I'll be honest, friends, sometimes I just want to say, "Stop the ride! I want to get off." or "I don't want to play anymore. Just give me my daughter healthy and strong, and we can all just go on with our lives." We've prayed, and I know many of you have prayed, "Lord, just heal her! Surely, performing an instant miracle would bring you much glory!" But God in his wisdom is choosing to heal her over time and not instantaneously.
One message that God has been speaking to Linda and I over and over and over and over and over again over the past year has been, "Wait." Wait on me. Trust in me. Be still. Wait. He's given us song after song about it. And people have spoken it to us over and over.
But as a city boy, especially one from New York, waiting is the hardest thing! Waiting and not knowing what the next moment, or the next day will bring. Waiting not knowing if the thing that you so hoped for will really come to be. But God's message is clear. Wait.
Wait. Wait. Wait! I don't want to wait anymore! I want my girl to be healthy. I want to take her home with me. I want to see her cheeks plump and rosy red, full of life and vitality. I want to hear her cry, hear her laugh. I want to see her eyes and I want her to see me. I want to hold her close. I want to brush her hair. I want her to know me. I want her to snuggle into my chest as she falls asleep in my arms. I don't want my only access to my daughter to be 30 minutes twice a day through a hole six inches wide across. Wake me up in the middle of the night because your hungry, Alicia! Wake me up because your scared. I don't care. I don't want to worry that you've got blood in your brain or internal bleeding. I don't want to worry that you're not getting enough air. I don't want to hear that you've got a blood vessel that should be closed but hasn't that might cause you to have respiratory or heart problems. I don't want to see tubes and wires sticking out of your little body. I just want you to be healthy and strong. I want it now!!
Funny thing is, if all of this didn't happen. If Linda hadn't gone into labor early, if Alicia hadn't made an unexpected entrance into the world, we would still be in the process of waiting. Isn't that what pregnancy is about? Waiting? In the beginning, waiting to see if Mommy's period will come or if she's really indeed pregnant. Once we confirm the pregnancy, waiting for the right moment to let people know the great news. Then it's months of waiting while baby grows. Reading little posts each day and each week about what's going on with the little one inside Mommy. Waiting for the next doctor's appointment so we could catch a glimpse of baby on the sonogram. Then towards the end, waiting. Waiting for the contractions to start. Waiting for the cervix to open. Waiting for the delivery. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
Waiting is so hard, because there's really nothing we can do. We can't control the situation, and make things go faster. As much as I want to pull Alicia out of the ICU right now. I know that that would be a stupid thing to do. So what can I do, but wait.
Sigh. But what's the secret to waiting, what is the secret to enduring? I wrote it at the beginning. Focusing on Christ. Learning from him, the author and perfecter of our faith. Focusing on the joy and the promises that the Lord has given to us. Knowing that we are more than conquerors, meaning that even before we've begin to fight, we've already won the battle. God has already won. We have the victory!
Knowing that we have the victory in the end certainly makes the journey more bearable. Some of you may ask, "Well, how do you know that Alicia is going to live? And how do you know you will have the victory?" To which, I can only respond, that we claim her life and health in faith. We walk in faith that she will be more than OK, she will thrive. But fact is, even if she doesn't "make it" in this world, we have faith that we will see her again in Heaven. So we focus on Christ. Because of what Christ has done, we have access to God who sits on the throne, our creator God who loves each of us more than we could ever know. Because of what Christ has done, we have hope that if Alicia were to pass on from this world ahead of us, we will see her again, and not only her, but all of those that have gone before us.
I'm not going to lie, friends and say that we don't struggle. Linda and I have good moments and bad. We have our moments when we are laughing together, but we also have moments of grief and emotional exhaustion. But I know, and I know that we are covered in prayer. I know that we can have peace and respite only because there are hundreds maybe even thousands of you out there praying for us and lifting us up before the Father.
For those of you who don't know Jesus, and don't know the Heavenly Father, please, please take some time to learn more about him. As a new Father, I think I understand a bit more of the Heavenly Father's heart for us. I told Linda yesterday that if I could, I would climb into that incubator for Alicia, and take her place and let them poke and prod at me, if I knew that it would help and that it would save her from some of the pain. Unfortunately, me doing that wouldn't do anything. But it made me think about how Jesus took our place, so that we wouldn't get poked and prodded at. He endured the pain of the cross so that we wouldn't have to.
And maybe right now you feel like, you're strong. Christianity, "religion," is only a crutch for the weak. Well, I'm thankful to be one of the weak. In my weakness, God's glory can shine. Also, I know myself, I know that for me to depend solely on myself, life would be miserable.
Perhaps you've grown up under circumstances where people have only disappointed you over and over, and you've learned over time that the only person you can depend on is yourself. Well, I can only ask you to open your heart and give God a try. Please understand that people disappoint. People mess up, even Christians. But don't take these people as a reflection of who God truly is. He loves you, and cares for you. He desires for you to know him. Just the way that I desire for Alicia to know me. And he would do anything for you. But you need to know that this doesn't mean that he'll give you everything and anything that you want. Just like if Alicia could talk and asked me to let her come out of that incubator cause it hurts and it's uncomfortable, I'd have to say, sorry, little one. Please endure for a little while longer. This is the safest place for you right now and this time is necessary for you to grow healthy and strong.
Oh, wow. As I wrote that, I felt the Heavenly Father speaking those very words to me. "Sorry, Campbell. Please endure for a little while longer. This is the safest place for you right now and this time is necessary for you to grow healthy and strong." OK. Daddy. I will wait. I'll curl up under your gentle embrace. You do what you need to do. I submit.