One of the things Chris and I have struggled with is how many people have reassured us that CJ is going to be okay. From the very beginning, many people we knew, and many we didn't know would tell us this rather boldly. We knew sometimes people can speak carelessly in a time of grief but many of these people were solid in their faith and would not shower us with false hope or careless words. God had not given us that solid assurance but rather asked for a complete trust and surrender regardless. We are called to walk by faith and not by sight. Therefore we walked ahead with eyes of faith yet asking for the assurance others so vividly had been given. Some were given visions of CJ's back being opened up and God reaching in and scraping away the tumors. We actually had two different people in two different states completely unbeknown to them have the same vision. Other shared with us that the Holy Spirit confirmed it during their prayers for CJ. Others said they just knew. Over time, our faith increased and we began to realize we could stand boldly on God's promises to CJ whether they were given directly to us or others.
The temptation to ask for a sign has been with me from the beginning but I felt it foolish, selfish and immature in my faith to make such a request. I know God gave many signs throughout history to His people to reassure them. And I know he allowed Gideon to ask for a sign by putting out his fleece in Judges 6. But I also know it is written, "Do not put the Lord your God to the test," and Jesus Himself quoted this verse to Satan when tempted in Mathew 4. So I bridled that temptation, or so I had thought...Until I found myself struggling between these two concepts this week.
I was at small fund raising event for a elementary school down the street from my house on Saturday afternoon. I thought it would be a good idea to take Brett to get him out of the house and since it was right down the street and we could walk there we would still be close by. He was reluctant to go at first but had a great time once we were there. It was a small gathering and I immediately thought I made a mistake by bringing him because most of the activities there he could not do because of CJ's condition. There was a petting zoo I had to steer him away from because of the risk of carrying something to CJ. There were four bounce houses he could not go in because of the germs. But we walked around anyway and we got him some cotton candy. He dunked a police officer twice and he did get to go on the bungee jumper thing. Allie and I ate arepas and entered in a drawing for a TV, Camera and Wii because Allie has been wanting a camera. We saw neighborhood friends and just enjoyed the beautiful cool weather and being outdoors. There was a little boy there named Noah Sinko who is a Leukemia survivor. I just stood there and watched him play and climb and run. I was so encouraged by this because many of the nurses at the hospital remember Noah even though it has been quite a few years since he was in treatment. At the hospital they call him a walking miracle. I just kept staring at this little walking miracle and thinking I wanted my own miracle. I couldn't wait to see CJ running around like this.
Corey and Brett began playing in a little toddler area when the drawing began. Allie walked away to go listen to the numbers being called. I stood alone keeping an eye on Brett and Corey and waited for her to return. Maybe it was seeing Noah, maybe it was just being there without CJ, or maybe it was just a moment of weakness in my faith but for some reason as I stood there alone staring at the large crowd off in the distance waiting for the drawing to begin I laid out my fleece before God. I knew it was stupid even as I did it. I know God is in no way obligated to answer these types of desperate requests and although I tried to hold back the words, they just came. I said, "Lord, I have not asked you for a sign all this time. I know it is selfish of me to even ask, but if CJ is going to be okay would you please show me by letting our number come up in the drawing." I immediately realized this was foolish and selfish of me and I instantly prayed even more passionately than the first prayer, "Lord, forgive me for being so selfish. I know that was immature of me, I am sorry." I turned away and engaged my thoughts on Brett and Corey playing completely forgetting about the drawing.
A few minutes later, I saw a friend nearby answer his cell phone. Suddenly, his eyes met mine and he smiled. He said, "You just won the drawing." I felt like I got punched in the stomach. I hunched over and grabbed my knees with both hands for balance and had to grasp for air. My heart was pounding and I was thanking God that even in my foolishness and selfish request He responded to me. My friend walked over to me probably wondering at my reaction and I kept repeating, "You don't understand, you don't understand." I finally stood up and looked him in the eye and said, "I asked God if CJ would be okay that he would let us win the drawing. I knew it was wrong so I immediately asked forgiveness and forgot about it." My friend just looked at me. He could see I was shaken by this response. Then, Allie came walking up with a huge smile and a Wii in her hands. I told Allie what I did and she said, "Lets call daddy." When I called and told Chris what I did and what happened he cried too. We were so overwhelmed at God's willingness to draw near to us at this difficult time. Please understand that our joy at that moment had nothing to do with winning the Wii. We already own one! It is actually perfect that it was the Wii we won as opposed to the other items. That way there is no confusion about our joy over the answer. Just to give you a glimpse into CJ's heart, when Chris told CJ what we had won his first reaction was, "We can give it to a kid at the hospital." Oh how I wish that were my immediate reaction when God showers me with a blessing above my needs.
A little while later, before leaving the festival, I was standing with this same friend and his wife. They are precious to me. In God's amazing Sovereignty, he is also the friend I mentioned in my post titled "Wednesday, September 17th" who I have been praying for for over 4 or 5 years now. God has placed a strong burden on my heart for this individual that just gets stronger each passing year. And when I want to call him stubborn and give up, the Holy Spirit tells me to persevere. Suddenly, as I stood there with them I knew it was God's perfect plan that it was him who delivered the news to me that day. I could have found out many ways. Allie could have came running back, I could have overheard the loud speaker, someone else could have shouted. But no, his wife called his phone and it was he that walked over to deliver the news. As we were talking I told him that answer to prayer wasn't just for me, that was also for him.
Thank you God for your unbelievable, undeserved, uninhibited favor in my life. Just seeing You at work is worth every ounce of suffering. Thank you that you answer me even when I ask for selfish and faithless responses from You for my own comfort. May You be honored, glorified and exalted. May the eyes of my friend be opened to Your hand in his life. May he realize that his healing from his disease is even more important than CJ's because it has eternal ramifications. Amazed by your faithfulness, Dawn