November 03, 2009

'I Will Get Glory'

Yesterday and again today, the doctors took Anne Marie off ECMO (the heart-lung bypass machine that is essentially keeping her alive) for a 30-minute stretch to see if she has what it takes to make a go of it. Both times the results were disappointing. It's a very real possibility that she simply doesn't have enough lung to survive. Tomorrow morning at 11 the entire team of doctors wants to meet with Susie and me. I'm not sure what they're going to say, but I gotta admit I'm not getting warm fuzzies about the whole thing.

One of two things is going on here. Either:
  1. Anne Marie is going to die and be ushered into Christ's presence. If so, God will receive glory -- for the salvation He provided for her in Christ, for the sanctification he is working in her parents, and for a thousand other reasons yet unknown. Or,
  2. God is going to preserve Anne Marie's life. If so, God will receive glory -- for answering the prayers of His people by displaying His mighty power and unfathomable mercy.
Now I'd have to acknowledge that, from the looks of things, scenario one appears more likely. Susie and I have read enough about this birth defect to know what we know. However, as a great old hymn reminds us: "Judge not the Lord by feeble sense." Recall, for example, what happened before God's people crossed the Red Sea:
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Tell the people of Israel to turn back and encamp in front of Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, in front of Baal-zephon; you shall encamp facing it, by the sea. For Pharaoh will say of the people of Israel, 'They are wandering in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.' And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD. And they did so.
Did you catch the significance of that? Pharaoh had finally let God's people go (hooray!), they were skedaddling from Egypt, they had gotten to the edge of the wilderness ... and then look what happened. Matthew Henry explains:
Instead of going forward, they are ordered to turn short off, on the right hand from Canaan, and to march towards the Red Sea. Where they were, at Etham, there was no sea in their way to obstruct their passage: but God himself orders them into straits, which might give them an assurance that when his purposes were served he would without fail bring them out of those straits. Note, God sometimes raises difficulties in the way of the salvation of his people, that he may have the glory of subduing them, and helping his people over them.
I hope and pray that's what's going on with Anne Marie. Scenario number two. God is hemming us in on every side, raising difficulties so that he may have the glory of subduing them. Indeed, to some extent this has already happened. Before her surgery we were told that "her chances of survival are low." Yet God preserved her life. We are praying that He will do so again, that He will unambiguously declare: "I will ... put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the LORD."