Saturday, April 30, 2011

God's Wisdom and Ours

A few minutes after Micah died, I was ready to leave the hospital room in which we held Micah as he died. But before we left, my brother stopped all of us and asked if he could read from scripture.

He read from Romans 11,
“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable are his ways!
For who has known the mind of the Lord,
Or who has been his counselor?
Or who has given a gift to him
That he might be repaid?
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36.

In those moments following Micah’s death, I was filled with many questions for God. Why did He allow Micah to fall from the chair? Why did He allow the pea to go into his lungs when he fell? Why did He allow Micah’s airway to be blocked when, four days later, Micah tried to cough up the pea? We didn’t have the answer then, nor do we have answers to our questions now.

But God does. God’s purposes, though often unknown to us, are being worked out in and through our lives to form a story far more redeeming than any novel ever written by a human hand. While I cannot use my feeble mind to reach to touch even the beginning of God’s infinite wisdom, we know that God is good, and that He is working together all things for good for those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.

My brother’s recitation of this passage was a helpful reminder to me at that moment that God is good, even when I could not understand what He is doing through Micah’s death. God, who requires no counsel outside of Himself, whose wisdom is infinite and eternal, decided that the most loving act for us and for our Micah was to take him home. In God’s goodness and wisdom we needed to rest, and that passage provided me assurance that just because I could not understand what God was accomplishing does not mean that He is not, even now, using Micah’s death to accomplish His purposes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We Could Let Micah Go

On July 27, 2009, the day after Micah choked on the pea and lost consciousness, Micah was still on life support. While the ventilator was helping him breath, he had lost all brain activity, having gone about 1.5 hours without any oxygen. That morning, our family met with the team of doctors at the hospital, who informed us that there was no hope for recovery for our little boy. While our extended family members seemed to be in agreement that we should take Micah off the ventilator and let Micah go, I was having a difficult time making that decision.

Part of me wanted to give it more time, to see if, by some miracle, Micah’s brain activity would improve. What if we committed a week to praying for Micah, to see if the Lord would respond to our continued urgent pleas for a miracle? Aside from God’s ability to work miracles, my “earthly” mentality was to give my son every opportunity to “fight” for life. Besides, as strong believers of the pro-life movement, didn’t it make sense to support every effort, maybe even extreme measures, to keep Micah alive, regardless of the quality of life?

In the course of that morning, Pastor Kenny encouraged us from 2 Corinthians chapter 5, verses 6-8, which reads,
“Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

Pastor Kenny encouraged us that, because Micah was already “away from the body” in the sense that his mind was already gone, we should let him go so that he could be “home with the Lord.” I realized that if we really believe that Jesus has redeemed us from the grave, and if we really believe that Heaven is our real home, we want Micah to “go home.” Paul tells us that we would prefer to be “at home” in our eternal home rather than “at home” on earth. Given that Micah’s mind was already gone, it seemed to us that it would be counterproductive to keep Micah’s shell of a body here even though we was already, and would always would be, “away” from us cognitively. It was good and right of us to let Micah go into his eternal home.

I am so grateful for the words of encouragement spoken to us that morning through Pastor Kenny from the book of 2 Corinthians. God spoke through that passage that morning to give me assurance that it was good for us to let Micah go from our earthly, temporary home here in Minneapolis so that he could go to his eternal home in heaven. And what a home that must be!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Habbakuk 3:17-19

In grieving Micah’s death, we relied (and continue to rely) heavily on the promises of the Bible. As an encouragement to all of us to know and study scripture and to let the word of God speak to us in our daily lives, I wanted to share, over the course of a few posts, a few of the scriptures that spoke to us through the circumstances surrounding Micah’s death.

Praising God Even With No Fruit on the Vine

First, Habbakuk 3:17-19 encouraged me to praise God even through the hardest day of my life. The morning of Micah’s internment and funeral, I was reviewing some of the messages left to us under Micah’s online obituary. A Christian colleague of mine had left us a message that included a citation to Habbakuk 3:17-19. At home that morning, I wrote the passage on a piece of paper and brought it with me to reflect upon throughout the day. This passage reads,
“Though the fig tree should not blossom
Nor fruit be on the vines
The produce of the olive fail and
The fields yield no food
And there be no herd in the stalls

Yet I will rejoice in the Lord
I will take joy in the God of my salvation
God, the LORD, is my strength
He makes my feet like the deer’s;
He makes me tread on my high places.”

When there seemed to be no redeeming value, no “fruit on the vine,” to the death of our only son, all we could do is worship God. We turn our affections to God even during these trials for, as the Psalmist says, “Whom have I in Heaven but you?” (Psalm 73: 25). If we don’t praise God now, we will lose ourselves in anger, bitterness and depression. But if we lift up our eyes to Heaven, we can live in the hope in the resurrection to come. When there seems to be no benefit to what the Lord has brought, all we can do is praise God not for what we see, but for what we hope to see, someday, when God reveals the purposes He accomplished through trials such as Micah’s death.

When we arrived at the cemetery for the internment, I stood next to Pastor Kenny. While we waited for others to arrive, I pulled out the piece of paper on which I had written the passage. Pastor Kenny noticed the paper and asked what passage I had written. As it turned out, Pastor Kenny had planned his internment message around the very same passage. The Holy Spirit, it seemed, was using this particular Bible passage to encourage me to lift my attention up in worship to God, even when I could see no “fruit” in everything that had happened to us.