Weak Man, Strong God: New Mercies I NEED
Published July 7, 2023
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23
While in the hospital with our daughter Liberty, my wife, Katie, and I developed a routine where we would stay together with her all day and take care of her physical and medical needs to the best of our ability. Then, one of us would drive home from the hospital late in the evening so that we could get a good night of rest at least every other evening. Then, we would drive back up to the hospital the next morning to repeat that routine. It wasn’t perfect, but we made it work.
Sunday, January 15, 2023: At this point, we were in the hospital with Liberty for 55 straight days and 19 days at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. In hindsight, we were only 8 days away from Katie giving birth to our son, Zion. With Liberty, we were only two days away from scheduled surgery where the doctors wanted to entirely remove her colon. However, based on the improvement that Liberty had been making we weren’t sure at this point if we wanted to move forward with surgery. Katie and I tried to implement some natural treatments mostly centered on nutrition that Liberty’s body seemed to be responding to. Perhaps the most challenging aspect at this point was the doctors seemed to have already made up their minds about moving forward with surgery, and it felt like we had to fight at every turn to do what was ultimately going to be best for her. There was a lot of tension and stress as we met with the doctors each morning to discuss the plan moving forward. We also struggled as we pleaded with the Lord for clarity and wisdom on what His will was and feeling like we weren’t getting any clear direction on what that actually was. Our desire was to give her body the best opportunity to heal without putting her health in danger based on the severity of her disease. We were very hopeful that she FINALLY was making a turn.
An Unexpected Turn
Sunday, January 15, 2023 Evening: Katie put Liberty to bed doing as well as she had up to this point in the hospital. Within two hours, she took an unexpected turn. By midnight, Liberty started to complain of neck pains. By 6 AM, she was having trouble breathing and had already vomited multiple times in the night. This was a complete 180 from what we had been seeing. I hustled to the hospital to be with my girls and be present for when the doctors made their rounds. I will never forget the look of panic on the doctor’s faces when they saw Liberty. Everyone was bewildered by how quickly things changed. All sorts of imaging was ordered. We found out that her right lung had filled with fluid because of a “chyle leak.” As a result, she would have to go to interventional radiology to get a chest tube so the fluid could be drained from her lung, and we would have to move to the ICU for further monitoring. Surgery had to be temporarily cancelled. The level of stress, worry, and frustration that we experienced as the day progressed is hard to describe. We were worn out and exhausted. Our hope had turned to disappointment. Katie and I were very familiar with the rollercoaster of emotions that we had already experienced after 55 days in the hospital. For me, this day was a breaking point that became a catalyst.
Mercy for the Moment
Liberty was taken to interventional radiology so that she could be sedated and her chest tube could be placed. Katie was allowed to go back with her while I was placed in a conference waiting room by myself. I was scared and overwhelmed. In that room, I met with God. I poured out my heart in urgency and utter desperation. Tears were streaming down my face. Anguish filled my soul. I cried out to Him for help and pleaded with Him for mercy. In Lamentations 3:18, Jeremiah expresses the depth of his own misery by stating, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” In his own words, Jeremiah was at the end of his rope and ran out of hope. This comes right BEFORE the glorious pronouncement of God’s mercies being new every morning that we are so familiar with! This gives me great hope! The new mercies that I so desperately crave are located in the very nature of God. Thankfully, the Lord’s mercy and faithfulness is grounded in His infinite being. It is who He is in His very essence. God is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. He does not lack anything. He is not restricted by time, space, or creation in any way. This is great news! God’s mercy is an unending fountain of mercy that is constantly available for all His people, and especially for His weary children. Because of Christ as our great high priest, we are exhorted to draw near to His throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16). In my state of weariness and desperation, I was out of hope and couldn’t fathom how I was going to get through the day. But the Lord remained faithful. “Tomorrow” came. It was honestly the Lord’s mercy and hope that I needed more than anything in that room and that I needed during our entire time in the hospital. It is the Lord’s mercy and hope that carries me through every season of life, and every trial I face. The Lord carried me through my anguish because of who He is: faithful and merciful.