Deteriorating health. A marriage on the rocks. Conflicts at work. The iceberg, dead ahead. Awareness buys you time, and time buys you options. What happens though when a sudden event brings your life to a complete stop?
I assumed March 2nd would go as any other normal Tuesday. The only difference was that my third child was scheduled to be born that morning. In retrospect, my first mistake was the assumption (perhaps a bit of hubris) that we would be in and out of the delivery room with no issue. According to my plan, after a check-in at 8:30 AM at the hospital, my third child would be brought into this world at around 11:00 AM, and I was wondering what the plan was for lunch. At 5:00 PM, he still wasn't here. At 6:00 PM, he still wasn't here. Congratulatory texts from family and friends sat unanswered as my wife and I wondered what was going wrong.
When my son finally made his appearance, he was unresponsive. A healthy pregnancy up until the day of delivery. This wasn't in my plans for the day. My mental and physical existence was equally split, simultaneously. Mentally, I was attempting to reassure my wife that everything was going to be just fine, while stepping out onto the battlefield for some spiritual warfare. Physically, I was attempting to hold my wife's hand to reassure her that everything was going to be just fine while using my other hand to manipulate an infant manual resuscitation bag, while the doctors tried to address the other issues plaguing my son.
As the next week in the hospital unfolded, I am unsure if I had to witness anything worse than my son being taken from my wife's chest in the delivery room just mere seconds after being placed there, as the doctors explained that he needed to be in the NICU with no further delay. As I followed the doctors and my son to the NICU, I turned around to look at my wife still laying on the delivery room bed, tears streaming from her face. I closed the door without a word. This wasn't in my plans.
I immediately became angry and resentful as I followed the doctors down the hallway. I wasn't listening to Him. We are told in Proverbs 3:5 to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding". At that moment, I didn't trust Him and I thought I could lean on my own understanding. I knew better than what I was acting. My faith is strong and I allowed doubt and uncertainty to consume me. As I continued to be in prayer and thought throughout the week, visiting my son's bed in the NICU as he lay there attached to wires and tubes, I came to realize that my greatest failure was not my son's health or my wife's well-being, because I had no control over that. My greatest failure was an inability to listen to Him, an inability to be still and allow Him to work.
I was in a hurry to get my son home. I was in a hurry to get back to normal.
As my son's condition improved, I submitted everything I had to the Lord and finally gave up what little (if any) control that I had left. I submitted my heart, my mind, and my plans. I acknowledged that I was not sufficient enough to save my son, my wife, or myself. It never ceases to amaze me how words of the Bible come to life. I met Him halfway through Proverbs 3:6 ("in all your ways submit to Him"), and he held up His end ("and He will make your paths straight").
Our third child was born on March 2nd and was discharged from the NICU on March 8th. He is a completely healthy boy, and now our party of five is complete. Relative to some of the other children (and parents) we saw in the NICU, we made it out of there pretty easily. NICU was not in my plans and I handled it pretty terribly in the beginning. The MINUTE that I submitted my heart, mind, and soul to God in that hospital hallway, crying uncontrollably, I felt His presence and knew that we were going home with our son.
Men, be still and listen. Step outside of yourself and recognize that we do not possess nearly the amount of control that we believe we should have. In the midst of a difficult situation, submit to Him and your paths will be made straight. We know that whoever exalts himself will be humbled. The next time you face difficulty, give it all to Him……...and wait. I promise He will be there.
James 4:10 "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up."