Well, now that I have your attention with the title of this blog, let me explain myself. My job finds me visiting people in the hospital from time to time. Sometimes I have the privilege of celebrating the amazing wonder of the gift of new life while other times I am praying over someone facing serious surgery or diagnosis with an more uncertain future. June 2004 was one such time for my family as we were in the midst of praying over our newborn premature child who at 13 weeks premature was fighting for his life. There was one particular day in July 2004 that his delicate body was shutting down and all we could cling to was the one thing we can really ever cling to, the sovereignty of God. You see here is the connection between soap and the sovereignty of God; every day approximately 4 times a day my wife and I would go to the NICU to see our son and before we could ever go back to the room where he lay hooked up to various machines, PIC lines, monitors, and medicines, we had to wash our hands. We went to see him 4-6 times per day as we arranged our new reality around our other son at home and his nap/sleep schedule and the gift of our new sons. 69 days he was in the hospital and we were there at least 4 times/day so we washed our hands approximately, 276 times. I washed my hands so many times the very smell of the soap at that particular hospital takes me back to a place I need to be reminded all too often, a place where my hope is always and only in Christ.
As my wife was wheeled back from emergency c-section on that early summer morning in 2004, I wasn't certain of the outcome. I wasn't certain my wife would survive the surgery, and I wasn't sure I would ever hold my son, so I did the one thing I knew to do; pray. I stood just outside that surgical suite and prayed for my wife and son, I prayed and asked God to protect them. There wasn't anything profound about my prayer, it was rather like the babbling murmurings of a child who needed his Daddy, and I did need my Heavenly Father. I finished praying and positioned myself where I could look through a window in the surgical suite, and as I stood there waiting and hoping I was overcome with emotions and cold with fear so much so that fingertips were cold. After some time passed the doctors emerged, he was born! He was born but no cries, no movement, in fact no life in that moment. The doctors whisked him off to another room and there in that moment I clung to a confidence I felt I had been given from the Lord, he's going to be ok! A confidence that God had a plan for this little boy, a confidence that he was going to be ok. Of course I had no idea what his "ok" was going to be and to be honest I didn't care, he was my son and I loved him before I ever saw him. I loved him when I could not see him or hold him and I would love him when I could do those wonderful things parents get the privilege of doing, holding and beholding the image of God in the creation of a child.
For 69 days this is the promise we held on to, a promise we believed was being fulfilled in God's perfect timing as part of God's sovereign plan for us, for him. We had a son who was part of a story he will never remember except for what we tell him. We had good days and not so good days, ups and downs but one thing never changed, our hope in the sovereignty of God. So now, 7 years later every time I find myself back in that hospital I always wash my hands, I am drawn to it. I am not drawn to in some mystical way, but more just like I need to go wash my hands. I used to think I washed them because I supposed that seems the most sanitary thing to do when you are going to visit people who are not well or have young immune systems. The more I think about it, it seems I go there to wash my hands to remind me of a time when hope in God was all I had to cling to and in that there was freedom and peace. I need to go there (my singular hope in God) more often and if I thought going there every day for the rest of my life would actually put me in that place of hoping and trusting in the sovereign plan of God I would go there, but it won't. This gives me that hope I long for, John 17, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=john%2017&version=ESV
I can however cling to God's Word and all the promises in his word that remind me of his sovereign plan and find hope there. Right now we are a name amongst other names on a wait list as we wait for referrals for international adoption and smelling the soap reminds me that God is in control of my waiting and his timing is perfect and I need to be reminded of that over and over again. I know we are more than a name and it is more than "just a list" and we have been able to see God's sovereign hand in the process, but it never hurts me to be reminded just how much I need my Heavenly Father.
Smell the soap, hope in Him!
"Count it all joy my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." --James 1:2-8
oh and if you want to see that promise fulfilled so far...his name is Jack, he's AWESOME!