Six months ago Finn’s annual MRI results came back with bad news. He had a syrinx, or excess spinal fluid in his spine–not good. If it remained or worsened after six months, Finn would need invasive, exploratory surgery to determine the cause.
Tuesday was Finn’s six month follow up MRI. The process is more difficult than it seems, because of course, an 18 month old cannot stay still for two-four hours while the imaging machine hums and moans and clicks. So, they give him gas and an IV for anesthesia.
Finn came out of anesthesia just fine. While kids around us are screaming and moaning in the recovery room, Finn’s quietly sipping his apple juice. The nurse told us he was the sweetest boy she’d ever served. “He made my day.” The Lord uses Finn in this way often. Sometimes I wonder if he’s actually an angel…chubby, porcelain skin and a smile that siphons joy into the darkest of days.
We wouldn’t know results until Thursday. As I was driving home from work Tuesday night, I told God I believed He was good regardless of the outcome. And I really meant it. I snapped a quick picture of the scenery to commemorate this epiphany.
Without realizing it, until the past year of my life I think I believed God’s goodness depended on His goodness to me. If good things happened to me and I generally felt “blessed,” God was a good God. If bad things happened or my prayers didn’t turn out the way I begged for them to, God was not good and I felt punished.
Of course I watched bad things happen to good people and struggled inwardly with the injustice of it all. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t my life. And because I’m selfish and consumed with my world, I would pray for these friends or family and sincerely shed tears and empathize, but they weren’t my tragedies and it was easy to forget them.
But Finn’s disability and fragile health conditions don’t go away.
I wake early to his whimper and the legs still flop lifeless as I change his diaper. The tiny shunt still forms a lump beneath his auburn hair and I wonder how long until the next malfunction. These things–in my mind–are bad. But I’m absolutely convinced that God is still good. My circumstances and God’s goodness are no longer connected. He is still sovereign and I am still His child–forgiven, redeemed and grateful.
I was nonetheless relieved when I received a text from Joey between clients on Thursday that the syrinx was gone! Fluid had receded and all looked healthy. God is so good!
I thought of those three studs standing at the precipice of King Nebuchadnezzar’s flaming furnace:
“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3: 17,18).
I’ve come to believe that God is good even if He does not answer my prayers. I don’t know how this shift of thought happened in me, but I think it’s a big deal. A life-changer.