His fever was at 104 for 3 days straight. His cough had gotten worse. But when Joseph looked up at me and his eyes were crossed; we went to the ER. Joseph (then 7 years old) would stay in the hospital for a week and then leave with a tube coming out of his chest and a battle ahead. The next 365 days we spent traveling up and down Charles Street for medical appointments – Spinal taps, MRI’s, MRA, MRV, bloodwork, Ophthalmology visits… His brain was swollen, messing up his cranial nerve and crossing his eyes. His white blood cell count was through the roof. He’d lost 14 pounds, was working through brain fog and we kept going. An MRI revealed Joseph had 11 lesions on his brain. My boys brain was presented during Grand Rounds in neurology and they “couldn’t figure him out.” That’s when we switched to The Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia (CHOP).
Pediatric MS or Spinal Cord Cancer. That’s what Jason and I were told. “Joseph either has Pediatric MS or a sneaky Spinal Cord Cancer. We’ve ordered a spinal tap, MRI and bloodwork to confirm and we’ll move forward from there. We’ll be in touch with the results.”
Let’s take a breath from the story for a moment and jump to present time. The message series at Church right now is “Ordinary Everyday Miracles.”
August marks the beginning of our own Miracle. And if I didn’t write about it, well, I wouldn’t be me and you wouldn’t know about it. The alignment of this series at Church plus the anniversary of our miracle is enough prompting for me to start typing.
Okay, here’s the overview Father White gave us and I love it. Looking at these 3 miracles, we see a progression for the Apostles (Jesus’ closest friends). At first, they get to witness a miracle. Then, in the Calming of the Sea, they are in the midst of the miracle. Next, the Apostles get to participate in the miracle of feeding thousands of people off 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.
Hearing all the different ways the Apostles had access to MIRACLES that happened right in front of them, for them, by them was beautiful because Jesus is offering so many ways to see him.
Reading all the different ways the Apostles reacted TO miracles with Jesus RIGHT NEXT TO THEM gives me hope. Matthew 14 verse 15 says they were irritated, verse 26 says they were terrified and didn’t recognize. In Luke 8 verse 24, they were freaking out, forgetting Jesus was with them. In Luke 9 verse 13, the Apostles were straight up sarcastic.
I don’t know where you stand with God or miracles. But, the fact that the Apostles fear and sarcasm and forgetfulness is written in the Bible reads like gracious encouragement from a big God. Doesn’t it? It’s as if God is saying, “Look, these ding dongs were right next to my Son and still didn’t get it. And they still freaked out. It’s ok. You will too. And, I love you.”
Back to the story of our miracle… Terrified? Sarcastic? Freaking out? All of it. We were promised test results and an action plan in 2 days. But instead of 48 hours, we waited 2 weeks.
The doctor called to say, “Mrs. Smithberger, I apologize for the delay but we just had to make sure. There’s no medical explanation for this but Joseph doesn’t have anything. The 11 lesions, gone. His white blood cell count, normal. The swelling on his brain, gone. Even the marker for Lymes, gone. I had to go to hematology, oncology, ophthalmology, neurology to verify. There is no medical explanation for this.”
This ding dong was crying.
There is no medical explanation for our miracle. I still poke Joseph from time to time. I don’t want to forget.
The gift of being in and going through something hard can be that you develop a new way to see things. Looking back and writing, for me, keeps my eyes open as I move forward.
Don’t miss your miracles.
You’re a ding dong too and God will stop at nothing to get your attention. And if you get freaked out, scared, doubtful – keep looking. You might be witnessing, in the midst of or participating in a miracle of your own. Look back, look ahead – God is there.