I cannot express how grateful we are for the encouraging texts, phone calls, and emails we’ve received since our daughter went into the ICU on Easter morning. People have shared personal stories of their own experiences which have strengthened us, and we have also heard from people who say that the Lord has used our experience this week to bolster their faith. God is truly at work for the good of those who love Him through this ordeal.
We have had a share of trials as well. As is expected, a Christian couple exalting God publicly will come under the attack of God’s enemies. But God’s faithfulness has been clear through demonstrations of providence, perseverance in the faith, and sanctification. God the Holy Spirit is always active in His people and we have hope because of His unlimited power.
An Update on Bailey
If you haven’t read my previous post, you can see some background here. As of April 13, 2023, we have disappointing news. Bailey’s brain has sustained a lot of damage. The MRI shows pervasive damage to her cortex, which confirms what we see behaviorally which is that she is unresponsive to pain and even some basic reflexes. She is in a coma and although she may awake, it is all but certain that she will never be “herself” again. The parts of the brain that are needed for high-level functions are (from a medical perspective) irreversibly damaged.
We are now faced with overwhelming decisions about her care. I would appreciate your continued prayer for wisdom. I am also asking that you would pray that God would put all of us who care about Bailey of a single mind! Many people love Bailey dearly and have poured into her life, and I wish we would somehow by the power of God be of one accord.
Every person has emotions. Emotions are normal and I will even say “Good.” God made us to have emotions; even people who are not described as “emotional.” The question is not whether you are emotional or not, but whether you take every thought captive to obey Christ and properly manage your emotions.
This trial has been a case study of how to biblically express and process emotions. There is a lot of theology you learn by hearing in the Christian religion. And you should be regularly imbibing the Holy Scriptures and sitting under the preaching of God’s Word at a New Testament local church. But it is often through the application of those principles so deftly taught by men of God in the pulpit that we truly grow in the wisdom God commands us to learn (Romans 12:2).
One of the hardest emotions to manage is that of anger. Anger can be righteous or unrighteous. The challenge for the Christian is to properly control anger by directing it toward the proper object and keeping it in the right proportion to the offense.
Fools give full vent to their anger; godly men and women express it in a healthy way that glorifies God in a way that “just stuffing it” doesn’t accomplish. Pretending to not be angry when you are only leads to resentment and bitterness (or a blowup). Allowing yourself to lose self-control and become intoxicated by your anger is called a fit of rage and is condemned as well.
One of the people Erin and I are angry with is Bailey. There is a pile of unresolved conflict which I have been praying for reconciliation for for years now, and then there’s the current situation where we as her parents are now forced into thoroughly painful decisions.
So we have prayed and cried, prayed some more, and cried some more. Sometimes while sitting with her, we’ll just look at her and admonish her. It’s strange because she cannot hear us, and we know that, but she’s also still there physically. And then we cry because we already miss her. We have continually begged God to forgive her of all her sins. As Allen Nelson told me this week, He has the power to do all His holy will desires.
We are confused. We don’t have all the answers. We are resting on the Rock that is Christ, and His immutability is the greatest comfort to us. We are sure of His perfect love toward all those who repent and trust in Christ.
People say things like “Parents should never have to go through this.” This is true, but at the same time, isn’t the central point of the gospel that God sent His Only Son into the world to be the savior of the world?
If Jesus Christ suffered the curse of the law for His elect, why would we expect this sin-cursed world to be devoid of difficulty? God didn’t spare His own Son. We must suffer as well if we expect to be glorified by Him.
What I want to encourage you about is that being faithful doesn’t mean stuffing emotions but capturing those emotions and evaluating them biblically. It means taking anger and either repenting of it or processing it in a godly way. It means crying when you’re sad, yet confessing that God is good and right the entire time.
It’s painful to lose a child. Bailey is not dead, but our Bailey as we know her is gone.
Jesus Christ was raised from the dead though, and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. God forgives sinners on the basis of Christ having made atonement for him. Repent and believe the gospel, today, dear friend. Receive and rest upon Jesus Christ as he is offered to us in the gospel. He is the only redeemer of God’s elect, who being the eternal son of God became man, and so was and continueth to be God and man with two distinct natures, in one person forever.
More Acts of Providence
The sheer number of people who have expressed their love and help to us is astounding. The internet is a horrible place, but Christians can use it for good. Tonight, a nurse walked into the waiting room looking for us. He wanted to tell us that he was at church last night at the weekly prayer meeting and someone brought up Bailey for prayer. He ended up assigned to her section.
So a man we don’t know was praying for Bailey yesterday with a whole church of people who don’t even know us. We are humbled and grateful.
I also ask for prayer for the evangelism which has occurred this week. We have been a testimony to everyone we meet. I have handed out dozens of tracts. I’ve prayed with people in the hospital. We have witnessed to nurses and doctors. They’ve seen us emote, and they’ve watched our interactions as husband and wife and they’ve seen our faith in action. We’d never have wished to be here, but while we are here we are missionaries to this place. May God give an increase!
Pray for us that we would continue to walk in holiness. This is a marathon. A lot of people can “be strong” for a day or two. Adrenaline will carry you through a few days with very little sleep or food.
But to continue to walk by faith we need God to work in and through us. Pray for us. Beseech the Lord that we would respond in a godly way when we encounter opposition or conflict. Pray that we’d be forgiving to those who we need to forgive. Ask God to make us repentant when we sin, seeking forgiveness from those whom we have wronged.
I feel like I have rambled here. My thoughts are scattered, even though some of them felt so articulate before trying to type them out. My brain isn’t as quick and clear as usual. Fatigue will make a coward out of any man, but it is also a good place to be to learn to rely on the Lord more. We are creatures of the flesh, and we rely on the flesh more than we realize. Thank God, He brings us to the end of our flesh, driving us to Him so that we may truly bathe in His grace and power.