These past 6 months have been the hardest 6 months of my life! Hard times are bitter sweet because, while they are hard at the time, they also help you grow and realize the imperfections in your character. Boy, are there a lot of imperfections in my character! They also allow you to see God work, a friend of mine just sent me a message that read, “Miracles don’t happen when life is easy!” I wish that wasn’t true but all of the miracles that I can think of that have been worked in my life came at hard and the hardest times in my life. Even when I think about miracles in the Bible almost every one I rememeber happened when life was hard.
After recent events I was drawn to the story of Hagar and Ishmael, and their plight. You see our daughter, Evangeleen, has had a cough for over 4 months of her 6 month old life. We have taken her to so many doctor appointments and ER visits trying to find out what was wrong but all the doctors kept dismissing our concerns, telling us it was normal or it was nothing. She was born into the worst pollution in the world and that pollution lasted for 3 months. We did everything we could with air purifiers, humidifiers and keeping her stuck inside our room because the air was clean there. It didn’t matter though as she would succomb to the pollution and develop a cough. The cough started small and slowly grew.
When her cough started most of the kids were away on summer break, but now we have an 8 yr old, Noy, and she came to us sick. We think her sickness plus Evangeleen’s cough slowly turned into pneumonia. We took her to a lung specialist and he told us nothing was wrong with her lungs and that it was probably reflux. Everyone kept saying reflux, reflux, reflux, while our baby would never puke or burp up anything. It just didn’t add up and she kept getting worse. We finally decided to take her to the most expensive hospital in Chiang Mai and within 10 mins the doctor said it is 100% an infection and ordered an X-ray which showed she had severe pneumonia. I found out yesterday, after 9 days in the hospital that when we admitted her, the doctor was scared that she wouldn’t make it. She has been getting better but slowly and at much slower rate than the doctor expects (I am in the hospital writing as the baby sleeps). They have ordered so many test and have done so many things to my baby that hurt me just to watch. So, here we are almost 10 days later, still in the hospital and although the pneumonia is gone, there is something else that is producing mucus and taking her oxygen levels down to under 90% we got up to 93% yesterday but she has since regressed to 90% again. We need her to be at 95% to be able to take her home, but she hasn’t reached it yet and her breathing is still assisted. They have tested for RSV, TB (twice mucus and skin test. Results for the skin test come back tonight but looks negative as well) and whooping cough, which all came back negative.
So, how does this relate to Hagar and Ishmael? Well, it was very hard for me to give this to God. It was harder than most things have been for me to give to God and it was weird to me because I have less control over this than anything else that I have struggled with. Anyone who has seen me or talked to me in the last few weeks they know how hard this situation has been for me. It has definitely taken a few years off of my life. I didn’t think there were stories that related to my situation in the Bible. There were the stories of the kids that were already dead and brought back to life, but I didn’t remember anything that dealt with the suffering of watching your child die. With everything I was dealing with I was impressed to read the story of Abraham, because with the sickness she had, it most likely came from the other kids not washing their hands and I felt like we were sacrificing our daughter for all of the other kids we have. The idea of sacrifice led me to Abraham, but as I tried to get background of the story I was amazed because of the story of Hagar in chapter 21.
Hagar was Abraham’s second or lesser wife and was the mother of his first born, Ishmael. Well, after he had his first son from his second wife, his first wife, Sarah, had his second son, Issac. When he was born Sarah got angry about Ishmael and told Abraham to kick them out. He sent them away with some bread and water and after it had run out and they had walked a long way, sHagar thought Ishmael was going to die. Hagar cried out, “Please don’t let me see the death of the child!” (Gen 21:16). Then she cried and lifted her voice to God. God heard the cry of the child and saved them.
I was blown away! Hagar was dealing with the samething as I was! She felt like she was watching her child die! I quickly got on my knees and prayed, “Please Lord, don’t let me see the death of my child.” While I was praying I started thinking about the prayer my wife and I prayed while she was pregnant, “Lord, if she is not going to grow to love and serve you please take her from us now.” We had quite a few problems in our pregnancy and this seemed like the only logical prayer to pray. But, part of that prayer involves her growing and I realized that God gave her to us and that meant that He was going to allow her to grow and not be killed by pneumonia! After that prayer I felt much better about everything. I was not worried about her anymore. It was hard to watch the things they were doing to her an Sd the pain she had but it was easier to trust God with her life.
I realized that the prayers and promises in the Bible are there for a reason! To claim them and pray them! It was also nice to see that the situation I was going through, someone else already went through and I was able to learn how to deal with it through the Bible!
Now, Evangeleen is out of the hospital after 12 days. She is not 100% but she is getting better. We are hoping she will be out of the woods soon, but it looks like there is a deeper issue. We are working with the doctor to figure out why she is still having trouble breathing. We know that God will work everything out and that there are great things planned for her. He has already worked great miracles for us in the short time she has been home and we know He will continue to.