Just Keep Breathing
There is something to be said for repetition and redundancy. Most humans are quickly bored by it. Nonetheless, we are generally renewed by it. Just keep breathing everyone. Breathing may seem like nothing more than a redundancy, yet without air in continuous supply to our lungs, we soon perish. And oh, how excited we suddenly become when we experience difficulties breathing! I guess it is just a matter of perspective we often lack, when we dismiss the importance of redundancy.
So at the risk of boring you by repeating myself, I will state again, as I have several times already in other writings, that the year 2013 has been incredibly difficult for my family. In fact, it seems to get progressively worse as each month has unfolded. If this fork in the road of my life were to be made into a reality show, I think it could easily be titled, “A Dark Stretch of Road.” And while that title sounds ominous or perhaps somewhat depressing, I cannot help but be hopeful.
I have this inexplicable sense that something better is on the way. And this sense I have is not based in speculation because the odds are in my favor that something better must come based on how bad it has been thus far. No. I am not blessed anymore than the next person. My trust in an unbelievably loving God (who loves to show His favor toward me “just because”) compels me to expect something great is bound to happen from the spiritual realm, no matter how dire circumstances may appear in the natural world. God is a generous giver, and I imagine he appreciates gratitude from those who thank Him consistently. Lord, I am thankful!
If I seem overly optimistic, let me assure you I am not. This is not a pie-in-the-sky assessment by any means. My sense of something great coming is greater than mere optimism could hope to muster, for I believe in miracles. Miracles are the supernatural extensions of God’s love into our natural world to draw our attention to our Creator. Yet in the present, I have every reason (based on what I have seen so far this year) to turn tail and run away from faith. In the natural world, I have experienced rapid reversals, hardships and heartaches, mountains of misfortune, and barrels filled with bad news—by the ton in fact.
Yet God has not changed in my assessment of Him. He still loves me. He has promised me life with the challenge to trust and believe in Him, and not be discouraged by what I can only see. And because of His great and lavish love, God continues to reach out to the lost in order that they may be found in dark places. So, based on whom God is, and claims to be, I remain convinced of His Providence, Power, and Promise. He is gracious to save. And I need grace now more than ever. And grace is what God is all about.
At this very moment, in the midst of many trials and storms, something else has happened that I cannot quite wrap my brain around (trust me; I have a pretty big noggin.) My first-born child, a daughter, thirty-five years of age, suffered an accident on a Friday morning, on a dark stretch of road, on October 18, 2013, in Santa Cruz, California. She suffered severe head trauma, and has been lying in a hospital bed, in an Intensive Care Unit, in a medically-induced coma ever since.
As I write this article, a machine is monitoring her breathing with great redundancy. Nurses and medical staff enter her room and check her status with regularity. I am not bored by any stretch of the imagination. I am fascinated by the routine. I welcome it for the sake of the life in that bed. And though I have prayed a great deal in my life, it seems I have never been so repetitious or fervent and frequent in that exercise in my entire lifetime as I have been this past week.
And I love my headstrong girl so much! Thank God she has a thick Doyle skull! According to the report, a Good Samaritan just happened to drive past the accident as my daughter was suffering on the ground. That kind soul called for help and emergency personnel arrived, treated her, then transported her to the nearest hospital. She was airlifted to a major trauma center in San Jose, California, where she is being treated at present.
And I find myself talking to her at her bedside, telling her, “I love you,” with such redundant abandon that I surely must be boring her to tears. If only she would open her eyes and say, “Okay, Dad! I love you, too!” That is what I am selfishly praying with repetition. For at the moment, I trust that God will forgive me this one redundant request to, “Please let her live.”
I cannot help but think of all the times God went out of his way to say, “I love you.” After all, God blesses me in so many ways every day. Redundantly, in fact! How long and often have I made Him wait for me to turn to Him and say, “Okay, Father! I love you, too!” Why am I so stubborn sometimes! Must be that thick Doyle skull.
That’s okay, Jennifer. Take your time and heal, Baby! Just keep breathing. Dad is right here. And I will keep saying, “I love you,” because I know you are on a dark stretch of road right now. Even better, God, Your Father is right here with you. And I know He can hear you when I cannot.
I am powerless to help my daughter. I have never felt so weak in my life. Yet I know God is powerful and strong. He is gracious to save! No matter what happens, God is in the house and this hospital. Something great is going to happen because of God’s greatness and faithfulness.
My family is grateful for the outpouring of love and prayer that our daughter has received since the news of this accident first broke. People all over the country (and in places around the world) are praying for Jennifer and our family. We are grateful to God and all of you for your faithful, persistent, passionate, and redundant prayer. Please keep praying! Never has anyone in our family experienced anything like this response in prayer and loving support. You are amazing just like the God who created you!
Jennifer, just keep breathing, baby! Daddy loves you! There I said it again.
Please keep those prayers coming. Something better is on the way.
God is gracious to save!
(copyright 2013, Gregory Allen Doyle)