The Past in the Present

When I was 6 and he was 4 my brother had to have brain surgery. Before we knew what was wrong I remember my mama driving us to the doctor with me in the back seat with him. He was holding a bucket and had thrown up numerous times. I remember looking at my mama… no make up, hand over her mouth as she drove, praying and crying. We were all scared.

I remember the doctor saying it was a virus and sending us home. I remember a few days later my brother woke up one morning and his eye was crossed.

I remember my parents making arrangements for surgery in a town an hour or so away from our small town in North Georgia. I remember them telling me that I would stay with our dear friends on their farm for a little while so that I could attend school and not have to stay in the hospital. After all… kids weren’t allowed in the hospital in those days. The irony.

I remember my daddy, who chopped wood and cut grass with a sling blade, coming to pick me up from the farm. He carried me to the car in his big arms and took me to see my brother. There were wagons in the hallway with blankets inside to ride the kids from place to place. I thought that looked fun. It looked fun until I saw my brother. Head shaved, scar behind his ear with black stitches running down. I remember my daddy pointing out a big fountain on the ground below my brother’s hospital window.

It would not be until years later when I heard my daddy stand up in church and give his testimony about my brother, and what we’d endured as a family, that I would understand the significance of that fountain.

My big, strong daddy explained that through many many tears he’d looked out that window and prayed. He had asked God to save his little boy. He prayed scripture and begged God for a miracle. What happened next he thought no one would believe, but he said it anyway. He said that in that fountain, as he prayed, Jesus showed my daddy His face. Perhaps it was a vision of pictures that he’d seen in the past, but somehow my daddy saw God that day and He knew that my brother would make it.

The first surgery did not work. After days of observation the shunt that they’d installed was not functioning correctly and so they did a second surgery. My daddy said that he never waivered in his belief that the Lord would make it all work out for good.

While cooking dinner last night, with the squash and chicken making my house smell like home, I stood and thought about God’s faithfulness throughout my entire life. We have to connect the dots. We have to look back and see His hand weaving through our lives like a weaver making a large beautiful cloth. We have to see those that God placed in our lives as compasses pointing us to Him. We have to see circumstances and life lessons and near misses as His hand gently nudging us towards Him.

I hear people say that someone hurt them and so they ran from God. Sometimes they say that they suffered loss and that God could never have intended that to happen so how could HE love them? Well, what if God used those things.. those hard times… those scary times to help us see that we SURVIVED even though those things happened? Are we so short sighted that we miss that He’s carrying us through?

My brother is 41 years old. He lives with my parents, but he’s preparing to be married next year. He has had a hard road, but he’s not bitter. He knows that God’s hand of salvation, healing and grace has touched him. Otherwise he would not be here. And my family is just thankful… thankful that the Lord allowed us to see His rescuing hand at work. I am thankful for the years of difficulty and pain. It is through those years that I’ve learned what it is to have joy.


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