Thoughts from a friend:
Sometimes I have a hard time with the middle of stories. I get hooked on the gripping beginning of a story and I know the happy ending I am hoping for. But the middle of the story can seem long and slow moving, especially if it is very sad, scary, hard and painful. When that is the case I admit I am the type to sneak peaks at the end to assure myself that things are going to turn out OK. Or if the characters are having a really difficult time and I feel I just can't take anymore I will fast forward or skip the whole thing and go right to the end. I feel that way about Ian's saga now. I remember being gripped in the beginning of all this when we were waiting every second for any news. How every breath we took and every tear we cried was a plea to God to spare Ian's life. And He did spare Ian, He really did!! And I can practically see the happy ending. It's just this excruciating middle part where character is being built, where endurance is being tested, where faith is being tried. Faith in believing that the Author of this story really knows what is best. I wish with all my heart I could turn to the happy ending right now. But as Caleb wrote earlier this is where the Lord has us all now. In real life there is no skipping ahead.
My point is this: the middle of the story can be very hard but God is in control of this part of the story just as much as the surprise ending part. He is the best author there is with perfect timing and with the most surprising surprise endings. As believers we are currently involved in another long middle part of a story - the story that ends with Jesus coming back for his bride, the church. It has been a very long and very painful time of waiting. Some people have given up and left the faith. Some people who were sure the happy ending would happen in their lifetime died while still waiting. Every day we hold on to the promises of God that he is in control and will come again when his purposes are fulfilled. It's the same with Ian's story. We can't give up praying for Ian. Every day we hold on to the promises of God that his purposes are being fulfilled in Ian's life and in all of ours, too.
Don't give up. This is just the middle of the story. The surprise ending is coming. Remember what the angel Gabriel told Mary, "For nothing is impossible with God."