Isaiah’s Back!

Oh my.  Around Easter, a friend produced a video of greetings for Isaiah, a young man in our church who survived a 350 ft. roll-over accident with critical head injuries and an extended coma.  As my friend ran the camera I told Isaiah I missed his faithful service with the sound system.  I also said I looked forward to the day he would be back with us, but got choked up and had to force the words through throat blockage and tears.

There were tears again today.  Tears of rejoicing.

Today, my friend, Isaiah was in church with us.  It’s incredible.  It’s unbelievable.  It’s a miracle.  Isaiah is back home, walking around, a little more quiet than usual, but ready with a smile.   He joined the guys on the lawn for a game of Frisbee.  He throws a mean Frisbee, but has a harder time catching it. 

He doesn’t remember the accident on March 31st or the first hospital.  He says his first thoughts when he woke up were that he was glad to be alive and thankful to God for preserving his life.

After the service I was chatting with Isaiah’s mom and noticed her pretty necklace.  She turned the pendant around and it had the word HOPE on it.  Her husband bought it for her the day after the accident. 

Isaiah–and his family–have more hills to climb.  He will continue therapy twice a week.  His father will tutor him in academic subjects.  The next glorious event is the wedding of his older brother at the end of the month.  Isaiah, of course, is in the wedding.

Right now, he is a walking display of God’s kindness.  Our hearts are swelling with thanksgiving.

Thankful on Thursday

 

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Isaiah, the young man we’ve been praying for

Today we got an opportunity to visit with Isaiah, our young friend who has survived a 350 foot drop in a car crash, has waken up from a coma but has experienced some brain damage.  He has been making *remarkable* progress, ahead of every expectation.  What an encouragement to hear him say, “cool” when we told him how many people have been praying for him. And to nod his love back and grip hands when we told him we loved him. His mom was a gracious mediator, drawing out responses from him and encouraging us with her steadfast love. 

I asked Isaiah if I could take a picture to document his “celebratory” status, and he gave a sweet smile.  Of course, my camera futzed and missed the smile.  He is scheduled to come home in June and continue his work relearning functions like writing and speaking and walking.  This is such a praise.  Such a glorious work.  We continue to pray.  It is a marathon, not a sprint.

Thanks be to God.  And thank you for your prayers, my friends.

 

Wait. And Pray.

This week has been characterized by good news.  Isaiah was moved to Boise, ID (a six hour ambulance ride) to an acute care facility that specializes in head traumas.  While he is still in a coma, at times he has been responsive, giving a thumbs up when asked if he understood. 

We continue to wait and pray…wait and pray. 

From Elisabeth Elliot’s email today:
 

At times nothing seems to be happening. So it must be for the bird that sits on her nest. Things are apparently at a standstill. But the bird sits quietly, knowing that in the stillness something vital is going on, and in the proper time it will be shown. It takes faith and patience for the bird, and such faith and patience never seem to waver, day after day, night after night, as she bides the appointed time.” 


In the last year our church has had many difficulties and many displays of God’s mercy.  In July, at a cabin in Imnaha, two-year old Andrew fell unseen into a raging river, bobbed past bystanders and was plucked out of the river at the last possible moment blue and barely breathing by Isaiah’s older brother and thus saved from drowning.  Witnesses say Brian almost ran on the water to get to little Andrew.   A month later Matt, a younger dad, went over the edge with his truck and miraculously no one was hurt beyond minor leg injuries.

When you are going through grief, distress, burdened and careworn, hymns speak to the soul in a special way.  These days I wobble more than sing! (Wobble? Warble?  Related?) Today we sang:

When through the deep waters I call you to go,
the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
for I will be with you, your troubles to bless,
and sanctify to you your deepest distress.  (from How Firm a Foundation)


Here in our sickness, healing grace aboundeth,
Light in our blindness, in our toil refreshment,
Sin is forgiven, hope o’er fear prevaileth,
Joy over sorrow.    (from Only-Begotten, Word of God Eternal)

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia.    (from For All the Saints)

Let all the godly when they grieve and suffer
To Thee, O Lord, their supplications offer.
Surely when floods of mighty water rise,
They shall not reach him who on Thee relies.
Thou art a hiding place for those who serve Thee;
Thou, mighty God, from trouble dost preserve me.
Songs of deliverance everywhere resound:
Thou me with great rejoicing dost surround. (from Blest is the Man, Psalm 32)


People ask how Isaiah’s mom and dad are holding up.  Our pastor says “They aren’t.  They are being held.”  Can I quote these dear ones who are stretched beyond what they thought possible?

Isaiah’s mom: “God is sovereign!! He is in control of our past, present, and future and we will trust. And besides, we don’t have a choice. We MUST trust.”

Isaiah’s dad:  “Marathon, not sprint. I keep saying it. The Lord is good and gracious.”  His dad calls him my warrior Isaiah.

Thank you for your prayers.  This is one situation where Facebook has been a huge blessing in disseminating information to a large group of people.  One friend started to list states where people were praying for Isaiah.  The comments added countries, spots all over the globe, where people have prayed for our brother.  The outpouring of love (and you are part of that) is overwhelming.

Update of others in the wreck:  Jeff, the driver, died at the scene.  His wife and kids need prayer.  The other five boys are all discharged from the hospital in various states of healing.  We are praying for continued emotional and physical healing.  It is a mercy, an amazing mercy, that anyone survived falling 350 feet. 

New Bread



Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy and save me!
Let me lie down like a stone, O God,
and rise up like new bread.

~ Tolstoy in War and Peace
quoted by M.F.K. Fisher in How to Cook a Wolf

Isn’t this quote about perfect for Holy Week? 

Also a prayer for our young friend Isaiah, who remains in a coma.  It is a great reminder that we used to be dead in our sins and God has made us alive in Him.

God made this world chock full of pictures–symbols–of death and resurrection.  The more we look, the more we see.  Help me add to the list. 

Night and day: each day dies followed by a new day 
Our sleep is a little death; awaking is a little resurrection 
A seed dies and is buried in the ground; a new plant rises
Tulips turn brown and brittle…and come up green.
A tree becomes a skeleton…until new leaves bud
Butterflies
Hibernating bears
Drowned rice fields
Grapes are killed, crushed, bruised
Yeast is buried in flour and water
An act of repentance, a dying to self, precedes new growth

Your Only Comfort

Q.  What is your only comfort, in life and in death?

A.  That I belong–body and soul, in life and in death–
not to myself but to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ,
who at the cost of his own blood has fully paid for all my sins
and has completely freed me from the dominion of the devil;

that he protects me so well
that without the will of my Father in heaven
not a hair can fall from my head;

indeed, that everything must fit his purpose for my salvation.

Therefore, by his Holy Spirit,
he also assures me of eternal life,
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.

The first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism.

There is nothing new to report on Isaiah’s condition.  The community packed a high school gymnasium for Jeff’s service this afternoon.  The other boys are either released from the hospital or scheduled to be released in the next few days. 

Wait and pray. 

That is the job we have been given. 

Troubling News about Isaiah

Another note from our pastor:

We have heard some troubling news this morning from the neurosurgeon about Isaiah. The MRI has been read and we have learned that our Isaiah is suffering from “diffuse brain shake”. There are many bruises throughout the brain, but two particularly of great concern. One is in the area that effects communication between the left and right sides of the brain. This is very critical. Also, in the area of the brain that helps wake you up out of a coma.

We are all very concerned.

If Isaiah does not awake from this the prognosis is not good. The EEG showed a slow pattern, which was what was expected. The good news is that it did not show any signs of seizures. We need to continue to pray for Isaiah that he would awake from the coma and tell us of his great adventures. We all love him so much.

In Jeremiah 29:11-12 we read of a promise which the Prophet gave to the nation of Israel in her darkest hour. Even a candle shines the brightest in the deepest darkness. The Lord told that despairing nation. “I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans of good and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Such a people had just been trampled by an unstoppable army. But, instead of these words being trite, they were a powerful encouragement. A future and a hope are ahead, unstoppable, coming, set in the unchanging plans of God. We are told this when nothing we see can confirm it at this time. But, It is our Lord who holds the future, He has told us this and therefore we have hope.

God’s people along with God’s whole creation groan, in travail, as in child birth Paul says in Romans. We groan….waiting, waiting, waiting. But waiting in Hope, hope, hope. We shall all one day awake and we shall spend eternity sharing our adventures. But until then we wait, Pray that the Lord would allow Isaiah to wait with us.

Awake, O Sleeper

Our pastor is so pastoral.  He is always there to bear the burdens of his sheep. Here are words he sent to our congregation as we continue to pray for Isaiah. The next 12 hours are crucial. 

We are called on to shoulder a great and serious burden with [Isaiah’s family].  Our Isaiah is fighting for his life. He rests in bed with eyes closed and many tubes coming from his body, but inside he is at work struggling to regain his wits. The doctors say he can hear us and so many verses of scripture have been read to him. [His dad] started reading Luke’s gospel, so each time we go in we read a little more.

This whole thing is a part of a great tragedy. One life lost and some injured and still in question. We must pray for all involved. God has sent [Isaiah’s family] more reasons to fall on their knees. [Isaiah’s mom] is saying out loud to herself. “God is sovereign…That is all I can say.” You know what? They cannot bear it. They are not living on any strength of their own. It’s long gone. They are living only on God’s grace and that abundantly.

The news of Isaiah’s situation is grave. He must wake up. As I pray with him, I see such a strong young man and I hope that he can be given more life. Pray for life. Pray that he wake up. I went in and thought, I should be telling him “Rabbits” and listen to his laugh. [“Rabbits” is a game our pastor plays with a ton of people.  On the first day of the month you try to be the first one to remember to say “rabbits”.]

As you all know so well, we are not speculating on the whys; at this point we are praying. The scene is still in motion and we respond accordingly. I was so heartened to hear of the prayer meeting tonight.. I was in the chapel [Catholic hospital] earlier praying and a Nun came up to me and asked if I wanted communion. I thanked her deeply for her compassion but I thought, what is communion if all alone and not with the saints?

Tonight as we pray together we will share communion of heart and purpose. Remember that while there is breath there is hope. Psalm 107 tells us of sailors on the sea who fighting the waves and storm came to their wits’ end. It says THEN, they cried unto the Lord and he brought them out of their distress. He calmed the storm so that its waves are still (v.28-29). We are at our wits’ end; let us cry out to the Lord.

We are entering a long trial, and at times you can feel the weariness setting in. But if God has called us to this, then He has His reasons. It will be good for us. Let us learn from Him as we take this yoke.

Waiting is the name of the game. Wait and pray. Ask the Lord to awaken Isaiah as He has done for His people so many times before.  Thank you for your prayers.

Addendum added Friday afternoon:  Hopeful news – Isaiah tried to open his eyes and move his mouth.  There is also some arm movement.  We rejoice to hear this and keep praying.  Our God reigns.

Please Pray for Isaiah

 

A young man in our church, Isaiah, is in critical condition.  He is in a coma with head injuries.  If nothing changes in the next 24 hours, the family will be faced with the decision to take him off life support.  Isaiah is a faithful Christian, ready to go home.  But we’re really not wanting to lose him. 

Lord, give us strength; give us a miracle, if it be Your will.  Help us to trust You and to trust Isaiah to your care.   

More on the accident:

http://www.wallowacountychieftain.info/main.asp?SectionID=9&SubSectionID=61&ArticleID=18427&TM=68645.2

Thank you for your prayers.