My Only Begotten Son

Helplessness is the most difficult aspect of watching my son.  Being relegated to watching Jesher struggle, fight, breath in, breath out, struggle, fight, breath in, breath out…and knowing that I can only watch, challenges my poise like nothing else.  I can’t do anything!  I can pray (and I am a full-time believer in the power of prayer), but prayer is so abstract.  It is ethereal.  And at best, it still requires me to go through a middle man.  I, of myself, can’t do anything to expedite Jesher’s road to recovery, and this fact periodically challenges my composure. 

On one recent occasion, my composure was losing a hotly contested boxing match with ‘discouragement’ as Jesher was fighting through a difficult momentDifficult Moments in NICU are defined as periods when a baby’s vital signs dip for 2-10 minutes and require the intervention of a health care provider.  I despise these difficult moments.  They make me feel so week, so negligent, so useless.  The best I can do is call for help and observe a nurse go through the checklist of possible causes until Jesher’s vitals rebound.  I can’t do anything!  And on this occasion, I also couldn’t calm myself down.  With each alarm or flashing light, my anger increased.  And the only person to blame was Yahweh.  He let this happen.  He knew it was going to happen before it happened.  He saw all of my son’s difficult moments and did not arrest them.   God has the power.  God isn’t helpless. Yet, for my son, He didn’t eliminate the threat.  This was Yahweh’s fault, and He was guilty of torturing me, my wife, and my son.

I began to internally lambaste God as the nurse worked.  As Jesher’s abdomen struggled to pull-in air, I could see his tiny face grimacing due to the discomfort of another difficult moment.  As Jesher squinted his eye’s, my brow furrowed with an utter distaste for God’s omniscience.  Through gritted teeth and clenched fist, I challenged God with every fiber of my being: “You did this!  You knew about this difficult moment decades ago, and you still didn’t protect my son!  And now he is desperately looking to me for help, but I can’t do anything about it!” 

Before I could finish my tirade against the Creator of All Things, God interrupted me.  He was not rude or brutish.  He didn’t intimidate me into fearful submission.  All he said was, “Michael, I remember what that feels like.”  The response was so unexpected and counter to my expectations that it immediately stymied the momentum of my anger.   I couldn’t resist the empathy, and I knew God was right.  He, too, watched His ‘only begotten son’ struggle to breathe.  He, too, watched His ‘only begotten son’ squirm with pain.  He, too, watched His ‘only begotten son’ suffer through difficult moments.  But thus far, I had been protected, like Abraham, from experiencing the greatest pain of them all–listening to my son cry-out for me just before he dies.

The thought was so powerful that my emotions dispersed without protest.  I realized that I was getting a glimpse into how tough the sacrifice of Jesus was on Our Father in Heaven.  Previously, the cross had only triggered sympathy for the Son of God.   But for the first time in my life, the cross became a representation of a Father’s great sorrow.

As the epiphany washed over my heart, I moved with reverence to the wooden rocking chair next to Jesher’s incubator.  I sat quietly as if I had entered into an empty sanctuary.  I fondly observed my son as I considered the story of another Father and His son.  It is the story of a Father who decided not to step-in although He had the power to do so.  He didn’t step-in for my sake.  He didn’t step in for your sake.  He didn’t exercise His power to alleviate His son’s heartbreak.  Yahweh valued my heart over His own broken-heart.  He stood over His son, crying searing tears while mean men with wicked motives tortured His only begotten.  He wasn’t helpless like me; however, Yahweh knew how helpless I was, and through supernatural self-control, did not intervene during His son’s difficult moment: For “when we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.” (Romans 5:6 NLT)

Here is Jesher’s current medical report:

BRAIN–Over the weekend, Jesher has underwent to Lumbar Puncture procedures.  This procedure allows doctors to drain cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from his brain.  This is necessary due to the swelling of Jesher’s brain ventricles.  Due to the brain bleeds sustained during his delivery, Jesher now has blood clots that are inhibiting the natural flow of CSF from his brain to his spinal column.  If the lumbar punctures cannot relieve the pressure that is building, Jesher will require brain surgery.  It takes a few days for results of these punctures to return, so we are prayerfully awaiting word from the doctors concerning whether the lumbar punctures are having the intended effect.  PLEASE ASK THE LORD TO CAUSE THE FLUID BUILD UP IN JESHER’S BRAIN TO SUBSIDE FOR THE HEALTH OF HIS BRAIN DEVELOPMENT AND TO AVOID THE NEED FOR BRAIN SURGERY.

BLOOD–Jesher’s blood and platelet levels fell again.  He received another blood transfusion and is now working to build up his feeding once again.  During his blood transfusions (which take 24 hours), he is unable to feed on breast-milk.  This threatens the proper function of his liver and gallbladder which use the enzymes created by digestion to activate their processes.  Due to Jesher’s high bilirubin levels, his blood transfusions are beneficial to his circulation but detrimental to the organs responsible for excreting his bilirubin.  His blood transfusions often feel like a classic case of “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”  PLEASE PRAY THAT JESHER’S BLOOD WOULD BE HEALED IN THE NAME OF JESUS; PRAY THAT THE BLOOD OF CHRIST WOULD STRENGTHEN THE BLOOD OF JESHER.

HEART–Jesher’s PDA [Patent ductus arteriosus] is still opened.  The doctors say that the ‘little muscle’ that is tasked with closing the hole is not strong enough to hold its position while the body secures the seal.  Due to Jesher’s premature age, many of his muscles are still developing; therefore, they do not have the strength to perform their regular duties.  Although the PDA did close, it did not have the strength to remain closed.  PLEASE ASK YAHWEH TO SEAL JESHER’S PDA SO THAT JESHER’S BLOOD CAN CIRCULATE CORRECTLY, AVOIDING THE NEED FOR HEART SURGERY.

LUNGS–Jesher’s lungs are showing signs of improvement!  He is not requiring as much support from his HFOV machine [High Frequency Oscillating Ventilator].  We are still concerned about periodic spikes in his carbon dioxide levels.  Although his lungs are improving, his body is not yet oxygenating his blood with proper regularity.   PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WOULD EXPAND JESHER’S LUNGS WITH THE BREATH OF LIFE, AND DEFEND JESHER AGAINST ALL DISEASES, DEFICITS, AND DISORDERS.

My perspective on Jesher’s difficult moments have been forever altered.  Yes, they are still quite difficult.  I hate seeing him grimace and suffer.  It is punishing to watch him writhe with discomfort.  It hasn’t gotten any easier, but these difficult moments have become more bearable.  No, I still have no further clarity on the ‘why’ behind the trial; however, I have a new and profound understanding of the ‘who’ behind this trial.  I don’t serve a God that observes my pain from a high perch as a scientist might observe an experiment.  I serve a God that knows what its like to be a hurt Father.  I serve a God who has been “touched by my infirmities.”

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

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12 thoughts on “My Only Begotten Son

  1. Michael, I am so emotional right now. I really don’t have the words to describe how this post has affected me. All I can say is Thank you, God. My! My! My!

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  2. Thank you for your transparency. Your willingness to be honest with God and run to Him with your anger, doubt and disgust has allowed a deeper picture of God to be revealed to us all. I appreciate your honesty that in still not knowing the “why,” you better know who God really is. Your personal and deep understanding of Him as loving and empathetic deepens my understanding of God.

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  3. On Easter Sunday, you preached a powerful sermon without even being in the pulpit (even though I am a big fan of your pulpit sermons). What a demonstration of God’s love for his two sons, Michael P. and Tiny but Mighty. Will continue to pray as Jesher gains health and strength. Slowly but steadily he moves forward. Love to you all.

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  4. How comforting it is to hear God speak words of comfort in our moments of deep emotional turmoil. He is truly touched with the feeling of our infirmities. This I know that Jesus is leading your family along oh blessed thought! In the night season and all the day long.

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  5. Michael,
    God wants you to trust Him no matter what!!! I feel He wants you to surrender your will to His and rest in Him. We are continuing to pray for you and Lhorraine and Jesher that no matter what happens from minute to minute that you realize that He is a good good Father and you are loved by Him! Please don’t lose your faith.
    Thank you.
    Deborah Bowers

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  6. That was very meaningful to me. Thanks for sharing your heart. I pray that the Lord will continue to strengthen you through this trial. We will continue to pray for Jesher and your family. We love you.

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  7. Michael and Lhorraine continue to worship while you wait, even when it doesn’t make sense. Praising God for Jeshur’s life and all those who cover him in prayers. Much love!

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  8. My brother, this post is #FACTS that struggle, trial, adversity, and obstacles are but tools in the Master’s hand to make our heart more like his. Thank you for your transparency, for your journey is helping others in ways you may have never imagined.

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  9. Continuing to pray daily for Jesher’s life, health, and strength. I stop and petition God as I read each special request. There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain, break EVERY chain. Blessings!!

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