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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
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Wednesday, July 01, 2009
A little life
His name is Joel, and he is eleven months old. He has a very rare terminal condition - a syndrome I can't even pronounce.

His grandmother Sylvia was a Sunday morning "walk in" a couple of weeks ago. I was with one of the other leaders in the church, Ron, when she came in. We introduced ourselves, but Ron, being far more gifted in the congenial department, was already asking where she was from and how she came to be in our assembly that morning. She came from Prince Edward Island, and was in town to help care for Joel for as long as she could - a few weeks. Joel's syndrome required him to be fed every four hours, day and night - a duty that took one and a half hours to complete each time. I assume the procedure involved tubes with plastic bags attached to them, etc. This family had for the last eleven months, spend one and a half hours, every four hours on the clock, feeding this little guy, and there was still concern daily that he wasn't gaining enough weight.

The family has known about the syndrome, I believe, since before the birth.

The prognosis is horrifying, eventually he will begin to have seizures, which will mark the beginning of the end. He will experience pain throughout most of his life, but once the seizures start it will be a rapid decline into much, much worse pain. Eventually internal bleeding will become uncontrollable, and he will die.

This much we were told, and the picture I got in my head was of some little bald baby, connected up to tubes, more or less dormant and already lifeless. It was a heart breaking picture already.

Sylvia came to our prayer meeting that week, which is how we are aware of most of this, as we have been praying for this little life, and for the stamina of those who presently, in love, are spread thin in sustaining him. She came the Sunday after that, and again, to last night's prayer meeting. We had been praying for Joel, and she brought some good news, he had managed to sleep, for the first time in his life, for a few hours on end, three or four, I forget exactly how long. He had seemed to be putting on weight too, since she had arrived to help, more good news. But with this good news came a very hard reality, he also had experienced his first seizure, the long dreaded, but inescapable harbinger of the coming end. Things will grow worse from here on in.

Sylvia also did something I am so thankful for, and even now the tears are welling in my eyes, she brought Joel to church with her. He wasn't some bald little sickly looking child, not some dormant, vacant shell - but a regular looking little baby, smiling, cooing, and a real person. I know you people reading this can't appreciate the reality of it - I found myself rather clinically detached from the horror of suffering up close - I mean I knew it was real, but it was no closer to home than any atrocity committed on the other side of the world. We hear about these things, and pray about them, but our hearts are almost frozen because these things are so far removed from our day to day lives. We would care if these things could be made personal, but are numb because they never become personal.

Well, seeing little Joel with my own eyes, hearing him coo, watching him smile, and listening as his grandmother broke down in tears at the thought of what is coming ... it broke a dam in my heart, and (I am sure) in the hearts of many (if not all) of us who were gathered together to pray last night. We, as christian, are encouraged by God's word - no one in our meeting was concerned about this child's eventual destination - it was the journey there that broke our hearts, and caused us to find comfort in the God of God's word.

Do you understand what I mean when I say that? God's word isn't your comfort, it is just the thing that reveals the God of all comfort to you. To speak out loud that Christ called the children unto Himself isn't comforting unless the Spirit rips your heart wide open to show you who Jesus is in those words.

Listen: Pray for this little life, and the lives that are touched by his. We all want the miracle healing, but God appoints a day for all of us, even Joel. I marvel in my soul to think of the love that is being poured out on this little broken boy. How some might have seen all the suffering to come, the effort in caring for the child, the profound loss at his inescapable demise, and chose to terminate that life in the womb, and these would have never known the profound joy and privilege to meet this little life. These would have never seen what fallen people will sacrifice for the love of a broken little boy, and would never have come one step closer to seeing first hand how God can love us who are broken in sin, how God's reserves cannot be emptied - you must see it? If parents can love like this - with no hope of the rewards we expect from our children, how does God love us?

Do you meditate? Meditate on that. and keep Joel and his family in your prayers, they are real people.

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posted by Daniel @ 11:05 AM  
4 Comments:
  • At 2:41 PM, July 01, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I sat reading this post while my 14-month old and 27-month old played on the floor next to me. So healthy and active and full of life. Joel's story breaks my heart, and I will remember him in my prayers (though the distance indeed numbs me from the reality). I am thankful that my children have not had to go through such trial. I am thankful that I haven't had to walk that path with them. I am most thankful that I know a God who will be my strength if He ever calls me to do so - because I know I would welcome a child like Joel. There was a time in my life when I couldn't have said that.
    -Jen

     
  • At 8:12 AM, July 02, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Thanks for the comment Jen, few people like to comment on this sort of thing. I think it is because we don't know what to say.

     
  • At 11:31 PM, July 09, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    G'day Dan,
    Teak here, not signed in because I'm at work etc.
    Anyway, read your post and I'm praying for the little guy down here in Aus. We're expecting no. 4 in January and like any parent, can't begin to know what it must be like for this family. But I can pray.
    But 'walk ins' like that are a blessing aren't they? A chance to pray and to reflect on the fact that EVERYTHING comes from the LORD, even our next breath.
    "The tracks of ancient rivers have been found all dry and desolate, but the streams which take their rise on the mountains of divine sovereignty and infinite love shall ever be full to the brim."
    Spurgeon.

     
  • At 6:28 AM, July 10, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Those are grand words from Spurgeon. Congrats on your up and coming fourth too. What is shocking to me is how quickly I can forget to pray for this little guy, had you not commented last night, I think I wouldn't have remembered to pray for this little fellow and his family this morning.

    What a blessing your comment is to me for this reason.

    Grace and peace Teakster.

     
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