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STRUGGLES PREPARE US FOR LIFE

 



STRUGGLES PREPARE US FOR LIFE

In Her Own Words:

DINA’S STORY


My husband and I had only been married two months when we found out I was pregnant. On my birthday we found

out the baby was a boy. We also learned that not only did he have a heart defect, but there was a high probability of Down syndrome as well. We broke down and cried that day, harder than we’d ever cried. But we decided against amniocentesis, a test that might have confirmed the prognosis, and we left the health of our baby in God’s hands.

 

Christian Coover was born on November 14, 2011. He was born with Down syndrome; with an AV (atrioventricular) canal defect in his heart, which we had been told about; and an aortic heart defect that doctors had not seen in the ultrasounds. Most babies with chromosome problems are born premature and small. Christian, however, was born full-term at 8.2 pounds and 21 inches.

 

Our baby boy was taken in for emergency open-heart surgery the second day after he was born, and recovery was supposed to be about three days. Instead, we spent two months in ICU. Later we found out the doctors had never seen this combination of heart defects. During that time I prayed so fervently knowing that God would heal my baby. I just knew my son would be a miracle baby.

 

While Christian was in the hospital, many people were praying for him. My mom used to remind me that “Christian has many people on their knees before God.” But because of all the medication and his condition, his kidneys stopped working. There was nothing else the doctors could do for him. God decided not to answer my prayer the way I had hoped he would. Christian passed away on January 11, 2012.

 

Losing our baby didn’t seem normal to me. It’s the most difficult thing my husband and I have been through. I still don’t fully understand why God did not answer our prayers for healing. Why even pray if God is still going to do whatever he wants to do? Clearly, my faith had never been tested like this before. At times the pain was so great that I doubted God’s very existence. I lost my baby and, with him, a lot of my dreams.

 

But I have come to understand that Christian belonged to God, not to me. And I believe we have to trust that God does what is best for us. I also see that God answered my prayer for Christian’s healing by restoring his little body in heaven, which is a far better place than anywhere on this earth.

 

We still miss our baby very much, but we firmly believe there was a reason for Christian to be with us for those two months. Christian’s story has given us the opportunity to talk to others who have, at times, felt the way we felt. My husband and I also believe that by God’s grace we will get through this and one day we will be with both our Lord and our little angel in heaven.

JOSEPH IN . . . BOOT CAMP?

Then Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king’s

prisoners were confined. And he was there in

the prison. But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. . . . Whatever [Joseph] did, the LORD made it prosper.

GENESIS 39:20–21, 2 3 NKJV

If Mrs. Potiphar couldn’t flirt Joseph into her bed, she would force him. She grabbed for his robe, and he let her have it. He chose his character over his coat. When he ran, she concocted a story. When Potiphar came home, she was ready with her lie and Joseph’s coat as proof. Potiphar charged Joseph with sexual assault and locked him in jail.

 

Not a prison in the modern sense but a warren of underground, windowless rooms with damp floors, stale food, and bitter water. Guards shoved him into the dungeon and slammed the door. Joseph leaned his back against the wall, slid to the floor. “I have done nothing here that they should put me into the dungeon” (Genesis 40:15 NKJV).

 

Joseph had done his best in Potiphar’s house. He had made a fortune for his employer. He had kept his chores done and room tidy. He had adapted to a new culture. He had resisted the sexual advances. But how was he rewarded? A prison sentence with no hope of parole.

Why didn’t God keep Joseph out of prison? Might this be the answer? “For . . . when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing” (James 1:3–4 NLT).

 

“And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who were in the prison; whatever they did there, it was his doing” (Genesis 39:22 NKJV). Talk about a crash course in leadership! Joseph managed willing servants for Potiphar. But in prison he was assigned unruly, disrespectful, and ungrateful men. Joseph could have cloistered himself in a corner and mumbled, “I’ve learned my lesson. I’m not running anything for anybody.” But he didn’t complain, didn’t criticize. He displayed a willing spirit with the prisoners.

 

God wasn’t finished. Both the baker and the butler were troubled by dreams. Both men sought the counsel of Joseph. And Joseph received an interpretation from God. Would he share it? The last time Joseph spoke of dreams, he ended up in a dry cistern. Besides, only 50 percent of his revelation was good news. Could Joseph be trusted to share God’s news? If called to stand before Pharaoh, would Joseph accurately convey God’s word? This was a test. Joseph passed it. He gave the butler good news (“You’ll be out in three days”) and the baker bad news (“You’ll be dead in three days”). One would get a new start; the other, a noose around the neck.

 

Test, test, test. The dungeon looked like a prison, smelled like a prison, sounded like a prison, but had you asked the angels of heaven about Joseph’s location, they would have replied, “Oh, he is in boot camp.”

Joseph in prison. From an earthly viewpoint the Egyptian jail was the tragic conclusion of Joseph’s life. Satan could chalk up a victory for the dark side. All plans to use Joseph ended with the slamming of the jail door. The devil had Joseph just where he wanted him. So did God.

They bruised [Joseph’s] feet with fetters and placed his neck in an iron collar. Until the time came to fulfill his word, the LORD tested Joseph’s character.

PSALM 105:18–19 NLT

What Satan intended for evil, God used for testing.

If you see your troubles as nothing more than isolated hassles and hurts, you’ll grow bitter and angry. Yet if you see your troubles as tests used by God for his glory and your maturity, then even the smallest of incidents takes on significance.

 


Every challenge, large or small, can equip you for a future opportunity.




 

The LORD will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart.

JEREMIAH 30:24 NIV

There is nothing trite about your wheelchair, empty pantry, or aching heart. These are uphill, into-thewind challenges you are facing. They are not easy.



But nor are they random. God is not sometimes sovereign. He is not occasionally victorious. He does not occupy the throne one day and vacate it the next. This season in which you find yourself may puzzle you, but it does not bewilder God. He can and will use it for his purpose.

 


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