Monthly Archives: November 2013

Precious Jonah…

By Ann:

Mike and I have been putting off having to write this post for a long time, hoping against hope and praying relentlessly that we would be able to share some good news with you all.

I just returned from visiting Jonah in the Pediatric Ward.  It is clearly evident that his brain suffered serious damage when his heart stopped during surgery.  His mom came to be with him two weeks ago.  He shows no signs of recognizing her.  As I write these words, my heart is breaking…all those prayers, all that effort, so many people loving on Jonah and praying for his healing.  His doctor believes that he is blind.  His mother is feeding him with a syringe although he is having difficulty swallowing.  He moans and is distressed.  As a mother, this tears my heart out.  It’s at times like this when my faith wavers as I ask, why?  Why did this innocent child have to suffer so terribly?  Why doesn’t he get to live a life like a normal boy running around after his friends?  Why has he touched so many peoples lives all across the world only to be unaware of his impact?  Why couldn’t he have returned to Samburu healed and whole?  Why aren’t we celebrating his healing?

I have no answers.

It’s been a hard, hard day.

At times like this, I fall on my knees.  In submission to a God who is sovereign over all of the hurt and pain.  In service to a God who hears our cries and our questions.  In honor of a God who loves Jonah more than we can ever understand.  In gratitude to a LOVE that is so perfect and so true that we cannot even begin to wrap our  minds around it.

But it still hurts so badly.

Would you please join us in our disappointment, our grief and our sadness?

Would you join us in leaning into the promises of God?  That He knit Jonah together in his mother’s womb, that He ordained each of his days here on earth, that He has His arms wrapped around his little body here and now and forever more.

The age old question of how a loving God could allow such suffering surfaces in me at a time like this.  But in the depths of sorrow and grief, I hang onto the one and only thing that I know to be true…God Himself.  As C.S. Lewis wrote: “I believe in Christianity (God) as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”   Without Him, none of this makes any sense.  Knowing and believing that He brings beauty from ashes is the only thing I can cling to.  His ways are higher than ours.  His plans are better than ours.  He is always good despite what it looks like from our perspective.

Would you pray this prayer with me for precious Jonah?

“When my life was ebbing away,

I remembered you, Lord,

and my prayer rose to you,

to your Holy temple…

…Salvation comes from the Lord.”

(Jonah: 2:7-9)

Jonah’s story is not over yet…

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Jonah has made it through surgery!

Today was Jonah’s big day, and all of your prayers and support have paid off.  He was actually looking around the operating theatre a bit before anesthesia, the most alert he’s been since his cardiac arrest.  Every patient gets prayed for as they undergo anesthesia here.  For Jonah, we paused a second time just before we began the operation, surrendering him to the God who created him.

Surgeons don’t usually pay much attention to the anesthesiologist’s monitors, but both Dr. Muchiri and I kept an ear, and occasionally an eye, tuned in to Jonah’s heart rate and blood pressure.  Jonah wouldn’t be Jonah if he let us relax completely, but he remained remarkably stable throughout the surgery.  When we re-entered his spine, we found almost no evidence of the TB which had caused the paralysis.  The prior operation, in concert with the five anti-TB drugs, seems to have already nearly eradicated the infection.  The operation proceeded slowly but smoothly.  When we finally installed the metal “cage” which supports the front of his spine, and tightened down the wires which secure the rods in the back of his spine, Jonah had grown almost three inches!  He has been so folded over from the spine destruction, he’s always looked quite small.  With his spine straightened out, he looks like a pretty normal eight year old.

This little man still has a huge road to travel.  He’s in the intensive care unit, as planned, on a breathing machine.  Strong narcotics for his pain.

Jonah resting comfortably in the ICU

Jonah resting comfortably in the ICU

A total of six antibiotics.  Tubes coming from everywhere.   A long list of potential complications.  He still needs to wake up from all the surgical and cardiac arrest trauma.  After that, assuming all goes well, we wait to see how much his spinal cord can recover.

My dream, and my plan, is to take a little walk with Jonah in his village in Samburu.

Samburu women who have sewn clothes to support Jonah's family

Samburu women who have sewn clothes to support Jonah’s family

The women in his village have gotten together to sew clothes to sell at the market to help his family.  I just met a pastor who speaks his language and is serving the nomads in his area.  So many people here and around the world have reached out to him.  I feel connected to his fate, as are all of you who’ve prayed for him and sent your love and support.  I can’t know God’s plan for his life, but he’s already touched more people than many of us ever will.  I’ll keep you up to date on his progress over the next days and weeks.

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