One of my favorite passage of Scripture is Isaiah 41:10 which gives a very simple, but incredibly profound promise…
“…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)
God’s love and presence is always there. Honestly, if we are paying attention, we’ll find that God’s presence and provision tends to absorb the complexity of our circumstances. If we have a submissive heart to the will of God, all of the situations in our life will seemingly melt into His perfect will, but let’s be aware that, for anything to melt, heat must surely be applied.
God has had the heat turned up on my father’s life, and the life of my family, over the past 32 days. Heart failure, open heart surgery, CCU, ICU, recovery, rehabilitation, sleepless nights, miles of driving though Atlanta traffic…it’s all taken a toll. In some ways, it’s taken a massive toll on our lives. For my father, the price has been great, but his journey is full of miraculous provision. God has, yet again, proven His sovereign worth through this situation. He’s proven it again and again. A wonderful verse in Lamentations sums up what I have observed in my dad’s life over the past 32 days.
This verse says…
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…” – Lamentations 3:22-23a (ESV)
Over and over again, every day, every morning…God’s love has been on full display. It was there in the back of the ambulance as they defibrillated his heart in our driveway, and again on the way to Spaulding Regional Hospital. It was in the ER where they determined that he would not live through the night unless an emergency surgery was performed. It was there in the decision to postpone that surgery and let his body rest, intubated and sedated, in the CCU of Piedmont Hospital. It was there on Sunday night, October 23rd at 3:56 AM, in the CCU that I personally observed God begin begin to allow dad’s heart to drive it’s own rhythm. It was there during his surgery, as they successfully bypassed the most severe blockage, and his heart began to beat as if there were no damage whatsoever. I could continue, but God’s love has been on full display in my father’s life.
I thank God for His mercies and His profound love for His children. Dad continues to improve daily. Your prayers are, as always, something that my family is incredibly thankful for in our lives, specifically now.
I wouldn’t say that we are nearing the end of his journey, just yet. I believe we’re somewhere in the middle, but the end is coming into sight. And just as God mercies, new every morning, have enabled us to travel this far, I know they will be with us to end…and further.
Great is His faithfulness.
Below are the updates I’ve posted on Facebook since November 7th.
November 7th, 7:18 PM
Update on Dad…
Today has been a good day for my father. When I left him on Saturday, he was tired and a little lethargic. Again, this is not a bad sign, it's just normal. Yesterday, my mother told me that he had a much better day, and today was even better than Sunday. He's had a few visitors over the past couple of days, he's alert, and she informed me that he has eaten more today than at any other time since this all began. He's also been cleared by his speech therapist to drink Boost shakes, which offers him many nutrients to help his strength. And, he sat up in a chair today for an epic 2 hours. Thus far, that's a new record, and I'm happy that he lasted that long.
I can tell that his voice is getting a little stronger, and he even called me on Sunday afternoon. I spoke with him on one occasion today, and we had a great conversation. Things are certainly not back to normal, but he's transitioning in the right direction, and for that, we are thankful.
My mother is also doing well. She continues to spend every day with dad, she's sleeping well, and she is encouraged by his progress.
So, the past couple of days have been great!
Thank you for your prayers! I'll let you know more soon!
November 9th, 4:47 PM
Update on Dad…
In the middle of a very busy day, I've managed to talk to my father twice, and he even called me once! Dad is doing great, and he's slowly beginning to return to his normal self. His voice is getting stronger everyday, and he's finally beginning to eat pretty well. Things are looking good for my wonderful father, and I stand in awe of a God who made that all possible.
The time that has elapsed since Oct 14th has been more stressful than I could even imagine. It's odd how that stress manifests itself in your life. It's very intrusive. But, through it all, God has been so good to my family. As the days go by, we hope to see life returning to some type of normal. It may be a new normal for all of us, but it's normalizing to a degree.
Again, I can never thank you all enough for your concerned communication, thoughtful compassion, and, mostly, for your earnest prayers for my father and my family. We have felt those prayers, and they hold greater weight in our life than you might imagine.
So, Dad is still in rehab, but he's progressing daily. He's fully engaged in therapy, and he's making much greater progress than in the previous week. We're all happy with what we see and hear. Mainly, we're just happy and humbled that God has spared the life of this precious man.
God is still in the business of mending broken and damaged hearts.
He's still our Healer, and He's forever our King...much more than enough.
November 13th, 2:38 PM
Update on Dad…
It's been a few days since I have shared anything with you guys regarding my dad. Well, he's doing great! Most of his mobility is without assistance! He's moving slowly, but he's moving under his own power and with much more stability. His appetite has returned, and he's eating well. The only concern is that his voice has still not returned to normal, and his swallowing is not as it should be. It's getting better, but the process is very slow.
I talk to him daily, and sometimes, he even calls me. We don't talk long, but the conversations to me are a little like having a party on the phone. It's great to hear my father returning to the beauty of his former self. As his strength improves, his personality returns.
We have big plans for dad this coming Saturday, as it is our intention to take his dog, Max, to visit with him. He knows nothing of this, and we're looking forward to seeing what happens. My concern is that dad will be thrilled, and Max may have a heart attack. He misses my father, and my father misses him. We're going to have a little reunion this coming weekend. Pray for little Max's heart.
Mom is doing great, and she continues to go and spend every day with my father. I'm so touched by their love for each other, and I'm excited for him to be home so they can be together again in a normal setting. My mother is a fighter; she is resilient. I thank God for her love and care for both my father and me. She's much more than we could ever ask for or deserve.
To those who have asked...I'm fine. I'm still tired and a little stressed from the enormity of the past 31 days. Stress is awful, and, frankly, it's a new feeling for me. It might have taken this episode to allow me to understand the limits of human endurance, and to realize just how fragile we can be. But, I'm doing well, and I'm looking forward to being with my family this weekend.
Many of you all have asked me how much longer he may be in rehab. The simple answer is simply this: I do not know. He's getting much better, but his swallowing will need to return to normal before they release him. Frankly, I'm quite sure his mobility, although improved, still needs much more work.
This is day 31 of the journey. It seems like it's been much, much longer, but I am so amazed by the evidence of grace that I have observed since 11:45 AM on October 14th. Many miles have been traveled since then. There have been many days without sleep, and frankly, the immensity of the situation has been overwhelming at times, as I have watched my father's life hang in the balance. The good news is that the balance is securely held in the hands of God.
I have been preparing myself for something like this for several years now, and, upon it's arrival, I found myself pitifully unprepared. But, God was not unprepared; He was not taken off guard, and He refused, because of His unfailing grace and love, to leave my family alone for the struggle. He's been right there all the time. He continues to be there.
Day 31...God is still on His throne.
As if there should have ever been any doubt....
Keith Beatty is a Worship, Missions and Media Pastor living in North Alabama. He's excited and very humbled to be a follower of Jesus Christ!