Rousing from an unplanned nap near 1am Saturday, my cellphone blinks in receipt of a message. I assume it's spam to the work email account. Instead, it's a text message from 12:22am. It reads: Baby Pierce got his angel wings today at 3 o clock.
News began to circulate around 4pm and trickled to Caringbridge at 11:40pm Friday night. An outpouring of love to the family was already in progress on Facebook and continued through the weekend.
If you recall, Kim and I began a journey with a complete stranger in November. The expereince and the friendship forged with Leah Helms is documented in this blog post. Much has happened since then. Much.
Leah has continually stated, "God has big plans for Pierce." Beyond witnessing the love between a mother and child, Kim and I had the blessing of meeting a fellow Child of God and walking with her during a "valley" moment in her family's life. That's not a pat on our backs for being "good Christians" or lifting us up in any way. It was truly great to meet someone from Mississippi who just needed friendship, fellowship, and prayers. We could've gone about our own agenda and lives and never bothered...but what a blessing from being sensitive to the Holy Spirit!
I still chuckle how we would've never known about or met Leah, her husband B.J., or little Pierce had Leah's purse not been stolen at Children's Hospital in DC. God works in such intricate and simple ways.
Now, several fundraisers, Facebook fan pages, prayer chains, emails, and texts later...little Pierce is gone. One could ask, "Was it all worth it? All the tears, prayers, efforts...was it really all worth it?" Or one could demand, "Why, God?! Why not answer these prayers? Why even let this child come into the world?!"
I say yes. Yes, it was worth it! Every second of not giving up on Pierce. Every moment of praying for his healing, him to have a new heart, for the peace of his family. All of it was worth it.
As for the why...John 9 1:3 comes to mind:
As (Jesus) went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life."
The disciples were often so like us today. They thought that because a man was blind, surely he or his parents must have sinned to cause it. Yet, without that man's blindness, Jesus' miracle could not have been performed.
Yet, there are some who remain blind their lifetimes both spiritually and physically. For those spiritually blind, we must be diligent and pray for them. A member of my home church in Jackson, Mississippi, prayed for the salvation of his son for years. Decades, perhaps. He could've given up and may have at times. I'm certain many members stopped praying. I did. Yet, I'm certain two or more faithful people (one being his father) continued to pray for that man. Now, he is a child of God.
God answers prayer. Always. The answer is either yes, no, or wait. We must be prepared for the answer even if it's not what we wanted.
For the physically blind and those with other conditions, such as Pierce's defective heart, one could wonder why God allows such things. Or wonder if He's listening or concerned with our prayers when those we so earnestly pray for die. If God’s love for us required Him to heal every disease and every infirmity, no one would ever die. "Love" would sustain all in perfect health.
The biblical definition of love is "a sacrificial seeking what is best for the loved one." What is best for us is not always physical wholeness. Paul the apostle prayed to have his "thorn in the flesh" removed, but God said, "No" because He wanted Paul to understand he didn’t need to be physically whole to experience the sustaining grace of God. Through the experience, Paul grew in humility and in the understanding of God’s mercy and power (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
Leah was correct. God does have big plans for Pierce. Another text to me: It has brought me closer to Christ. I do not take the little things for granted anymore.
Pierce's life allowed Leah, B.J., and her family to meet people they never would've met. Relationships have been forged that are eternal. As noted in that text, people's faiths have been strengthened. God's plans for Pierce began well before 3 months ago and they will continue well beyond now.