e hënë, 25 shkurt 2008

Isaiah 30:23-28

23 And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures,
24 and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork.
25 And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.
26 Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the LORD binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.
27 Behold, the name of the LORD comes from afar, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke; his lips are full of fury, and his tongue is like a devouring fire;
28 his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck; to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray.

This is not name it and claim it theology. [Isaiah 30:23 -- "And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures . . ."] No, there is a great deal more here than the size of bank accounts.

Instead, Isaiah has been hammering home that salvation cannot be achieved in a vacuum that excludes God's justice. These attributes of God, His mercy and His justice, are not mutually exclusive but instead are co-existent. [Isaiah 30:26 - ". . . in the day when the LORD binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow."] God is both healer and inflicter, inflicter and healer. A father, as he loves his son, provides both discipline and encouragement. I once heard a Christian teacher state that you should never use your hand to spank, because you don't want the same hand that spanks also to be the hand that loves and comforts. I disagree with the theory. A child must see that the hand that disciplines [the hand holds a rubber spatula in my house] is also the hand that holds and comforts.

It is the same hand, and the end goal of each action is the same. A parent desires that the child acts correctly, and that the correct action emanates from the heart. So it is with God as He desires that His children become holy. Our sanctification is molded from the clays of infliction and of healing.

Note: I have been out of town since last Wednesday, and will provide a few updates below from Alan Smith. As you recall, Alan and Michelle had a premature baby about 10 days ago. This family needs our continued prayers for Tiffany Grace . . .

UPDATE 02/20/08
We had a pretty good day today with Tiffany Grace. The doctor felt she was doing well enough to allow her to be weaned off some of the heart medicine and decreased her support from the ventilator and she is now breathing room air. She stabilized pretty quickly after these changes and had a good day. They will continue to monitor her heart through another echo in the next couple of days and monitoring her lungs through periodic x-rays. They will also continue to allow her to advance in being self-supportive as she is ready. Overall, she is doing quite well at 72 hours of life out of the womb - a huge improvement since birth. The doctors and nurse seemed more relaxed today. Time will most likely be what we need now to allow her to develop further. Please continue to pray that heart condition resolves itself, that she continues to gain strength and her organs fully recover and for wisdom for the doctors and nurses as they tend to Tiffany.We really appreciate all the prayers. The power of prayer is clearly at work here and we thank the Lord for his clear involvement in our situation. We are truly blessed to have such terrific friends.

UPDATE 02/21/08
We started off the day well but Tiffany hasn't ended up having a very good day. Her echocardiogram indicated that her heart is stressed in a lower chamber due to a constricted section in pulmonary artery (most likely due to the overwork that occurred in the womb before birth). This has gotten worse since the Tuesday echo. This is causing her heart to work harder than they want. Tiffany actually dislodged her breathing tube early in the day and instead of replacing it, they went with a C-PAP (positive air thru the nose to keep the lungs inflated) hoping she would be able to move forward without going back to the ventilator. She didn't like this all day and although she was breathing on her own pretty well, she wasn't handling the gas exchange well (too much CO2 in her blood, messes up her pH). So just a little bit ago they went back with the breathing tube which will allow her to get desired oxygen levels and allow them to add a med thru her air supply that should help her heart. It will also hopefully help her relax and get some much needed rest. She also had to have an EEG to ensure no seizure activity in the brain and this, praise the Lord, was negative. When we left a few minutes ago, she was resting much better with the ventilator back on. So, a bit of a roller coaster day and she has a ways to go yet. God has created a beautiful little girl and He is our refuge and strength and is the great Physician. We trust in Him and lean not on our own understanding during these trying times. Please pray for her doctors and nurses, Tiffany's heart condition to resolve to normal, for her lungs to strengthen, for her to get some rest and to continue to develop and grow. Thanks for covering Tiffany and us in prayer. We love you guys.

UPDATE 02/22/08
Today is a much better day for Tiffany. Yesterday, once she was off the breathing tube, they wanted to see how she would do on her own and it was just too early for her. The breathing tube/ventilator was put back in late last night and really helped to stabilize her. Another echo today suggests that her heart is about the same, but her blood pressure and gas exchanges were much better and very acceptable today. Her lungs did accumulate some fluid in them yesterday and so they addressed that today with results to be looked at again in the morning. They did a head ultrasound and it showed no hemorrhages - another praise to the Lord. She slept much of the day - she was pooped from her hard day yesterday. Our goal today was to stabilize her, provide lots of oxygen rich blood to her heart and body, lots of rest, and some meds administered (including a new heart med) - all to allow her heart to stabilize and relax the areas that have been stressed. What we realized today is that this will be a process that should be measured in days and maybe even weeks and not hours. Our neo-natal doctor suggests lots of patience and that it will just take some time. Hopefully, although there will be better days than others, we can keep the trend moving upward. Your prayers are very powerful and we certainly appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers. He will hear all our prayers and will work all things according to His purpose and to His will. We trust in Him with all our hearts, all our souls, all our minds and all our strength.

UPDATE on 02/24/08
We made a small amount of progress over the weekend, but not much. We seemed to get her breathing a little better under control and get the fluid build up taken care of - she is still on the ventilator, but on low settings and they have been able to regulate her oxygen saturations in the blood pretty well which is good. The way they got rid of the fluid problem caused her to become low on fluid/somewhat dehydrated and so to solve this they gave her more saline and more blood. This was completed last night. Her color is better today, but to prevent jaundice (she is getting a tan under some lights) - she didn't have it but her bilirubin was slightly elevated so they took precaution. The main concern the doctors continue to have is her heart function and blood pressure. Her heart is beating in the 170-185 bpm range (not that terrible for premies), but would prefer 150 bpm or so. Babies tend to elevate their heart rate when they are having complications - infection, pain, etc. They have tried multiple things and can't seem to get it down - meds, more fluid, treating for a possible infection that isn't showing up in the labs. They even checked for clotting in the kidneys today and the arteries that go to them but it was all negative, praise the Lord. It appears it may just be her heart function is not squeezing the way it should so it speeds up to carry the same amount of blood into the body. This all contributes also to an elevated blood pressure. Cardiologist will weigh in again in the morning and they plan to run another echo on her heart which should answer this for us. All that to say, we really appreciate all your prayers. We are overwhelmed by the number of people praying for Tiffany and are so blessed to have such great friends. Please continue to pray that her heart condition would resolve and that her lungs would continue to improve so that we can get her off the ventilator. She has great doctors and nurses and they also need our prayers for wisdom and direction as to how to treat her conditions. Michelle is doing fine, just need some time for her to heal. We are doing okay emotionally, but as you can imagine, we hope she improves quickly as the longer timeframe is very stressful to think about. We realize she is in the Lord's hands and we put our faith in Him.