Nancy and I have had a very blessed life. Nancy and I have an amazing marriage. We have three amazing children. We have a home, a cat, a dog, and a couple of fish. Of course, cars break down, lawnmowers have problems, and we have to pay bills. But overall, God has blessed us with a pretty amazing life.
I've heard preachers say things like: "If you haven't suffered, you will," and "God uses suffering in our lives to make us more like Him." Having never 'suffered' I began to wonder, should I pray for suffering? Should I ask God to 'bring it on' so that He can grow me in a deeper way? I realize this may sound sadistic to you. And the one time I asked the question out loud I was immediately dismissed. (I never prayed for that suffering, by the way).
But I did pray to be used by God in a big way. Of course, to me, being used by God looks more like preaching to a stadium full of people than sitting in a hospital room watching my son recover from a brain injury.
Nancy and I had lunch together yesterday - at a real restaurant, away from the hospital. We were talking about how we are handling our circumstance, and how sometimes people look at us and don't seem to understand how we can be doing so well in the midst of this. I told Nancy: "I know this is hard. It's not something I would ever want, or volunteer for. But I in the scheme of things, it's not really that bad." I know that sounds crazy. Here's what I mean. I still have a house. We have cars. We have two other wonderful and healthy children. We both have our health. It could be worse...a lot worse. There are people all around the world with a lot worse problems than ours.
At the same time, God is using this little tragedy to expand His kingdom in a magnificent way. People are praying, some for the first time, some more than ever. Teenagers are getting serious about Bible reading. Southbrook Church has come together in a way that only God could orchestrate.
Nancy and I are humbled that God would choose to use our son to accomplish such great things for His kingdom. I pray that we will continue to 'suffer well.' I know God isn't finished yet - there is still a lot ahead on this journey to recovery.
James 1:2 says "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." We certainly have had our faith tested. And the testing will certainly continue for quite some time. I pray that the steadfastness that is produced will continue to carry us through.
As you pray for Garren today, pray for his brain stem and the surrounding mid-brain to continue to heal and restore. Pray that we will see yet another baby step today.