My brother and I were visiting Pierce last night when it was time for the nurse to do his "cares" or freshening up. Laura, his nurse, asked if I wanted to change his diaper and after a little hesitation I jumped right in and changed my first diaper. (Sorry about the pics, they were taken on my phone.) I am glad I got to hold him a little more. It is comforting to see that Pierce is pretty solid to be so small.
Today is Good Friday. Today we celebrate Jesus' going to the Cross and His burial in the tomb. The doctors have told us that this is going to be a marathon and we are starting to feel it. It is getting emotionally and physically draining being at the hospital and driving back and forth between here and home. We really want to take this day and this weekend to reflect on the work of Christ and to pray for Pierce. When Pierce's life was on the razor's edge, I remember asking the Lord to let Pierce still be here on Easter Sunday so that I could tell everyone that Pierce will rise because Christ has risen. Lord willing, that will happen.
This morning, I read Pierce Matthew 27 in light of today. I want Pierce to celebrate the Cross. Many times when we read about what happened to Jesus we get sad. And when we focus on what put Jesus on the Cross we should get sad. Our rebellion is the reason why the God-man went to the Cross. However, if we can step back a little and see what the Cross is all about we can learn to rejoice when we hear about the sufferings of Christ. When I watched the Passion of the Christ, I felt sadness but even more so I felt a sense of joy as I watched the events of Good Friday unfold. At the time, I thought something was wrong with me. But after some research, I see that we should rejoice in the events of Good Friday (Mark Driscoll shares this same view, that we should cheer as we think about Jesus going to the Cross). We should rejoice because the mission of God, or the Missio Dei, was for Christ to come and take away the guilt of the world by bearing the punishment we deserve. And this mission was accomplished on the Cross.
It was a plan established by the Father before the foundations of the world to unite all thing in Him, things in heaven and things on earth (Ephesians 1:10). For the joy that was set before Him, Jesus went to the Cross so that He could live with rebellious sinners like you and me for eternity (Hebrews 12:2). That is love. This love is embedded in the very nature of the God of the universe. God is glorified in the Cross and when we embrace that we enter into worship; "To the praise of His glorious GRACE" (Ephesians 1:6). Not to mention that God made an absolute fool of Satan on Good Friday. Satan thought he had gained a victory over the Son of God by butchering Him on a Cross. But to his own demise, on the Cross Satan's two greatest weapons, sin and death, were rendered useless against those who trust in Christ. Like John Piper says, for those that are in Christ, Satan is now like a toothless pit bull on a chain. He can still cause some damage in this life but he has no way to deliver a fatal blow.
"O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?"
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
(1 Corinthians 15:55-58 ESV)
Everyday that passes, the worries over Pierce's death are lessened. Sadly, many premature babies who pass, pass in the first few days. Now, the focus is beginning to be more on what doctors call morbidity, or getting over illness and trying to avoid long-term defects. For us, we will love Pierce no matter what. We trust that God is going to continue to fully heal, but regardless nothing will change the intensity of our love toward Pierce. It really is a picture of the Gospel. When God looks at us, He does not see physical defects. The paraplegic or the person suffering from Down's syndrome can be hundreds of times more beautiful to God than the most physically attractive,fit person. The defects that God sees in us are behavioral or ethical. It is our giving Him the middle-finger or our leaving Him to go worship our comfort, success, or self. Nevertheless, He looks down on us and says, "You've got problems, but I am still dying to love you" (literally, on the Cross). And when all the things that you pursued besides God leave you empty and broken, His level of love never changes and He passionately welcomes you back (see Luke 15, the prodigal son).
On this day, please continue to pray for Pierce's health. His oxygen has been desaturating a lot because of his immature lungs. Please pray that his lungs would grow strong fast and that when his oxygen levels drop they will not cause damage to his brain or other organs. Also continue to pray that his PDA valve will close and that the bleeding in his brain will drain out of his ventricles and that his grade 4 bleeding will heal without any damage.
Thank you all for everything. Our hearts will never be the same after experiencing all of your compassion and support. "God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance." I want to thank my friend Heath in Alabama. We have never met in person, but we belong to an online forum for comic book collectors and dealers. Two nights ago, Heath heard about our situation. Within a couple of hours he began a sales thread in the forum where people can donates items to sell with all the proceeds coming to us. We are speechless over this and all the fundraising that people have initiated on our behalf. Also we would like to thank the best landlords ever, Brian and Judy. They are going to be helping us out on rent for the next month or two. From the beginning of our relationship, we have been so blessed to be their tenants.
Nik, Lindsay, and Pierce