July 11, 2012

Interceding In The Heat of Battle

So I sit here and write a few days after an extremely stressful and anxiety filled illness with my son. Days ago, right after waking, my wife and I see my son Seth leaning over the edge of the sofa and he was proceeding to vomit is internal organs out (or so it seemed). I touched him to steady him and he is burning up and hot to the touch. My wife tells me to take his temperature and the thermometer registers within 10 seconds. This is not a good sign. Seth pulls it out and reads it out-loud. It sounds as if he is over enunciating each and every syllable like a hammer hitting a nail, “one hun-der-red and four point four”.  My first reaction is incredulous disbelief, “Wha?” So I read it and sure enough it reads: 104.4. My first thought is the thermometer is malfunctioning. So I take his temperature again. It beeps after about 10 seconds again: 104.4. I then proceed to freak out and run through all the worst-case scenarios and panic ensues. I inform my wife of his temperature who was watching. Time begins to unfold slowly from this point forward. He is told to remove his shirt and is given a sponge bath and rags are applied to his head. The decision is made and he is rushed to the Emergency Room. Long story short, the Strep test comes back negative and that leaves us with a viral culprit and a doctor literally scratching his head. As his temperature begins to stabilize, there is nothing they can do but discharge us with a regiment on paper of Ibuprofen, Tylenol and platitudes.

Seth’s fever breaks mid-afternoon but by early evening it is back in force vying to surmount its previous high of 104.4. and nearly succeeds topping out at 104.2. Panic again wells up inside both my wife and I. It is at this point that I realize that we have done everything we can to help my son. We now sat and waited. The stories from my grandmother come back to haunt me. “Yeah, when your mother was your age back in 1954, she had a fever of 104 or 105…we weren’t sure she was going make it, but she did…no worse for the wear.”

Lately, the Lord has been putting me in these situations (and my wife). All other options from earthly and human sources are exhausted and we are at the whims of the Lord. It is here I realize that God is calling me and is literally holding not only the hand of my wife and I but He also has his hand on my son and is holding Seth’s body in His hands.

It is now that I begin to pray in earnest. Fear does this to people. That fear can either stay on as panic or it can be channeled to faith in the only One who can truly affect a change. So I pray. The prayer is extraordinary in the fact that it is so out of the ordinary. Before I pray, I have just completed reading to my under son Bryce from his children’s Bible when he went to bed. I am trying to keep the younger son busy as mom is continuing to give him a sponge bath in the tub to keep Seth from overheating. I realize that I am teaching one while the other hovers between here and there.

As I look up I see that Bryce has fallen asleep and I pray and thank God that I have had the opportunity to teach my younger the story of Abraham and the importance of obedience. Obedience has been something that has been an issue with my younger son for some time now. During the “heat of battle” with one son that is battling with the heat in his body, I am defusing heat and issues in the other son over obedience simultaneously by essentially…reading Scripture about a man whose faith and obedience was accredited to him as righteousness.

I prayed to send my younger  son off to La-La Land (sleep). As I prayed more, my prayer shifts from a prayer for thanking him for giving me time to read to my younger son and morphs into a supplication and request that is akin to Solomon for my firstborn Seth. I ask that He can keep my extremely ill son in good health not for my wife or I but so we can have the opportunities and blessings of continuing to teach him in the ways of God and actually perform the stewardship we are given over him by the Lord, just as Solomon prayed for wisdom. To teach him the Bible so that he will grow into a fine upstanding, morally upright, biblically sound, wise and courageous young man that will bring honor to the Lord Himself. I ask this not for my wife or myself but for Seth’s well being and his soul and I realize also that I might have actually prayed this to God, for God.

I suspect that I did not pray this prayer in and of myself. It is not my style during this type of duress to pray in a somewhat selfless manner. In the past it would’ve been me praying so that “I” do not loose “my” son. In these trying stressful circumstances I am usually curt, biting and often abrasive with God. Not this time, instead I pray for “our” son.

I realize that I am speaking in first and second person plural possessive at this point. He is “our” son meaning my wife and I, but I am also honestly handing Seth over to the Lord who is in reality….truly God’s not mine. Seth is God’s creation. I am only given stewardship over Him and Bryce for about twenty years but for eternity, they’re God’s. I realize at this point I have volitionally given over Seth in an earnest prayer in hopes that he will be given back in mercy and grace….all the while knowing full well that the Lord could’ve taken Him last night as the fever approached 105.

Again I have been put in this situation only to acknowledge I have no control in this life and even my life is not my own. It is a day later and Seth’s temperature is 98.6 again. It is as if nothing ever happened. Seth is asking the same quirky questions he always asks and makes his exact precise statements like, “Bryce needs to be in a timeout for exactly two hours, fifty minutes and forty-two seconds!” These things that would’ve normally been annoying (after he repeated then 5 times) are somehow rather amusing today. Probably because I am glad to have him back on earth so to speak able to communicate to mom and pop in a coherent verbal manner…and I thank God for this. I have called back and thanked many I asked to pray for my son like my family and friends in gratitude. I realize that we are all in this together. All are, interceding, loving, caring and praying for one another when others cannot even do it for themselves either because of the weight of their circumstance or…because they are in the “heat of battle”. Sometimes the only thing you can do that makes any sense is to pray and hang onto the "holy cow" bar on the ride God has you on as it whips you around blind turns and down death-defying steep grades.

I pray through this ordeal that we have somehow aligned ourselves as a family (both friends and neighbors) more closely with the will of the One that compels us forward for His glory: the Lord Jesus Christ. May His spirit dwell richly in us all in our times of need. Amen.

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