Our son James Thomas would be 4 years old.
4 year old boys romp around, drive their mom’s crazy, they don’t listen and they are constantly in need of help. They also start pre-school, earn star student awards and play soccer for the first time. Around four, they start to “pump their feet” for the first time by themselves on the swings and can operate the “digger in the sandbox” by themselves. Independence is gained and for a brief glimpses freedom is not only given, but also earned.
Every age I now see through a looking glass. I have children who have been every age from 0 to 11 years old (my oldest is 11 years old now). I took for granted every experience, every minute, everything. Now, I see so clearly the experiences I miss. It hurts so damn bad.
So I ask the question why? Why us? Why James Thomas? What on God’s earth could have God been doing in this situation?
And through that same looking glass, little revelations occur, opportunities to ministry happen. Last week a good friend of ours had their nephew pass away suddenly and unexpectedly at 3 days old. This same pair of lenses will be shared now with them. Life hoped for will now not be shared but longed for in moments that we can never have. No birthday parties. No first steps. No soccer, first communion or marriages.
So why Lord? Why?
In little glimpses perhaps I get the answer. Staring into the looking glass, begging for answers somedays, God gives pieces of His puzzle to me.
Shortly before learning of that little three day old boys unfortunate passing, I was meeting with a pro-life organization in Ohio preparing to share a keynote address at their upcoming winter conference. In that meeting, the executive director shared a story.
Their was a family who’s son was turning four years old this fall. In the summer of 2013, their son, at 20 weeks gestation was diagnosed with Kidney disfunction, Potter’s Syndrome, the same as our little James Thomas. And in a similar situation, the doctors only offered to peacefully end his life early (abortion!), like he was a damn animal or something. That couple decided not to end their son’s life because of a story they had heard through church, of a family who endured and embraced their child’s life for everything God had made it to be. The executive director shared that she thought it was our story that inspired them due to the timing.
The obvious was coming to light very quickly in my heart and my mind as she continued to share.
This couple chose life, under the same duress we had with James – of being offered to end their child’s life due to an abnormality. They rather said no, we will embrace everything the Lord has offered to us. May God bless them for this choice…because…
Over the next 15 weeks, they did everything with their son. Roller coaster rides, Ohio State Football games, trips to the zoo…it sounded so familiar. They lived the life, gave experiences to their child in the womb, while he was alive.
As the day of their child’s birth came, the gravity of the moment became very heavy, a weight I well know first hand. On the day of their son’s birth, a mix of joy and grief overwhelmed their hearts. At their child’s birth, expectations of a brief but full life were rocked by Jesus and his plans…
Their son did not die…their son did not perish like that of a medical diagnosis…no, he lived!
Tears totally overcame me as the obvious became true. This son, this boy had lived against every medical likelihood. He did have kidney problems, he did live a hard first few days but life took hold, a kidney transplant at one year old and now this little boy has his fourth birthday party ahead of him.
So what of this story? Why? Why did James Thomas come into our lives?
As I sat their the vision of sheep entered my mind. The vision of Jesus, leaving the flock to track down the one sheep who had wondered, risking the other 99 in order to save just one. And the question entered my mind…is it worth it for just one? Jesus left the flock at great risk in order to save that one sheep…for him, it was worth it for just one more…Luke 15: 1-7
If this child had lived through abortion threats, doctors’ diagnosis and parents fears due to James and his inspiration, is that worth all the pain, loss and heartache we shared and continue to endure?
Jesus left the flock to save just one. He perhaps used us, used James as inspiration for this one child, so that he may live. Yet we suffer.
Is it worth it for Just One?
Honestly, if not for Jesus and his story the answer would be an obvious no. If not for the greater glory of God revealed, the answer would be this is crazy. But, staring into that looking glass, seeking God’s revelation has revealed to us little glimpses of the reality all around us and the vision the Lord has for everyone to find Him.
Your story, whatever it may be, shares the same fabric. We were inspired by couples who had endured the same cross. They spent time with us and ministered to us. A doctor a hundred miles away, sent us notes of encouragement and introduced us to couples who shared the same walk. He did not get anything from it, no payment, no service and it was on his free time. Praise be Jesus for him, asking the same question, is this worth it for Just One?
His answer yes! brought hope to our fallen situation, and his ministry brought James to life, even if only for a few brief moments. And that Just One, brought this child to life, who against all odds now celebrates his fourth birthday this fall season.
I can’t carry this burden so I ask the Lord to Yoke himself to me and carry it for me. Which he does readily and willingly because he knows we need it. He knows their is one more yet to be saved, lost and wondering and in need of his peace, love and joy. He knows it is all worth it for just one more.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11