I am not exactly sure how to begin writing this post.
I have 8 younger siblings. At the beginning of 2017, my then 8-month-old brother (2nd to youngest) was hospitalized. He was experiencing seizures with an unknown cause. Many months of questions and tests followed. Finally, we learned that he has a rare genetic mutation. This mutation can cause a lot of problems, some of which he is experiencing. Though he is now 20 months old he cannot sit up, chew, use his arms and hands, and he doesn’t recognize people or know his own name.
The prognosis is grim. Most children who have had this genetic mutation have ended up being severely mentally disabled, as well as having severe physical disabilities. In spite of therapy sessions, medications, and diet changes rather than increasing in strength and mental ability my little brother has continued to regress.
That is what this past week brought, further regression. He lost his ability to swallow properly, so his doctors had to put a G-tube in.
On top of that, we learned that my youngest brother (7 weeks old) also has the same genetic mutation. The doctors are not sure to what degree he will be affected, as every child with this mutation is different.
The Lord has been reminding me of something He taught me last October.
My little brother was going to another appointment with his neurologist. I was thinking about how that whole year had been one piece of bad news after the other. Though it often felt crushing, I had come to expect it.
One day I cried out to God, “Lord, can’t we just have some good news for once? How hard would that be? Please just give us some evidence that You are working, that You are still here after ten months.”
It was then that He reminded me that He already has given me good news– the Good News of Jesus. The Gospel (which literally means good news) is the best news I could ever receive. It is enough to cause me to rejoice for all eternity.
While I will continue to pray for the Lord to miraculously work in my little brothers’ bodies, because I believe God is able to heal, my faith and joy are not in their healing.
It is easy to think that my joy will come from a change in circumstances. However, if my joy is in my circumstances, it will always be lacking. Circumstances are never consistent, and sinful human nature will always find fault.
Vaneetha Rendall said it well, “Nothing is guaranteed in this life. Nothing in this world is sure. Nothing, that is, but God. God is the only constant in life.”
My faith and joy are in the Good News of what Jesus accomplished on the cross and continues to do today. This Good News will never change because Jesus Himself will never change.
As the Heidelberg Catechism asks: What is your only comfort in life and death?
“That I am not my own, but belong body and soul, both in life and in death, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ. He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood and has set me free from the power of the devil. He also preserves me in such a way that without the will of my Heavenly Father not a hair can fall from my head; indeed all things must work together for my salvation. Therefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live life for him.”
And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in His salvation.