In the days leading up to the July 8th day of prayer for Josh I have been collecting emails from people who have over time taken time out of their day to email us and tell us they are praying (so if you have any please forward them). I am compiling these emails so that I can put together a scrap book for Josh, so that as he grows he can look back and know the power of prayer, and see that he was not alone in his journey. As I have looked back I am so grateful that I don’t delete emails! What a journey this process has taken me on. Reading back to the very beginning, back when Josh was still a mystery growing inside of me and right through to this latest show of support through a day of prayer for our son. I have written thanks before and always I leave it feeling unsatisfied, words cannot properly express what I feel, or how thankful I am. I keep writing it, hoping that meaning will be clearer than the last time I wrote it but still I am left feeling like I haven’t said enough.
I read back to moments like when Josh was diagnosed, and I see the outpouring of support that is only a small fraction of what is now being displayed and I am left feeling overwhelmed with the awe of it. The momentum has built to a degree that mystifies me and leaves me wondering at the people who are praying, not just friends, not just people who know Josh (of which there are many) but the people who don’t know us, the people who do not know this little boy and yet they pray, faithfully. This is community, this is being a follower of Christ. That people hear of a little boy whose heart is failing and the begin to pray, without knowledge, without hesitating, they pray and more, they continue to do so, faithfully.
I have heard a lot of people talking about the problems with being so ‘global’ as far as the internet, emails, ipads, iphones, blackberries, the digital age has left us with a way out. A way to sit in our homes and disconnect from people while pretending to be ‘connected’ via email and facebook and other social media sites. We cyber stalk friends, looking at pictures of them and their comings and goings, reading their status updates or tweets and we fool ourselves into believing we have talked with them recently simply because we know what they are up to. There are movements starting up, ‘disconnect to reconnect’ so that people can get back in touch with humanity and family values. I agree with these positions. I miss the phone calls, I miss the coffee dates that have been replaced by face book chats or emails.
However, if not for social media, if not for email and facebook or even this Blog many of you would not know Josh, and what a waste that would be. This amazing child would also not know you, not know your love, your support and your faithful care in bringing him before the Lord for healing. Not that God would do any less, I don’t believe he would have denied us the miracles granted on Josh’s behalf, but we would not have known the same astounding love and support. It floors me and humbles me as I read through your emails, as I look back at the many times I have asked for prayer and you have responded immediately in heart felt ways.
Never doubt how much we appreciate you. Never doubt how much we feel your love. Your letters, your support, your emails, will be printed for Josh to know that love as well, but more than that, what can’t go into the scrapbook is the hope that you have given us. The miracles cannot be cut out and taped into a book, we can only know them, only feel them, share them and use them to offer hope and love and encouragement to others who face difficult times in their own lives or that of their children. My hope, is that Joshua’s story will be used in this way. That somewhere out there a mother who is facing a child’s illness, a father who is holding the hand of a sick child, a brother or sister forced to miss out on playtime with their sibling because of defects or disease, that they will hear Joshua’s story and know hope. That they will see God, that they will know comfort and be encouraged. Surly that is the point to all of our suffering right? To go through it, find strength and faith and then share it with others in a pay it forward sort of way.
If saying thank you is not enough, maybe my sharing this Blog with you, and with other people who are suffering can be a way of offering that hope to them as well. That God is real in the midst of suffering is clear when you read Joshua’s journey, that he is holding us close during our darkest moments is evident, that he loves us and wants only the best for us is so wonderfully plain to see. More importantly though, is that when it’s all said and done, regardless of the outcome, Joshua’s story is one of miracles, one of love, one of hope, and as I read through your emails it’s also a story that has given peace, joy and strength.
Whatever happens, whatever the outcome, God is in control, he knows our needs more than we ourselves do and he loves us. If Joshua’s story can tell even one person that important bit of news, that one touch of information that could change a life… well then I thank God for it.