I immediately felt like I needed to write about Phoenix and try to help "spread the word". Teresa gave me permission to dedicate a blog post to Phoenix and to link up to their website. I wanted to link up to the article too, but it isn't online any more. Their letter explains it all.
Right now my Missionette's class is working on the Healing badge. We are learning how, no matter what our sickness is, God wants us to pray for healing and to have faith and hope that we will be healed (James 5:13-14). We covered some sensitive issues around why people get sick. Many people argue that God can't be good because He allows innocent people to be sick, to suffer, to die. Many people think that God uses sickness and pain to punish us for the wrong things we have done. We talked about those things that people think and about how the Bible tells us differently. Sickness and death are part of the sinful and dying world we live in. God only allows things to happen that He can use to bring us closer to Him. Sometimes we might live our whole lives never seeing God's plan come to fruition, but it is about trusting Him and having faith that He is in charge. My girls remembered the story of Job and used him as an example of someone who never lost hope, even in the darkest and most painful times of his suffering.
We also talked about how God has the power to heal in a moment, that no injury, no sickness, no cancer... not even death itself... is too powerful for God. Sometimes, when modern medicine hits a roadblock and we find out that there are things that no doctor has an answer for, we start to feel helpless.... like maybe God can't help either. Or we get angry. 'Why?' we ask.
Throughout every line of the article in the newspaper and the letter that Vern and Teresa wrote, I had to continually remind myself... God has a reason for this. Even in this little boy's suffering, God has a glorious plan for Phoenix. God is opening doors that have previously remained shut. He has provided in so many ways. Vern and Teresa are fully embracing God's promises. "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and the door will be opened for you." (Matthew 7:7)
Doctors don't know how to cure his lymphedema, but God does. Phoenix's parents still aren't sure how they can afford to get him to the specialist at Stanford, but God does. None of us fully understand or comprehend why any child should have to suffer, but God does... and I guarantee it is breaking His heart as much as it breaks ours.
Yet God also promises us that He can give us what it takes to get through anything. God provides "...beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified." (Isaiah 61:3).
Phoenix is already such a poetic example of this Scripture. Out of the ashes of a devastating loss, Vern and Teresa received great news of their unborn child. Phoenix continues to be a fighter, one whose life is a testament to perseverance and hope, which reminds me of Romans 5:3-5.
"Not only so, but let us also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us."
Please, click on the links to the Save Phoenix Foundation blog and read their letter. Add Phoenix to your prayers and share his story.