“Look at me, Daddy! Look at me!”
“I love you, Daddy!”
“Tickle me again, Daddy!”
Then laughter and fake groaning and the sounds of a daddy and his little ones wrestling.
Later I watched as all three little ones cuddled their daddy and watched a movie. The baby was smiling in his lap, the two-year old flopped over daddy’s shoulders and the four-year old leaned her blonde head on his chest and asked her hundreds of why questions.
I watched mommy and daddy and the three little ones share a dinner of steak and chocolate -except for baby, of course.
I sat and talked with “John” about the journey we have been through since March 23. When I told him the stories of how people who had never prayed much were woken in the night with a burden to pray, of how people who had never seen God heal were following every report on Facebook, of how some were hearing the voice of God for the first time, of how a student’s mother told my daughter-in-law that she was receiving prayer updates from her mother in Vegreville who was receiving them from someone up there who knew the mother-in-law of this guy, of how friends stood by his bed and filled the waiting room day and night , of how his mother and I took turns holding each other up, of how his wonderful, quiet father was a bulwark of faith who said in his delightful German accent, “We will have no negative words here. We will only speak truth,”, of how his father-in-law wept as he cried out to God, of how his wife gave thanks in the middle of the worst days of her life and was a beacon of hope to everyone else herself, of how hospital staff from other wards found excuses to come by ICU to see what was happening, of how my friend told me she had renewed faith to pray for her own sons, of how the church is waking to come together, to pray together for healing of this land….
He cried. He cried tears of sorrow for what his family and friends endured and of joy for the kindness of strangers and for what God has done.
He said, “He didn’t have to do it. I could have died, and I would have been okay to go to be with him, but God healed me. He has given more years to be with my wife and my children. I have always loved Jesus, but now there is something much deeper.”
“Do you know how much of your effort, how many of your outstanding natural talents and abilities God used to do this thing?” I asked him. “Nothing! None. Not a thing. Boy, you were the most helpless a man could be. You couldn’t even breathe on your own. You had no blood pressure without a constant drip of medication. You had no kidney function without a big machine to clean your blood. You couldn’t move without a nurse doing it for you. You couldn’t say one charming, intelligent thing. You couldn’t move a single athletic muscle. You even needed other people to give up their own blood to replace yours. And let me tell you, the handsome thing wasn’t working for you much in those days either -and when you finally opened your eyes they weren’t even going the same direction. God used other people in the process, but none of this came about by a single effort of yours. Not one.”
He cried some more. “There is something much, much deeper about God’s love that I know now that I just can’t explain,” he said softly.
Then we received a text message from someone who had been speaking to the physician who headed the large skilled team of specialists who treated “John.”
“You know it’s only by a miracle that guy survived,” he told him candidly. Another physician dropped the f bomb and said, “That guy should be dead.”
So this is love. This is what a miracle feels like. He still has rehab work to do, but in the meantime, we laugh, we cry, we praise God. Mommy and Daddy and the kids cuddle together and we pass the popcorn while we watch a movie.
The words of an old song taken from Isaiah come to me as I write this in the early morning hours before the baby wakes up:
He has surely borne our sorrow
He has taken the sin debt away
He was bruised for our iniquities
And by His stripes we are healed today.
Love is louder.