Even if He Does Not…

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.photo-4

Joey and I waited a few hours in OU Children’s lobby, praying for our little man.photo-2

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. photo-1The 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.photo-3

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.photo

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.


13 thoughts on “Even if He Does Not…

  1. Hi Ash. This was good for me to read. I’ve been thinking similar things for quite a few years, but especially in the last few weeks for some reason. I even wrote a sermon for Sunday that is along the same lines. It really would be a blessing to me (if you get time) to read your thoughts on why you pray, a part from whether or not God will “answer” said prayers or not. I have thought about this a lot, and I have my own answers, but I would love to hear your thoughts on this! So… I guess this is sort of a request.

    I’m so glad Finn’s surgery went well. Miss y’all. Love y’all.

  2. So, so true. This shift began to happen in me as I was reading A Praying Life last summer. Then, just shortly after starting that book, I had the panic attacks and anxiety. In my healing, that shift was fully cemented in my brain. So thankful for His goodness and so thankful that we have the Spirit who can reveal it to us.

  3. This epiphany happened to me a little over 15 years ago, the night before we found out I was finally pregnant. God is good no matter what. God is faithful, and He loves each of us uniquely and wants what’s best for us!

  4. That epiphany IS a very big deal, Ashley. We never know how honest we really are about our beliefs until faced with trusting God with what is most precious to us, really trusting with reserving no control. You are learning deep truths at a very young age, and God is glorified. …and you may be right. Finn just may be one of God’s special little angels. What a precious baby.

  5. Had planned to come to the book signing this am and then realized I would be at NHS CC meet in Stillwater. Still want tob uy a book or two so I will find out where. Hope you don’t get get rained on but guess you will head to FLC. Love the pics of your little man–so cute and sparkly! Glad the test came back “good”. Sarah Redwine

  6. Big stuff right here. Huge. It’s something I too have come to believe these last few years as we have dealt with loss of children. I love your heart and your ability to put it all out here. You make me weep. Btw, I can’t forget, as much as I try, that once you said something abt doing a push-up for every year of our age before bed. I am trying, almost there. Thanks for always challenging me, both spiritually and physically. Muah.

  7. Pingback: The Question of Prayer | our invincible summers

  8. Pingback: Heal Him | our invincible summers

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