Right now I'm at my desk. If I glance to my right I'm looking at a family picture from fall break. Seven faces goofily grinning at the camera. There are at least a dozen family pictures hanging up in my room. Some normal, some goofy, but always seven faces.
As I sit here typing out this blog post and looking at our family photo I'm reminded of God's grace – God's grace that allowed that picture to be taken over fall break with seven smiling faces.
Two years ago today Ian was in a Mozambican clinic dying from malaria. Two years ago today I thought our family may suddenly shrink to six faces. Two years ago today God's grace was poured out on our family in an extraordinary way.
January 18th, 2009, we thought Ian was dying. Never have I cried so hard or felt the peace of God so strong in my life as on that day. That day is still clear in my mind. We visited Ian, we prayed, we cried, and we watched as Mom and Dad cried not knowing if their oldest son would live or die. It was a hard day, but oh, how amazing the grace of God is. Thinking back on that day all I can do is turn to God in thanksgiving.
The doctors said that Ian should've died. The doctors said that Ian should've had severe brain damage. The doctors said there was no hope. The doctors weren't God.
January 18th, 2009, was the first of many uncertain days. Ian's kidneys failed and he was in a mini coma. There were many times that night when we thought he was dying. January 19th he was evacuated to South Africa. We gathered around him as medics loaded him up into the plane. Four tear stained faces and a crying Mom kissed him goodbye not knowing if we would ever see him alive again. January 20th we thought things were beginning to look better. January 21st we received word that Ian was still in a coma after 36+ hours without sedatives. Hope of life seemed slim and brain damage appeared imminent. January 22nd, Ian awoke from his coma. He not only awoke, he moved and spoke! A week later Damarise, Sarah, Andrew, and I made it to South Africa and were greeted by a talking, walking, smiling Ian.
I still get goosebumps and tear up just thinking about all that happened that week. God healed Ian! When everything said death was near, God gave life. When the doctors thought Ian would have severe brain damage, God gave complete restoration. God didn't just wake Ian from the coma and rid the malaria from his body, God completely healed Ian. God healed Ian right back to the same Ian before the malaria.
This summer we lived in a house in Missouri. Whenever we drove anywhere we usually passed a cemetery with a funeral home. Normally there were black clothed people standing outside the funeral home watching as a casket was place in a hearse. Every time I witnessed that I thanked God that that didn't have to be our family burying Ian. I thank God for the grace He poured out on our family. I'm thankful that He sustained Ian and gave him life. I'm thankful that seven faces are in the photo on my desk.
Grace. God's grace. It's an amazing thing. God is amazing. He is the true life giver. If He could save Ian from death, how much more could He save us from eternal death? He not only restores people from illness, He restores their soul. The price Christ paid on the cross by shedding His blood for all mankind brings us to repentance and to eternal life. What a wonderful Saviour.
January 18th, will always be engraved in my memory. It won't be engraved as a tribute to how painful it feels to think your brother is dying, nor will it be a tribute to the uncertainty of life. It will be a tribute to the awesome power of our Lord, Jesus Christ. God healed Ian. God gave peace in the midst of tremendous trial. God gave life, grace, and mercy. Life is short, and we are but a passing wind. God determines when we live and when we die. Oh, how great to trust in Jesus, knowing that He holds our lives in His hands. May that be what is remembered when I think about January 18th. May God be the one glorified!
If you don't know the story of Ian you can click here for a long story.