the God who was at work before you were born, is at work in all the events of your life, and is able to bring joy and light out of suffering and darkness, for His glory and for our eternal good.