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Why a Miracle?


12-13-06

Sitting here in the dark ICU in the wee early morning, I hear the constant beeping of the monitors. The oxygen hisses and Jaymun grunts in his sleep. For now his vitals have leveled as his body fights to maintain life. I watch our brave guy sleep, his little chest heaving up and down against the weight of his huge distended belly. Fatigue is taking its toll on his consciousness - the moment of intubation is looming.

As I run my eyes over his body I keep a running commentary with God. "Jesus, look at his face. He is sleeping. What a beautiful boy You gave us. Thank You for giving him a little rest tonight. He looks peaceful. But Lord - his breathing is so labored. Can You help the breathing? And his heart rate. Thank You Lord for keeping that normal."

And then he makes some baby noises through heavy breaths and jerks his head and arms. Wow - that seemed to hurt. I push the morphine button again. "Lord, Lord, help... he needs you Lord, look at him Lord, please take away the pain Lord..."

His tummy seems so large... "Lord - can you please do something about his tummy? Please help his tummy to get smaller - for the fluids to properly leave his body..."

And the big problem - his liver. Yes - the liver infection. The challenge. The danger. There we need the major miracle working. You can't live without a liver.

"Lord... please..."

Help from the Lord - a miracle. That is welcomed by most. It is easy to be self-sufficient and talk a brave game when life is strong, but when you come this close to death, suddenly what the Lord can do (or will do) is the only thing left.

Emergencies quickly reduce philosophy to a simple cry for help. But is that a hopeless cry of desperation, or is it a SOS urgently placed with a confident expectation of timely rescue?

I admit that I regularly visit both ends of that spectrum. This has been a hard week. I am tired. Jaymun is deathly sick. The doctors are uncertain. The nurses are worried. And to properly communicate Jaymun's peril, I cannot sugar-coat medical expectations. The doctors say that if Jaymun's liver infection is not controlled, he will die. That is horrible heart-wrenching news. Jennifer can not even muster enough energy to write about it here. She is down in the ICU crying.

However, I have a hard time even repeating a sentence that includes the words "he will die". Somehow I want to stop hand-wringing and communicate that all is not lost. The ship may be leaking and the pumps struggling, but I am still waiting for help. I "put in the call" - "used the radio" - and I am confident help is on the way.

What is different today than Monday? Nothing. I am still tired. Jaymun is still sick. The doctors still are not sure. Everyone is worried. I can see the questions (or resignation) in their faces. And I know the feeling. Because there are many times I feel the same way. Helpless. Worried. A Failure. Unimportant. Lost. Ignored. But not always. Many times, like this morning, I do NOT feel lost. I do NOT feel helpless. How do I explain that? What makes me feel encouraged? Why hopeful?

Why do I expect Miracles?

Well for starters I can tell you the reasons I do NOT expect a miracle.

NOT because I am a great religious guy, or deserve it in any way. If God took out His scorecard on my life I would be very ashamed.
NOT because of any special ability to pray. Most of my prayers are quick thoughts and unorganized comments. I am sure there are many more humble and fluent people.
NOT because I feel like God is telling me special things. I am not the kind of person who goes around saying "God told me..." I do not trust my own perception or ability to decipher heavenly communication.
NOT because I have been able to figure out medically what needs to be done. If medical treatmment could do it all, then we wouldn't need a miracle, would we?

Why then? Well, for starters, because God is Who He is. My confidence exclusively comes from the character and abilities of Who I am talking to.  This has nothing to do with my fore-knowledge of a certain outcome. It is simply that in this emergency I am turning to:

-One who is SO BIG that this problem is child's play to resolve. When you are in a rowboat in a storm - you want help from a "bigger boat". In this case we are calling on the Captain of the heavenly coast-guard.
-One who is SO GOOD that no matter how we try to manipulate Him, He stands on principle and does the right thing. After we made such a mess of this world, He sent His own Son to follow through on His plan to deliver us from all our sickness, pain, and sin (Merry Christmas!)
-One who is SO UNDERSTANDING - He knows what it is like to have a Son in trouble. On our account He had to watch His own Son suffer horrible things. He can relate to my aching heart for Jaymun.
-One who is SO TENDER that He takes time for the smallest children and littlest problems: "Let the little children come to Me..." When I bring Jaymun to Jesus, He does not turn him away.
-One who is SO DEPENDABLE that we can trust Him with all our troubles - and then sleep peacefully because he "never slumbers or sleeps". Even if everyone else gives up He stays true " Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me..."
-One who is SO READY TO HELP: "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you..."

The skeptics think this kind of confidence is misplaced, and the religious think it might be better to be at peace with any outcome. I can understand their reasoning - but at this point I do not have either the time to second guess or the luxury to relax.

If I am in the storm and the other passengers in the boat want to discuss whether the helicopter is really going to come, whether the wind and waves are too strong, or whether we should just relax and prepare for any outcome, I will need to apologize and turn back to man the radio.

"Mayday, Mayday, Lord... Lord... please help Jaymun's liver..."

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