I have written before in these blogs about getting angry with God and the results of those emotional outbursts. Well here is another, quite personal, one. The photo to the left is of the machine readings of the incubator that sustained my grandson, Ryan’s life when he was born. He and his twin sister were born too early, leading to them spending the first two months of their lives in the neonatal intensive care unit of Saint Joseph’s hospital in Denver. Ryan was 3 pounds, 7 ounces at birth.
I had taken up residence in his room late one night, a few days after his birth. I was sitting in his room listening to the hissing and beeping of the technology keeping him alive. It was dark outside with the only light in the room coming from the machines. I was sitting in a chair quietly, doing what I do best. I had my journal open, writing in it by the light of the incubator with my Bible beside me. I was lost in intercessory prayers of, “Oh God, don’t let this little boy die.” And then, as if in response to my prayers, Ryan stopped breathing. The little white line in the photo went flat and the machine started a buzzing sound. After his respiration stopped for a while his heart rate also dropped, the little green line ultimately going to zero. Flatlines crossed the monitor and a red alarm bell joined the buzzer. “Oh God, don’t let this little boy die!”
In ran a nurse assigned to care for Ryan. She grabbed the incubator with both hands and shook it. Ryan, startled by the motion, started to breathe again! The nurse forgot I was in the darkened room—it was her turn to be startled. She explained to me in great detail that Ryan is still supposed to be dependent upon his mother for autonomic functions. In other words, His brain had not developed enough yet to take care of his primal functions. She went on explaining this was normal for children born this early; “It’s why we are here twenty-four-seven.”
As she was continuing her clinical discourse, I was wandering spiritually and emotionally. I found myself asking in a demanding, angry manner, “Where are you in this God! My grandson is surrounded by the height of technology, yet it takes a human to run in and shake him in order to live.” I lost all composure. “Oh God, don’t let this boy die.”
In a still small voice, Father God finally spoke into my rage. He asked a simple question; “When was the last time you felt a nudge, or shaking, from me?”
I was stunned. I didn’t know what to say except, “Lord, it has been too long. Forgive me!”
Tenderly he said, “Do you not know that you also are surrounded by the height of technology, yet you too need a regular shake from me in order to live?”
Shameful, I exclaimed, “Oh Lord, turn away from me, I am a sinful man!”
I told Elaine of my experience on our way home. We cried for the entire thirty-minute ride.
This is Ryan and his sister today. Almost two now, I’ll never forget that bubble of the Kingdom of Heaven in his incubated hospital room. Praise God!