trying times

The last few days have been incredibly trying for the Davis family. It all started with flight home from Memphis, particularly with our “missed” connection flight from Denver back to Fresno. I promise to write a longer post about our travel charade later, but for now, suffice to say that we didn’t really miss our flight to Fresno, but United still decided to slam the gate in our face. (Yes, we literally watched the door close, then be informed, “you’ve missed your flight, sir.”  Like I said, more later…)  In the end, United dropped us off in San Jose a few hours after our flight in Fresno was scheduled to land and we needed my mom and sister to come pick us up (all the while our luggage went to Fresno, where our car was also parked).

We had planned to move to Pasadena the following day, which turned out to be somewhat smooth (and expensive) but very difficult since our apartment is on the 2nd floor and there were some tight angles to move around with all our belongings. Our first night in Pasadena turned out to be an eventful one. Isabella woke up around 2pm BURNING hot. Good thing our thermometer was in a box somewhere, but we honestly didn’t need it to know something was severely wrong. While most of you might have been singing Christmas carols in church during the last Sunday before the 25th, the Davis’ were sitting in urgent care. After about 4 hours and chest x-rays, Isabella was diagnosed with pneumonia. This is the third time in the past two months Isabella has been sick, and obviously, she’s more miserable now than she ever has been. To add to the trials, Gia had a sinus infection, and I’m currently getting sick (again… for the second time in the past two weeks).

My child’s sickness strikes me in ways that nothing else can. It prompts some deep interaction between God and I. I find myself asking God to heal. I ask Him for health. Then I ask Him… “is that too much to ask?”  Frankly, those prayers have yet to be answered, but that hasn’t stopped me from continuing to ask, and it hasn’t stopped God from responding.

As I sat down to journal at Starbucks, I was listening to music and Chris Tomlin’s “How Great is Our God” began to play.  Then, a pretty intense question popped into my head… Why? Why is our God great?  It seemed like a fair question, given the circumstances of the last few days and the song playing from my computer.  Chris Tomlin attempted to answer the question with his lyrics… because he is “clothed in majesty,” “time is in His hands,” He’s the “Beginning and the End,” and because “darkness tries to hide” and “trembles at His voice.”  In other words, God is “great” because He is large, powerful, timeless, all-knowing or (insert your favorite synonym of “great” here).  Yes, the core characteristics of God should truly inspire awe, but so should standing before Half Dome or the Pyramids of Giza.  So I guess my deeper question is this: should these things alone illicit a response from humanity of praise and worship?  Do we worship God because He is powerful and mighty and awesome and majestic?  Further, what do these things have to do with me?  What do they have to do with my daughter’s sickness?  

It seems appropriate for me to be thinking about these things on Christmas Eve.  For tomorrow represents why God is truly great, decidedly different from any other, and profoundly worthy of humanity’s admiration, praise and worship.  Our God is great because He took an interest–and truly much more than that–in my life, and in my daughters life, and in the lives of the billions who have ever walked this earth.  He is great because after Adam sinned against Him, He STILL called out… “Adam! Where are you??” (it occurs to me that God didn’t have to play hide and seek with Adam).  He hasn’t stopped pursuing us since, and ultimately, He entered humanity and died in our place.  I believe that is the true definition of greatness.

So, I will continue to pray for my daughter to be healed.  I will be persistent.  I will continue to be concerned but hopeful.  But I will also begin a new prayer… that God will show me His greatness in the midst of sickness and difficulty.  I pray that the incarnation of the sovereign God will be enough for my family and I during these trying times.  And I will joyfully sing “O come, O come Emmanuel…”

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4 responses to “trying times

  1. brian, last christmas was extremely difficult for me and my family, particularly as it related to my mom’s health. i remember getting pretty real with God and asking why he wouldn’t heal or intervene to change our circumstances. i ended up gathering a group of people to pray with me for God’s transformation and power in my family. as i look at the difference between this year and last, i can see that God has in fact responded to our prayers.

    at the same time, i remember being deeply moved last year by reading Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 1. I think it speaks to the heart of what you’ve blogged about. The reason Mary rejoiced was that the all-powerful YHWH had chosen to come and act in the weak and tired, in the ones who had felt forgotten by him. Israel was longing and waiting for the powerful and majestic king to take his throne, and as you know, he did it in the most un-majestic, subversively powerful sort of way. i definitely think we can and should ask for God to move in our lives with noticeable power, and at the same time, i know my own heart is often like the Israelites and resistant to accept the help of God’s presence WITH us in the midst of weakness.

    The point of the Magnificat is that God draws near to the weak, to those whose hopes have been disappointed and who are still longing for more. As they experience God’s presence WITH them, their hopes are renewed in his power to heal and save.

    also, i am reading a book about healing, and we should talk about it when i get back to Pas. Praying you guys receive some rest from the chaos (ps – i know of many people who have faced spiritual warfare upon moving to Fuller, myself included), and look forward to seeing you in a week or two.

  2. wow. thanks for the reminder of greatness. I really need it.

    I’ll be praying for the three of you. for health and peace…

    ps. I thought of urbana the other day and wondered how you guys were doing.

  3. first problem- listening to Chris Tomlin. But redemption is found in singing O Come O Come Emmanuel…anyone’s version…

    Not to be gay or anything, but I really miss you guys already. I wish Fuller was in Merced. Maybe when we’re done we can start an extension site here.

    Have a good new year’s eve…we’re playing guitar hero at my house. Good thing you’re not here cause you’d fail us out again.

    Take some vitamins, seriously. Costco sells multi-vitamins of all kinds for all ages. You and Gia and Bella need to get in on that.

    I know the gang signs.

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