As I stood next to the hospital bed, looking over my sweet boy Sawyer, the doctor’s words from the previous day rang through my head: no hope, ventilator-dependent, heart and lung transplant, transfer from Dallas to Philadelphia, and no infant had ever survived these procedures. Tears began to stream down my face as hopeless desperation filled my mind and heart. For the past nine weeks, my faith had not been shaken. No matter how bleak our situation seemed, I believed God for a miracle. I had prayed the Word, interceded, only spoke life into our situation. Now in that moment, righteous indignation filled my heart: “God I’ve done everything I’ve been taught. Why are you not hearing me?”
Gently, God reminded me that not one time had I asked Him about His plan for Sawyer’s life. Not once had I asked God, “What’s Your will for Sawyer’s life, for my life, and my husband’s life?” Then God began to impress on my mind: “I can give you what you want, or do you want My best for you?” My heart shouted, “Oh God, no!”
My mind drifted back to weeks earlier when God had reminded me of Hannah and how she had given Samuel back to the Lord, fulfilling her promise when she was barren. However, God didn’t leave her barren after Samuel. The Lord gave her other sons and daughters because of her sacrifice. There had been a tug of war inside of me for weeks: continue with my earthly plans, hopes, and dreams, or follow God’s perfect plan. Alone, tears streaming down my face, I whispered, “God, I give Sawyer back to You. I want Your plan for our lives—whatever that may be.” I quietly rephrased and prayed Job 13:15: “Though You slay me, yet will I trust in You.”
After we buried Sawyer two weeks later, I felt like my heart had been shattered into a million tiny pieces. My faith was fractured; anger, fear, jealousy, bitterness, and defeat filled my life. A decision had to be made: Would I allow these feelings to completely overtake me, or would I choose to allow God to heal my heart and mind?
One does not have to bury a child to experience these emotions. There are many circumstances in life which cause confusion, damage our sense of purpose, and hinder our walk with God. In these times, remember the words of David in Psalm 108:1: “O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise.”
Anytime we start something new or have difficult circumstances in life, we must have a plan to finish the race set before us and fix our hearts on the God who holds our future in His hands. We stay on course or receive our healing through daily, consistent surrender to God through prayer, fasting, and reading His word. This builds intimacy and trust in God. Intimacy with God allows us to hear His voice through the clutter of this world. It allows us to be drawn to and led by the Spirit so our footsteps are ordered by the Lord.
Obstacles and setbacks will come during our journey to fulfill God’s purpose in our lives. Always remember, these stumbling blocks are only potential temporary setbacks to a long-term goal. Romans 8:28 tells us “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God uses hardships and triumphs to mold us and shape us into vessels of honor for His glory. Sometimes it’s only in hindsight that we see all of the patchwork pieces of disappointments, trials, and victories fit together to display the beauty of God’s handiwork in His creation.
As I look back over my life, Sawyer’s patchwork piece is on full display in my daily walk with my Creator. The lessons learned in those dark days have given me the strength to choose love over anger, peace over fear, contentment over jealousy, joy over bitterness, and success over defeat. I am a better mother, wife, friend, and pastor’s wife because I completely surrendered my will to God, and chose to stay on course and finish the race He set before me. The impact of this decision is still being fulfilled as my husband, daughter, and myself minister to the hungry, hurting, and broken in the inner-city of Reading, Pennsylvania.
The Word of God reminds me, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).
Written by: Christi MaGee. She is the wife of Stacey MaGee and mother to Savannah Grace. She is a pastor’s wife and North American missionary in Reading, Pennsylvania. Christi holds a BA in elementary education.