It was so definitive, those conclusive words of the neurologist: “He will never walk or talk. In many ways he is incompatible with life.” Calvin was less than one and I was more than hopeful.
I would sit up late at night reading stories of kids pushing far past their prognosis, astounding doctors with abilities they never thought possible. I looked down every avenue that offered hope. Inspirational video clips fed me the possibility of miraculous outcomes no matter how dismal the beginning.
The stories were true. But it hasn’t been my kid’s story. In most ways, his reality matches the prognosis; he isn’t beating the odds.
I prayed for a miracle and fully believed God could do it. Some evenings I’d watch the stairs and half expect Calvin to peek his head around the corner. Or as he woke slowly in the morning I’d wait for his little hands to reach up and scratch his head or reach out and hug me. They never have.
It’s painful to realize that not every situation is one that God gives a miraculous deliverance to show his presence and power. We tend to remember the amazing displays of God’s power in history: Elijah’s showdown on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18), Naaman’s leprosy healed (2 Kings 5), or Jonah’s radical rescue (Jonah 2).
We like to remember the stories where men beat the odds. We like trophy stories, ones that showcase deliverance and give testimony of God’s power. We’d be lying to say we didn’t want to see this in our kid’s lives too.
But the testimonies of those who did not experience miraculous healing and power are just as important. Perhaps they show the alacrity of faith and God’s sustaining power even more; His “power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). We imagine the rush of triumph from the deliverance of circumstances but God often makes faith triumph through the fire of trial.
Think of Job, Paul’s thorn, the apostle John’s banishment, or Stephen’s stoning. God worked treasure through struggle and soul-refining rather than through remarkable deliverance.
You may not experience the joy of watching your child beat the odds. But take heart–the power of Christ is just as present. Not only will he sustain you, he has already accomplished complete deliverance and gained an eternal triumph.
Jesus Christ, the very son of God, subjected himself to death on the cross. He allowed the nails to pierce his hands and endured spiritual and physical agony so we could be free from the bondage of sin and death.
This is the ultimate story of deliverance. This is the story that he weaves into our brokenness. This is the story that whispers hope into our homes with kids who are not “beating the odds” and being featured on inspirational news clips.
It is morning and Calvin is coughing–his lungs are full after a night of sleep. Deliverance hasn’t come from our circumstances. But God doesn’t need Calvin to beat the odds in order to prove his goodness, faithfulness, power and salvation. Our weakness is precisely what he is using to show his power and presence.