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Saturday, April 14, 2012

To the Hospital and Back Again

I must say, this week has been nonstop excitement.  We were in the hospital from Monday to late Friday night because of some symptoms my 22 month old son has been having over the week prior.  His body was progressively losing more and more control of balance, coordination, and movement, so it was very concerning as it continued to progress.  It began with some shaking hands when he would go to pick up things to eventually so bad that he could not stand without shaking or walk without falling.  After almost a week in the hospital, we do not have a verifiable diagnosis, but the one we have makes sense.  Post-infectious cerebellitis, or in other words he had an unknown virus and after the infection went away his cerebellum inflamed somewhere.  The inflammation is not verifiable and the virus is not verifiable, so truly, only God knows exactly what is going on in this case.  Thankfully, though, my son is doing better, his arms are shaking less and he is gaining better control of his extremities.  It may take a little longer for the large muscles to get back to normal, like when he stands, walks, and sits.  He is in good spirits, though, especially now that we are home.

This adventure of faith has been exactly that.  God has made himself manifest multiple times throughout our journey.  He is Sovereign and knew all about this little hiccup in our lives, but used it as an opportunity to reveal Himself to us over and over.  I think as Christians in America, it is so easy to expect that when we ask to grow in Christ, to mature in our faith, etc. that we think it means we will experience an easier, pain free, and care free life, but this is not consistent with Scripture nor with a proper understanding of God.  First, we must always remember that we are not to consider this our home, but our temporary living place.  God uses difficulties in life to detach us from a dependency on the things of this world.  Second, we see over and over in scripture that when God's people are comfortable and living free of trials, they forget about Him.  As Christians, it is critical that we continue to praise, give thanks to, and remember God even when things are going well, but especially when things are tough!  He is not a magic genie in a bottle here to serve us and fulfill our desires.  We are here to serve Him and bring glory to His name.  This cannot be accomplished when we live in misery, without hope, stressed by this world, and act as the world does.  Our joy, hope, love, and behaviors should be the best examples of our faith and our hope in Jesus to everyone around us.  We SHOULD look different.  Third, when we go through the trials of this life, we experience the opportunity to be tested in our faith and to grow in our experience of God's goodness yet again.  After this experience God has pushed me out of my comfort zone to really speak up in His name, something I have been very uncomfortable about doing.  He has shown me that He truly is the Great Physician and knows just what is needed, so my dependency cannot be on the medical system and their truly limited knowledge in comparison to God's Sovereignty.  And finally, every opportunity we have to grow is a blessing from the Lord.  He wants us to be at peace in this life, but this is not found in ease of life, it is found in a steady quiet and inner peace when right in the middle of the biggest storms.  Peace is not living without any stressful circumstances, troubles, difficulties, pains, etc.  Peace is a sense of calm regardless of what is going on around us.  Do I mean an ambition sought like the Buddhists, found by intentionally cutting oneself off from the emotional effects of the material and worldly pleasures of this life?  No, it is not necessarily a sin to enjoy a movie, love snuggling in a chair, to run and skip in joy for the beautiful day, etc.  But, I mean a peace that is found and experienced because of a profound acceptance of God's Sovereignty...He is in control, so therefore, we need not fear.

Now, if the character of God is misunderstood, this idea of His Sovereignty may be fearful or troublesome.  But, to those who understand WHO God is and the traits that define His character, knowing that He is the one in control, no matter how bad things get on this earth, the greatest calm and peace ever can be experienced.  God is good, and He clearly defines Himself repeatedly in His Word, so if His character scares, angers or confuses You, be like the Bereans and study.  He tells us in His Word, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the LORD" (Jeremiah 29:12-14).  

This song was on my heart a lot over the course of this week.  I pray it blesses you too.

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