|Lakeview Baptist Church||
|Lakeview Baptist Church||
After nine long months filled with morning sickness, back pain, swollen ankles, weird cravings, and increasingly difficult hugs, it was finally time for my wife to give birth to our first child, our son.
When we first found out we were pregnant, we lived in Indiana and were about to graduate from college. We had a house, jobs, friends, a church home... We were pretty well established and thought we would be sticking around the area for quite a while. Then, about three months from our due date, God started letting us know He had different plans. My wife and I started praying and felt like God was leading us to move to Ohio where most of our family lived. I personally tried to convince God He was nuts- after all, we had no jobs in Ohio, no house in Ohio, and I started to wonder if God understood just how crazy the idea of packing up and moving with a wife who was 8 months pregnant really was. His response was the familiar refrain:
"I am with you. I am your God. I will strengthen you. Surely I will help you."
So we moved. We lived with my wife's Grandma who was gracious (and crazy) enough to open her house and let her super pregnant, about-to-pop Granddaughter and her husband stay with her.
Then, a couple months later, labor ensued. The day that we had so anxiously awaited and dreamed about had come. But the day was far from what we dreamed it would be.
After some labor and pushing, our baby boy went into distress. His heart rate plummeted and he had his first bowel movement in the womb and started breathing it into his lungs. The doctors had to perform an emergency c-section. Our baby boy was immediately taken after birth to be intubated because his lungs weren't working. I don't remember how long it was before we could see him for the first time, but when we did, we could only stay for about 20 minutes and we couldn't touch him, and the doctors couldn't tell us if he would even be alive the next time we could see him. The hardest thing I've ever had to do was choose what to say to my boy, knowing that it could be the last thing he ever hears his daddy say: "Elijah, I'm your daddy. Mommy and I love you so much, and no matter what happens we are so proud of the little boy you are and we are so happy we get to be your mommy and daddy! We love you and we'll see you soon."
Thus began our 40 day journey with our son fighting for his life in the hospital.
Growing up in church, I was always told that God is always there for me and that I needed to have faith that He would take care of me, and I believed it wholeheartedly- and I still do to this day. I've known since I was young that faith in God requires total surrender and faith that He would be there and would never leave or forsake. But believe me, there are times when I felt like God left me. I know there are times when it's hard to step out in daring faith into the unknown and trust that God would always be there with us. For me, it didn't feel like God was around when the doctor said "He's very sick. He might not make it through the night" or "Without a very risky, last-resort procedure (ECMO), he may have a 15% chance of survival. The risky procedure might increase his odds to 30%" or "We don't know what effect the lack of oxygen to his brain might have on his development if he does make it. He might never be able to walk or talk, or he may have a number of other developmental issues..."
But along the way, He assured us that He was there and that we needed to trust that He is sovereign and He is good. Ultimately, God loves my boy even more than I can, and He asked us to trust Him and His plan for us and Elijah. I wanted to take my boy home and I wanted him to be healthy, but God asked me to be willing to let Him take my boy home if that was His plan. So I did.
We are about to start our Daring Faith series at Lakeview during the months of October and November, where we will be challenged to step out in faith and boldness, to take the risks that God asks us to take and allow Him to use our Daring Faith to change our lives and do great things through us.
God asks us for total surrender- everything we hold dear, the absolute most important things in our lives- He asks us to give it over to Him, daring to have faith that He will take our faith and use it to change us and the world. And He will take care of us along the way. We surrendered our boy's life to God's sovereignty. Our boy is now 3 years old with a completely clean bill of health, and our lives and so many other people's lives have been changed through it all.
What is God asking you to surrender? How is He asking you to step out in Daring Faith?
We'd love for you to join us on Sundays in October and November as we find out together!