“…I have planned this in order to display my glory.”
…so the Israelites camped there as they were told.
…As Pharaoh approached, the people of Israel looked up and panicked when they saw the Egyptians overtaking them. They cried out to the Lord, and they said to Moses, “Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves in Egypt? What have you done to us?”
…But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”
…The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israelite camps. As darkness fell, the cloud turned to fire, lighting up the night. But the Egyptians and Israelites did not approach each other all night. Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side!”
It took me a couple weeks to find the words.
Benaiah’s brain MRI in December showed so much improvement. NONE of the doctors are recommending surgery anymore. The fluid collected around his brain and his arachnoid cysts are almost totally resolved. He has healthy brain developing forward into the spaces where fluid had accumulated. He’s babbling, crawling, standing up, meeting or even exceeding his milestones, and we’re weaning him off his medication.
Lord, I don’t know what to say.
I didn’t dare hope for this, but you have done it. Chief of Medicine, you have stepped in and treated my baby’s brain with delicate healing in your hands.
I was helpless. There was nothing I could do but ask you to have mercy on him. I cried out in terror and unbelief and you stepped in with power and compassion for my little son and his brokenness. You didn’t have to, but you were able, and you leveraged that power for our small story. In all the world and all its damage and hurt, you saw ours and you said ‘yes.’
Lord, may I never get over it. When Benaiah is getting into trouble and constantly moving and bonking his head and wrecking his bike and arguing with me over his homework and driving me nuts, I will praise you and praise you and praise you because I didn’t know if he would ever be able to. Every breath, every roll-over, every grubby smile is an announcement of your mercy to us because he might not have been able to do any of it.
It was his brain – the physical organ that houses who he is – and it was swelling and seeping and bleeding and sustaining damage and he was sleeping constantly and refusing to eat and losing weight. Lord, he was so tiny and fragile and he could have slipped away. Maybe his body would have survived it, but the control center was flooding and the doctor told us to cancel our plans and prepare ourselves because she didn’t know how much help Benaiah was going to need.
“Our help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:2)
“…The Lord is my helper, I will not fear…” (Hebrews 13:6)
All the help Benaiah needed – you were able to give it. You were able to restore where doctors could only labor to install and maintain a drain. You are able to meet needs that I cannot. May I remember. It is okay when my kids need something I cannot give, though I have offered all I have. Because you have offered all you have.
“Since He did not spare even his own son, but gave him up for us all, won’t He also give us everything else?” (Romans 8:32)
I was trying so hard to prepare myself for a ‘no,’ because I know sometimes you say ‘no,’ and you’re allowed to, and I may never get to understand it.
“…His rule is everlasting and His kingdom is eternal. All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as he pleases among the angels of heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, ‘What do you mean by doing these things?’…All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud.” (Daniel 4:34-35, 37)
I fell short of Abraham. I did not freely offer you my son. I did not even come close to unwavering certainty that you would restore him to me somehow if I gave him up. I had no promise for his future, and I was stared down by the harsh fact that parents everywhere beg for their sick children and walk through the unthinkable. I almost lost sight of all the times parents in your Word begged you for their kids and you said, ‘yes.’
I had nothing to offer or bargain with or to convince you – only a bleak, pleading prayer and a body of people who held on hoping and praying and fasting and coming before you for Benaiah’s sake.
I withered in despair: “So many people have healthy babies. Did I ask for too much? How could God allow this to happen to Benaiah? He has broken my heart!”
Cody’s response was this: “He’s broken your heart? He has saved our son!”
I saw the peril. He saw the rescue. Oh God, thank you for that rescue. I am undone even now every time I consider it – what was at stake, what you have done. Only three times in his career now, Benaiah’s neurologist has seen hydrocephalus stabilize on its own. I couldn’t find a single study that supported a long-term Diamox regimen for this; in children it’s never enough to just give them medicine; it’s a stop-gap to get kids to surgery.
You reached down and cancelled it.
Twice, your people came up against the water. They held out a staff or stepped into a river, you worked, and the water receded. Now, as I stare at image after image of Benaiah’s brain scans, I see the water receding, pulling back, making a path for steps forward.
From: There’s nowhere to go! Water on one side and an army on the other. Darkness. Panic. Uneasy waiting.
From: There’s nowhere for it to go! Water building, stretching, seeping out of his ventricles, across into his brain tissue, swelling and compressing, and he’s not reabsorbing it fast enough. Darkness. Panic. Uneasy waiting.
To: Suddenly, there is a way that wasn’t there before. From nowhere to go, to receding waters. From terror to relief.
And it wasn’t just Moses, who reminded everyone that God would fight the battle and held out the staff, that got to walk through the water tunnel to safety. All the panicking, freaked out people who demanded to know why they had been brought there to die got to go through, too. Lord, I am so thankful we have accounts of you rescuing scared people. Where would I be if you only answered the bold and the unwavering?
I’m praying that through all of this, you’re building in me that sort of confidence. I think you’re in the business of growing panicky people into grounded disciples who lean in and trust you and look for your rescue even when they don’t understand, because they’ve seen your character on display over and over. But I’m learning to be patient with that process. These are the beginnings, and it’s okay to sound scared when I call for help. What matters most is that I dial the right number.
“We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. And He did rescue us from mortal danger, and He will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in Him, and He will continue to rescue us.”