I remember when I was a Baylor student and having access to a somewhat-mentor relationship with a minister whose name you'd probably recognize. I remember some important conversations and some great sermons - he could preach lights out and still can.
Here's one of the big things I remember twenty years later. He taught me about God's faithfulness from 1 Thessalonians 5.24. Don't remember that one because you don't read the last few verses of the books of the NT? Don't feel bad. I didn't either...until 1 Thessalonians 5.24.
"He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it." That's what 1 Thessalonians 5.24 says.
That shaped us and sustained us in our process with the Peanut. It shaped us and sustained us in the process with the Minion too.
And boy, it was huge in the hospital.
We just kept clinging to God's faithfulness. He had brought her home in record time. He had placed her not only in a family, but in a hospital...and not just in a hospital, but in the best children's hospital in the southwest part of the U.S....and not just in the best hospital, but in the arms of her physical therapist mother when she had the stroke. He brought her all that way. All. That. Way.
I don't want to type this because it seems to betray all the victory of her story. But the truth is that in some deep dark moment, some horrible place of blackness and sadness, I readied myself for her time on earth to come to an end, to be out of my physical arms and into pierced hands.
I'm quite literally sick at my stomach reading what I just wrote. And there are probably tears. Or it's raining on my forehead. One of the two.
Where this ugliness intersects with beauty is in God's faithfulness. He had called us to Maggie. This we knew. And He had called us to parent her. This we knew too. And He had called us to do all of this knowing about the anatomical time bomb. Yep. He knew it. And had she said goodbye to earth for a joy unspeakable and full of glory, He would've known that too.
But even in the horror of the realities and the terror of the possibilities, I was convinced - knew in my very bones - that God is faithful. If He had been faithful to see us to this point, He'd be faithful to see us through whatever the next step was. Bank on it.
That prompts a single response in me: my own faithfulness to Him. I know that people turn their back on Him when things get hard or go awry. I've seen it. It just wasn't a temptation for me during those dark days, and I think that's because I was so connected at a heart-level to 1 Thessalonians 5.24. How could I be unfaithful to the One who was so faithful to me? To my family?
I'd like to think that had things gone differently, I'd still be writing the same truth about God's faithfulness. I really believe I would. Thankfully, I don't have to find out. But I identify in a gut-level-yes kind of way to Daniel's friends in front of Nebuchadnezzar when they defied the king to stay faithful to God. He can save us, or a little girl from China, but even if He doesn't...He's still faithful (see Daniel 3).
And I want to live that faithfully today...and tomorrow...and the day after that. Amen.