Oct 31, 2006
I read this passage in my devotions the other day and was greatly encouraged by it. What struck me most was how eager Jesus was to do good to the man with the withered hand. The Pharisees were slaves to their own laws. All they cared about was obedience to their man-made laws regarding the Sabbath. They could have cared less about the man with the withered hand. But not so with Jesus. Oh how deeply he loved the man with the shriveled hand. How disgusting that hand must have looked! A shriveled and shrunken hand that probably had not been used in years would not have been a pretty sight. But He valued the man with the withered hand and longed to do good to Him. Jesus is absolutely bursting with goodness. Like a ripe orange that is simply bursting with juice, so the Savior is full of goodness. He longs to do good to His people.
Jesus greatly values Ian Murphy as well. Not because of anything good or meritorious that Ian has done, but because of the cross. Ian is saved and is therefore covered in the precious, valuable blood of Jesus. God delights in Ian and longs to do good to him because Ian is washed in the blood of Jesus. Let this encourage us to pray boldly! Jesus is longing to do good to Ian. He is longing to bless Him and pour out mercy on Him. Let us appeal to our good and generous Savior to heal and restore Ian, full of faith that He longs to do good. For His glory alone...
Oct 30, 2006
Ian continues to take many small steps toward recovery, which when taken together add up to some pretty major advancements over the past month. In Larissa’s words,
Ian has moved for us like this for over a week, but for some reason up till now he wouldn’t respond to the doctors’ requests. Today, though, for the first time Ian responded to a nurse’s request to lift his arm and to move his toes, and she showed that response to a neurosurgeon. That, I think, was the primary reason that a rehab facility is even a consideration this afternoon.
However, tonight one of the doctors asked Ian to respond to commands, and he would not. It was after a long day of activity, so it’s no surprise. That led the insurance company to refuse a move to a rehab center. Tomorrow, we’re going down to appeal and show that Ian does respond to commands. Please pray that Ian would be in one of his wake cycles at the time the doctor tests his responsiveness tomorrow morning (between 9am and 10am), so we can get approval for a move. Pray that the insurance company would be agreeable to this move. We, the neurosurgeon who witnessed Ian’s movements, and most of the nurses who have worked closely with Ian think this is the best thing for him at this stage. Pray that the all-wise God would rule over Ian’s situation and that the right course of action for his recovery would be taken. Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails (Prov 19:21). Pray, most of all, for miracles for Ian.
Ian really is making progress. I learned last night, for example, that some of the medical people were actually considering not doing surgery at all on his vertebra, because they thought it might just heal on its own. I don’t know for sure if they will or they won’t do surgery, but it’s amazing that such an idea was even considered.
His knee still has a long way to go, though. I still can’t imagine the pain he would be in if he were awake, so I still thank God for the coma. He doesn’t feel the pain of his knee injury. I still pray that Ian would wake up soon, but I still praise God that He is wiser and kinder than I am. He knows the perfect time to wake Ian up.
Ian has come a long way from where the doctor said he was three days after the accident. Remember the doctor saying that brain death was imminent? Last night, one of the medical people said, “I think we have something of a miracle here."
Remember, pray that Ian would respond to the doctor’s command tomorrow. Thank you for your prayers. We know you’re praying.
He will not longer be staying there...
More details to come very soon...
Thank you for your faithful prayers - God hears us and is evidently working.
Oct 29, 2006
"O what a deep heavenly mystery this is of persevering prayer. The God who has promised, who longs, whose fixed purpose it is to give the blessing, holds it back. It is to Him a matter of such deep importance that His friends on earth should know and fully trust their rich Friend in heaven, that He trains them, in the school of answer delayed, to find out how their perseverance really does prevail, and what the mighty power is they can wield in heaven, if they do but set themselves to it."
We have in heaven a rich Friend who longs to pour out blessing on us. Why He holds it back for a time is a deep mystery indeed. But we are told in scripture that God loves persevering prayer and loves to bless those who persevere in their prayers. Let this stir us to be persevere in fervent prayer for Ian's healing. O what a rich friend we have in heaven. Let us seek His blessing!
The other night, Mary, Larissa, I and an occupational therapist friend, Mary Bennett went to see Ian. Now I know that it was the last time I was to see Ian in that little room where our hearts have been held for the last 3 weeks.
I can't begin to describe our Father's lasvish, generosity to the Murphy's during this hard, very trying time. Not only has He showered them with material blessings of every conceivable kind, He has brought together a unique collection of friends who just happen to know a lot about traumas and hospitals and comas. He's brought wisdom to Steve and Mary out of no where and everywhere. The church has really been the hands and feet of Jesus, rushing to their aid to provide for them while He shelters and loves them under the shadow of His wing.
The truth and reality of His presence lit up our car on the way home. Mary said, "You know, I've been looking at people a lot since all of this has been going on. When I'm shopping and looking at the people around me, I've realized that my worst day in the ICU with Jesus is better than their best day they will ever have on earth." What mother, who watches her first born, day after day, in a coma and suffering, can say this except one who has a secret supply of Strenght, a hidden source of Light and a mysterious flow of Love running into her heart and out of her entire being. Mary knows something that we don't; she sees something that we can't and lays the full length and weight of her soul on the Rock that higher than she. We are seeing the things of the age to come, right here and right now. The Kingdom of God is here.
I saw the respiratory therapist yesterday, and he said Ian has a nice strong cough now. Thank you, Lord. They’re still concerned about his level of consciousness, so to remove the trach now could be dangerous. He wouldn’t be awake enough to protect his airway.
Please just keep praying that Ian would let us know that he’s with us and that he would wake up. Ian moves for us, for familiar voices, but he won’t move for the medical staff on command. He’ll move his arm, his fingers, his toes, etc. when we ask him to, but not when they ask him to move. It’s as though he knows it’s not us.
We hear from so many of you who tell us you’re praying. Thank you…
Why is it that I grow so weary of praying when my prayers are not answered immediately? Why is it that it seems harder to pray as time passes and that the fire that once blazed when I prayed seems to have cooled a bit? In my laziness and unbelief, I find my prayers lagging because I am not seeing immediate and 'miraculous' (according to my mind) results. But in His kindness, God pointed me to this passage to freshly stir me for persistent and bold prayers for Ian.
Notice the actions of the beggars. They followed Jesus. They followed behind him and kept asking him, over and over, to have mercy on them. Jesus did not respond immediately to their cry for help. He did not restore their sight the first time or second time they asked. The Savior wanted the two blind men to follow His lead and to keep asking for mercy. It seems that Christ wanted to test their faith first. Would they continue to ask for mercy even when it did not come immediately? Would they continue to follow Jesus, even when He passed them by the first time? The blind men followed Jesus because they believed that He was able and willing to heal them. They had faith in infinite power and tender compassion. Jesus responded to their persistent faith by healing them. He loves to respond to faith.
We too must follow Jesus even when our prayers don't bring immediate results. As Ben wrote earlier, Christ waits to answer prayers for a very specific and very good reason. Do we believe that Jesus can heal Ian? Absolutely. Then let us continue to follow Jesus and cry out for mercy. Let us be stirred by the example of the blind men. They weren't deterred when their first request was not granted. They knew what Jesus was like, so they followed Him. Let us do the same. For His glory alone...
Oct 27, 2006
Our blog started in October of 2006 after Ian Murphy was in a very serious car accident and suffered a tramuatic brain injury. We have shared his story since then, from ICU, to a rehabilitation center, and to his home. The main authors have been Steve, his dad, and Larissa, his girlfriend.
In August of 2009, Steve was diagnosed with brain cancer and was given a prognosis of 14 months to live. He survived for seven weeks and went to be with His savior on October 8.
We, Ian and Larissa, were blessed to get married on Steve's birthday, 8/28/10, to begin a newer life together. Our Murphy family still all lives in the same town, surrounded with beautiful friends, nieces and nephews.
We have been blessed with good biblical teaching and we know that God is sovereign. It is His will for Ian to be afflicted. We know that because Jesus died for us, God will one day receive us into glory. We are promised Christ- and so we eagerly await eternity with him.
Our church, our friends, and people who don't even know Ian, and now Steve, have been incredibly supportive and have been praying non-stop. God has already made this a positive experience for so many people, and he will continue to teach us great things about himself through Ian and Steve's suffering.
Thank you for reading our story. And thank you for praying.
(We can be reached at email@example.com)
Oct 26, 2006
Second, we see that God is in heaven. He reigns over all the universe from His heavenly throne. All power is His and He does what ever pleases Him. The oceans are but a drop in His hand and the nations are as nothing. When He speaks, planets explode into existence and light shines forth. He controls life and death and all of creation does his bidding. There is no one greater or more glorious than Him. He is the King of the Universe.
God is our Infinite Father. What an encouragement for prayer. He is infinitely powerful and infinitely tender. He is fiercely strong yet he is also deeply compassionate. He deeply cares about Ian Murphy and has the power necessary to heal Him. Oh how this encourages me to pray for Ian. When you pray, remember that God is your infinite Father. He loves to hear our requests and He has the power to do all that He pleases. For His glory...
Mary recorded our family, especially Lydia, on a small cassette player and then left the player and the tape in the room for us to play over and over again for him. It could be our imagination, but I think he really likes listening to it.
I’m praying that God would heal Ian, and, as a father, I don’t care whether it comes through a sudden miracle or if it’s through a gradual healing process. I just want my son well. So, I’m praying for a miracle, and I’m praying for smaller steps of healing. Please pray for a miracle. Pray with me, also, that Ian would respond to the medical staff on command and stop when they tell him to stop. Their acknowledgement that Ian is responding will significantly affect which rehab we can get him into. If he’s responding, we’re more likely to get him into a more aggressive program. Also, pray that the strength of Ian’s normal cough would grow. A good solid cough regularly would lead them to take the trach out.
So many are praying...thank you.
Oct 25, 2006
I thought I would share some excerpts from a couple other people who visited Ian.
From Jenn Grover:
I was visiting Ian last night [Tuesday night] and witnessed
a lot of activity and it was obvious that he was making attempts
to complete all of the commands the nurse and I were giving him.
When asked to move the big toe on his left foot, he complied.
There was also a lot of blinking of his eyes.
When I said goodbye to him he moved his head.
Whether that was voluntary or involuntary, it is difficult to
know. I do strongly believe that he was aware of me and the
staff to a much greater degree than he was last Thursday.
From Randy Wolfe:
I spent nearly an hour with Ian this evening [Wednesday],
and I was surprised that he responded to me at all. I asked
him to move his hand then his foot and he did. What really
got me though was he turned his head to the right a little
when I was talking to him, then I went to his left side and
he turned it in that direction while I was talking to him.
The more I spoke the more he turned towards my voice.
"God will answer His pleading people in their anguish. He has wonders in store for them. What they have never seen, heard of, or dreamed of, He will do for them. He will invent new blessings if needful. He will ransack sea and land to feed them: He will send every angel out of heaven to succor them, if their distress requires it. He will astound us with His grace and make us feel that it was never before done in this fashion. All He asks of us is that we will call upon Him. He cannot ask less of us. Let us cheerfully render Him our prayers at once." Faith's Checkbook
This is God's posture toward us in our "anguish" and "distress" over Ian's circumstances. He is able to comfort us, give us faith in God's kindness and love no matter what the circumstances, and even to return Ian back to us exactly as he was. He "will send every angel out of heaven" and "astound us with His grace." He has wonders in store for us. Thank you for call on Him on behalf of the Murphy family.
Later in the evening, the nurse came in to re-position him. She pulled him onto his side, and as she did, his eyes opened. Mary was leaning close to him, and looking right into his eyes as he opened them. "Hi honey! Can you see me? It's Mommy. How are you? Can you see me? I can see you!" And on she went, until he closed his eyes again. I wish I could have somehow captured that moment for others to witness. It was magical. I will never forget her face as I watched her look into Ian's eyes. There was joy in her eyes; love and hope. Her face was bright with God and I can't help but believe that he saw her through his unseeing eyes. I don't think that his sleepy mind could have possible resisted her love and the coma, for a few moments, gave way.
As we asked him over and over again to squeeze Larissa's hand, I think all of us would agree that he worked very hard at trying to do it. He moved his fingers a lot. He squeezed her hand. Sometimes he would--sometimes he wouldn't but I'm pretty sure he was really trying. His nurse told us to come and get her if he responded to a specific sequence of commands because "I would die twice to see it." He wasn't able to do it, so I'm happy that she will live at least another night. But who can say about tonight????
Jesus is in that room, tenderly caring for His fallen lamb, making Ian's sick bed for him as Charles Spurgeon says. His angels are hovering around him, ministering in ways that we can not see or imagine. Jesus is sweet beyond comprehension.
God is great,
Oct 24, 2006
The Lord waits to answer our prayers for a reason! It's not something on his to-do list he hasn't gotten around to, but he stands purposefully waiting.
Why is he waiting? He waits to exalt himself. And when he exalts himself, we will see how great he is:
"When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the LORD on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the LORD, saying, 'For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.'"
Blessed are all those who wait for him because they will see his glory. Whether God exalts himself through healing Ian or not healing Ian, let this encourage us to keep praying, because God wants to show us himself through Ian!
What comfort I have found in God’s word and books that help me meditate on His word.
My dear friend Gretchen Allen had been telling me that she often fell asleep with this book in her arms but I wasn’t motivated to read it until I myself became desperate for comfort. Life can be confusing, but God’s word is wonderfully simple and oh so sweet.
“If the ships of prayer do not speedily return, it is because they are heavily loaded with blessings. When prayer is not immediately answered, it will be all the sweeter when the answer arrives. Prayer, like fruit, is ripened by hanging longer on the tree.”
-Mary (Ian’s mother)
Oct 23, 2006
Tomorrow Ian goes in for a skin graft on his knee. In a few days after he’s recuperated from that surgery, we’re expecting to have to make the decision about a transitional facility, unless there are more things that need to be done to him in the hospital. When he leaves the hospital, we’ll be pushing for an aggressive approach to physical therapy; we really don’t want him just to be in a nursing home. We want him to recover from this either by a miracle or by God’s provision of various therapies. It may mean he can’t stay locally, but we’d prefer to have him where they can really work with him.
He appears to be responding to familiar people! Larissa and David (Ian’s best friend since the day they were born) noticed him responding to very simple commands like, “move your arms,” “move your legs,” etc. Pray that he keeps it up. Pray that these small steps would be much more obvious. Pray that he would respond to commands from less familiar voices and even from the medical staff. Pray, most of all, that he would wake up.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers….
- God spared Ian from death in the initial car wreck. He kept Ian alive amidst the mangled wreckage that we might lift prayers on his behalf.
- God spared Ian when his brain was dying. Doctors gave him 2-4 hours to live. In his astonishing mercy, God again spared Ian's life, allowing us to lift more prayers on his behalf.
- God touched Ian's knee. The doctors went in, expecting to repair a destroyed ligament. Instead they found a ligament that needed very little work at all. How kind of God!
- Ian is breathing on his own, without the respirator. His heart is strong. His fever is down. God is preserving Ian!
Thank you Father for the mercies you have given Ian. Thank you for how you have already answered so many of our prayers!
Doesn't this encourage you to pray all the more fervently that God would wake Ian's sleeping brain! God is an astonishingly lavish God and I don't believe that we have reached the end of his mercies. He has already poured out incredible mercy on Ian thus far. This encourages me that He desires to continue to pour out his mercy. Let's pray that God would pour out more mercy on Ian by waking him up. For His glory alone...
Oct 22, 2006
Oh the power that is packed into these two verses! In these verses we are informed that the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. In and of ourselves, we are not righteous. We are filthy, wicked sinners who fully deserve the wrath of God. But God, because of His great love for us, has provided One who is righteous to stand in our place. Jesus Christ lived a life of perfect and absolute righteousness. Then He was hung upon a wooden cross where He endured the awful fury of God’s wrath towards sin. Now God credits the absolute, perfect righteousness of Christ to all who trust in Him. This is astonishing! God calls us ‘righteous’ in Christ.
This gospel truth should absolutely revolutionize our prayers for Ian. If we have trusted in Jesus, we are counted as righteous. We are His children and He is our Father. He delights in us and our prayers. Not only that, He tells us that our prayers have great power when they are working. Not some power. Not mediocre power. Great power! Meditate on that for a moment. Each and every prayer has great power. Why? Because we are praying to an infinitely powerful God who made us righteous in Christ and delights in our prayers. Each prayer you pray is jam packed with power from God. What a sweet promise!
Let this truth encourage you to pray in faith for Ian’s complete healing. Ask big things of our infinite God. Ask Him to do the absolutely impossible. Why? Because He already did the most difficult thing possible by saving us. Now He beckons us to lift our prayers to Him and tells us that these prayers are full of great power. What a wonderful God we serve. Keep praying!
I just checked this morning. Ian stayed off the vent all night. 24 hours off of the ventilator! And, he hasn’t had a fever for two days. Thank you, Lord.
Oct 21, 2006
At 11am today, the respiratory therapist removed the ventilator from Ian’s trach, and tonight’s report is that he’s doing really well with his breathing. Progress! They said he does get tired, so they’ll put him back on the ventilator at night until he’s stronger.
They’re going to do a skin graft next on his knee to close the wound.
It was three weeks ago today when the car wreck happened. I can’t tell how helpful it is to us to know that you’re praying…
P.S. When you visit Ian, make sure you ask permission from the nurses by calling them on the house phone in the waiting room before going through the ICU to his room. One of the nurses reminded me of this policy this morning.
Oct 20, 2006
Ian is breathing a bit easier according to his respiratory therapist. They’re in the process of weaning him off of the ventilator, and he’s taking it well. They currently have him on the minimum level of treatment the ventilator can provide him. They expect him to be off of it completely by tomorrow. That would be great if he could get off of it completely. It would be great for us, too, if he could get completely off the ventilator, since we could put him into a nursing home in Indiana. There are no nursing homes near us who will take patients like Ian on a ventilator.
Please pray that he would get off the ventilator completely. Please continue to pray, most of all, that he would wake up. Remember to talk to him or read to him if you go to visit him. He needs the constant stimulation. Thank you for your kindness to us….
Jesus said that we should ALWAYS pray and NOT LOSE HEART. And to encourage us, he tells us of a wicked judge who had no reason to listen to a poor defenseless widow – he didn’t care what God or anyone thought. But this persistent widow keeps coming to him and crying out for justice. "For a while" he rebuffs her. But then he sees that this woman is not going to stop and that her "continual coming" will eventually wear him out. So he grants her requests.
The point of the parable is not that God is like this judge, uncaring and must be pestered into yielding. The point is that if even a wicked judge will respond to the pleas of a powerless widow who simply will not lose heart and give up but keeps coming to him, HOW MUCH MORE will God, who is sympathetic and caring about his blood-bought children hear our prayers! And not only will he hear our prayers, but he will not delay long in answering them. What may seem like a delay to us is not a delay from God’s perspective – in reality God answers us "speedily".
"8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:8-9 (ESV)
Just as a farmer must sow and fertilize and water then wait, then water again, then wait until eventually he reaps, so we must keep sowing prayers for Ian and not lose heart and give up.
IN DUE SEASON WE WILL REAP – IF we do not give up.
We want to see Ian healed now. But if he isn’t healed today or tomorrow or next week, let us "pray and not lose heart," and keep sowing, certain that "in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
Oct 19, 2006
Andrew Murray says this about the above passage:
"It is as if he would tell us that we are not to rest without an answer, because it is the will of God, the rule in the Father's family: every childlike believing petition is granted. If no answer comes, we are not to sit down in the sloth that calls itself resignation, and suppose that it is not God's will to give an answer."
God intends that every prayer have an answer! Let us continue to fervently pray and appeal to God until we receive His answer. Fight against the weariness and sluggishness that so often comes when our prayers are not immediately answered. We have a Father who loves to give good gifts. Let's pray specifically that Jesus, the One who conquered death itself, would wake Ian. Thanks.
Oct 18, 2006
I finally got information about the surgery on Ian’s knee. One of the surgeons said that they went into the surgery expecting to clean out the wound and repair the main ligament in the front of the knee that allows Ian to extend his knee. I had wondered why they didn’t do the repair in the surgery. They didn’t do the second part because when they got in there they discovered that the ligament wasn’t damaged! God is good.
They put him in a chair today for about two hours, because you can breathe better sitting up. In that position, they tried putting him on a machine that only helps you breathe if you breathe first; it sort of pushes you across the finish line for each breath. He didn’t pass the test, so they put him back on the ventilator. In other words, he couldn’t quite breathe on his own, yet. They’re going to try that again tomorrow.
The neurotrauma people have said that they can’t do anything more for him. There are many more minor surgeries Ian faces, but he just needs to wake up now. To be honest, it’s very hard to be around the medical people now, because everything I hear is grim. He’s not made any progress. Most patients who pull through leave this ICU responding to commands (e.g. move your fingers, toes, etc.), but Ian hasn’t even come close to doing that. The sadness can be overwhelming. I have to remind myself that we serve God who is bigger than comas.
Watching my son go through this is incredibly difficult, but each time I visit I’m reassured to know that He feels none of the pain from his injuries. To think that the Father purposely crushed and tortured His Son for me, and there was no coma for Jesus to avoid the pain.
Please pray that Ian would begin to respond to commands. Pray that he would come back to us. If you visit him (which we hope you will), tell him to wake up. Talk to him. Touch him. Annoy him.
It’s time to wake up, Ian.
This is for you and Ian from our friend, Zziwa John. I know that you love his prayers.
Hullo mr. lan murphy.
lts so sorrowful for the pain and sickness you are going through with your family and friends we dedicate our prayers to the lord that all the operations you are going through would be successful and the lord would restore you back to normal.
Oct 17, 2006
I have very little information about Ian’s surgery today except that it went well. They didn’t do all that I thought they would do (e.g. reconnecting ligaments, etc.); they just cleaned out his leg and made some adjustments. I’m trying to connect with the doctor for more information and to ask why they didn’t proceed with some of the things I expected them to do.
When I visited Ian today, I noticed that his pulse and blood pressure were down to a level I hadn’t seen in quite a while; he’s been running high in both because of the fever. I asked about his temperature which was also down. They record body temperature in Celsius, so I had to ask whether it was normal. The nurse told me that his temperature was exactly where it should be, and that would explain why his pulse and blood pressure were down to where they should be. The Lord has kindly given us what we requested! His fever is not there at the moment. Please pray it continues…
After my visit today and my conversation with Ian’s nurse (a new one for Ian), I wanted to get a clearer perspective on what we have been noticing. The medical staff is understandably reluctant to commit to any conclusions that are either positive or negative when neurotrauma is such an unpredictable world. So, I called Patty Wallwork (Patty is a no-nonsense ER nurse in our church) who I knew would tell me straight what was happening. She listened to me recount all the signs I had noticed over the past few days, and she was excited about what she heard. For example, he reacts in a reflex kind of way to painful stimuli; this is somehow different than the pain he would be feeling from his injuries if he weren’t in a coma. He reacts to auditory stimuli, like someone yelling his name. He makes movements when he’s touched, especially when Larissa touches him on the foot or face. He reacts to familiar smells by turning his head. He’s being fed and hydrated intravenously, and his digestive system processes both the nutrients and the liquids almost perfectly.
I believe the Lord is preserving Ian; all the signs point that way. Please pray for a new sign: that he would respond to verbal commands (e.g. move your foot or your fingers, turn your head, etc.). It’s what the doctors have been looking for all along.
I can’t tell you how grateful we are for your prayers. So many are praying. Thank you.
Oct 16, 2006
Ian’s surgery got bumped to tomorrow morning. I guess there were emergency cases that took precedence. His neuro condition is the same. He continues to move fingers and toes, to blink and to respond various stimuli. He does not respond to commands.
Thank you for praying for a miracle…
Mark 7:25-30 (ESV)
25 But immediately a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” 30 And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
"Some mercies are not given to us except in answer to importunate (bold, persistent) prayer. There are blessings which, like ripe fruit, drop into your hand the moment you touch the bough. But there are others which require you to shake the tree again and again, until you make it rock with the vehemence of your exercise, for only then will the fruit fall down." -- Spurgeon
This is a sweet promise from scripture and kindling to set our prayers ablaze. God promises to reward those who seek Him. The One who owns all things promises that if we diligently seek Him, He will reward us. God is not stingy. Prayer is not simply putting God into a supernatural headlock and forcing Him to say ‘uncle’. No, He is eager to give us good gifts! He is eager to reward our diligent prayers. Scripture describes God as being the Fountain of Living Water. He’s not a shopping mall fountain that squirts tiny streams of water and is filled with pennies. No, God is a gushing, overflowing, life-giving fountain of grace! When we pray, we are coming to a God that is simply itching to reward us. How do we know this? Because He has already given us the greatest gift. He has already given us the most precious gift of His son. Therefore we can be certain that God will reward us when we seek Him. If He readily gave up Christ, who is of infinite value, won’t He give us lesser things as well?
Let this truth set your prayers for Ian ablaze. Let us ask great things of God! He is eager to reward us when we seek Him. Let us ask Him to touch Ian in a miraculous and astonishing way. Let us ask Him to do what seems absolutely impossible. He is a fountain of grace, and He is eager to overflow.
Oct 15, 2006
A few days ago the doctors “dialed down” Ian’s ventilator. Today, they dialed it down further, so I think that means he’s breathing better, which is a good thing. The chest x-ray of his lungs looked nice and clear today, which is an improvement. They have him on an ice sheet of sorts to control his fever; he even had goose bumps! Mostly, he’s just sleeping and healing.
Thanks for your continued faith-filled prayers for Ian.
"I lay down and slept; I woke again, for the Lord sustained me...your blessing be on your people! Selah"
(Psalm 3:5, 8)
Oct 14, 2006
From the very start Steve, Mary and Ben have been our instructors. From the first moments of the trauma, when Steve said, "I'm just glad to know that there is a good God is in control of all of this." we learned that this truth was rock solid to stand on when their world was turning upside down and falling on their heads. He continued this confession through the darkest hours of the trial, when it seemed that Ian was sure to die. We saw the peace and comfort of the Lord in the tempest. He continues to rest in God's goodness, love and sovereignty and he instructs the hearts of everyone he speaks with. He gave a message at our church some time ago and said that the promises of God are like ice in a Minnesota winter. It's so thick that you can jump and jump and it and you won't fall through. He proving that to us now.
Mary's first words to me were, "I feel so bad for Larissa." How does a mother care about anyone when her son is hanging between life and death. Here was living proof that His grace and strength are sufficient in the worst situation imaginable. Mary didn't just care about Larissa. She cared about everyone, her family, her friends, Ian's friends, and the other families. She was a comfort to all who came. She wasn't looking for care from anyone. It was obvious that Someone was caring for her in secret. On the first Monday night, she wanted Ian's friends to come and see him, so that they could see the brevity of life. Then we prayed, and she began thanking God that Ian had finished his short race well. She thanked Him that He had brought him such happiness in life as well as bringing Ian the love of his life. She didn't utter any of these things, because they were the "right" things to say. Her prayers were sincere and true. Her invisible Strength is obvious to the other mothers up on that floor. One mom remarked several times about her strength. Another called her remarkable. She's having a very powerful influence for the Lord.
What can I say about Ben? I really want to be like him. It was as if he couldn't thank the Lord too much or say to much about Him to anyone nearby. He worshipped; he prayed; he shared the Gospel and then did it over and over again. His confidence in the Lord was and is astounding. It was so encouraging. He was talking with an unbeliever and said, "It's my brother who's dying back there..." and then went on to tell the man about Jesus. During one wonderful time of prayer, he kept reading Scriptures about His faithfulness to answer prayer and then prayed that even if Ian died God that would make the rest of us able to continue what Ian had started and be faithful the way that Ian had been.
For those watching them from the outside, we saw and continue to see the most incredible display of sorrow and joy mingled together in the Murphys and it's beautiful. They all are doing the most beautiful things for Jesus in their dark trial and it's been an honor to watch and wait with them the little that I was able. I love Jesus more because of them.
Coma. It's a scary word. It brings to mind all the worst possibilities. But take a moment to call to mind the types of people that Christ healed. He raised paralytics. People that hadn't taken a single step in decades. He freed demoniacs. People that were slaves to demons and absolutely could not get free. He restored lepers. Men and women whose flesh was rotting and falling off their bodies. He breathed life into people that had been dead for four days! Lazarus was dead for a full four days before Jesus spoke life back into his body.
Jesus is not intimidated by comas. The One who knit Ian's brain together is not scared by the word 'coma'. With but a touch He can cause Ian's brain to begin working at full capacity. With but a simple touch He can miraculously mend the destruction that took place in Ian's knee. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him." God promises to reward us when we seek Him. Let that stir you to pray for Ian! There is a great reward for those who seek God. Let's seek God on Ian's behalf.
Oct 13, 2006
There’s nothing much to report on Ian tonight; he just looks like he’s laying there in his bed sleeping. I was talking to one of the medical staff, though, about Ian’s condition asking for specifics and about how they were treating each. I had noticed that the heart rate and blood pressure were higher than normal, and I asked if that was related to the fever that has perplexed them for several days. She didn’t know. I asked if he had received any pain medications, and she responded in a peculiar way. She answered my question by saying, “yes, as needed, but he hasn’t needed them.” Surprised, I asked how they knew when he needed them. She said that an increase in the heart rate and blood pressure could indicate that the patient felt pain; she said they conclude that a patient has felt pain when the pain medication reduces both the heart rate and blood pressure. They had administered the pain medication and found that it did absolutely nothing…so he feels no pain. Choked up, I thanked God again for the coma, because his brain registers no pain. If he continues in the coma till the Lord takes him home or till the Lord does a miracle on his knee or till the natural God-designed process (assisted by skillful doctors) runs its course to a recovery, he’ll feel no pain. God is kind.
So, sleep, Ian. We’ll wait.
Thank you for your prayers.
As I read this passage this morning I found my faith freshly stirred. A Roman Centurion came to Jesus, appealing for mercy on behalf of a servant who was suffering terribly. Jesus had thousands of people come to Him and appeal for healing. Some demanded. Some cried out in pain. Some simply reached out to touch Him. But there was something different about this appeal. Something that called Jesus to marvel at the faith of the centurion. What was that difference? The centurion understood what it meant to have authority. When he ordered soldiers into battle, they went, no questions asked. He knew that when someone in authority speaks, things get done. And He knew that Jesus had authority. He knew that when Jesus spoke, massive, life-altering, mountain-moving things happened. When Jesus spoke, raging storms instantly ceased. When Jesus spoke, disease ridden flesh was restored and evil spirits fled. When Jesus spoke, life surged back into dead people. The centurion knew without a doubt that if Jesus simply spoke the word, his servant would be restored to health. So he asked Jesus to speak. He asked Him to speak the words that would bring healing to his servant. How did the Savior respond to the centurion’s faith? First, He marveled. Then He healed.
Oh let this truth be fuel for your prayers! Jesus, the living Savior, has all authority. He has authority over nature and life and death and comas and Ian. With but a word He can cause neurons to begin firing and brain tissue to begin repairing itself. With but a word He can restore shattered bones and torn ligaments. When Christ speaks things happen! And He invites us to draw near and lay our requests at His feet! Oh how this stirs my faith! The mighty King of the Universe who spoke the galaxies into existence invites me to pray for Ian. When you pray for Ian, take a moment to praise Christ for His absolute authority over all things. Then humbly ask Him to touch our dear friend Ian.
Jesus, knowing pain intimately, in tender sympathy, sweet mercy, and staggering wisdom, has spared Ian from the agonizing pain of his broken leg. While his leg is healing, Ian is sleeping.
Oct 12, 2006
Today’s surgeries were as successful as they could have been. The surgeon planned to do Ian’s knee only if the forearm surgery went well. Ian did well with the first surgery, so the doctor went ahead with the second. His forearm now has plates in the bones and will likely be nearly 100%. The knee surgery was intended only to reconstruct the bones as best they could. Ian now has various plates in his knee and will need to undergo surgery later to reconnect ligaments, etc., and graft new skin. Even after it all, medically he’ll be a long way from 100% in the knee. Please pray that no infection would develop and that the ultimate outcome of all of this would be a fully functional 100% knee.
I praised God for Ian’s coma after seeing the xrays of the damaged knee today. The pain he would have endured with this knee injury would have been unbearable. The coma is a design of God, I think, to keep someone from that level of pain. When he was through the surgery, my prayer changed to, “Lord, wake him up but not now; let him get past this knee stuff first. Or, heal his knee miraculously, then wake him up!” God is good.
Thank you for praying…
Jesus is on the move, continuing to answer our prayers. I just talked to Kristi at the hospital, who said that they just finished the first part of the surgery, on Ian's arm. She said the surgeon said it went "extraordinarily well"! They are now operating on Ian's knee. The surgeon said that it is a very long surgery - probably several hours. But, once again, that's the word of man, not God.
How about taking just a minute, right now, to thank our gracious God for how well the arm surgery went, and that the knee surgery would also go "extraordinarily well" and quick.
Keep looking at the Savior, not the wind and the waves.
Thanks - Stephen A
Ian is in surgery today. This was sent by his dad:
I just talked with the orthopedic surgeon (this was actually yesterday). He said his surgical plan is an aggressive one. The arm will be the simplest of the two, so he’ll start there and see how Ian is doing. If Ian is doing well in the surgery, he’ll proceed with the knee. The knee was extremely badly damaged, and his plan is to try to reconstruct it so something more could be done with it later. Medically, his best case scenario even after subsequent surgery was that the knee would bend again someday but that it would be a long way from 100% functional.This is an aggressive surgery that brings with it risks. Please pray he would come through it well, that the doctor would proceed with the knee reconstruction, and that the outcome would be better than expected. Pray that his knee would be whole again. Pray most of all that he would wake up.Thank you for your prayers….
The doctors are saying that his knee would be a long way from 100% functional. I'm excited to hear the doctors say this! Why? Because I believe that God wants to heal Ian in a way that will absolutely astound the doctors. God loves to do things that make His name famous and bring Him great glory. Healing Ian supernaturally would most certainly bring fame and glory to God. I can just imagine the doctors saying, "I don't understand why Ian is getting better so quickly! I haven't seen this before." So let us pray fervently that God would touch Ian in such a way that even the doctors are baffled. Let us pray that the doctors would see clearly that there is a God and He is very real. Thanks.
Oct 11, 2006
When I was praying today I thought maybe we need to look at this coma thing
from a different perspective. Ian's body is like a city that suffered mass
destruction. Now gigantic relief efforts are underway to rebuild. In his
brain there is work being done to re-wire, restore electricity, and
re-establish communications. In his leg supplies are being rushed to
rebuild the very foundations of his bone so the infrastructure will be
strong and secure. Pumping stations in the basements of his lungs are
working hard to keep fluids from flooding and building up, something that is
never good. Arteries are the main transportation system for delivery of
oxygen and sugar, supplies the hard working cells need desperately to keep
going. Now, their normal delivery routes have been disrupted by injury and
swelling but they are re-routing so the flow of supplies is not stopped by
these roadblocks for long. The sanitation department is hauling garbage and
excess fluid from all parts of his body to the waste departments for
removal. And the white blood cells are like the police department, cruising
on constant alert all over his body working overtime to keep infection and
germs at bay, arresting them where ever they find them and hauling them
away. This takes tremendous energy and is a massive, massive undertaking.
Unfortunately those of us standing by his bed can't see it and it appears
that he is just laying there. This could not be more deceiving. Ian is
working just as hard at recovery as we are at praying. Remember it took nine
months to make Ian the first time. And we must remember that the Lord of
this city never sleeps or slumbers so He is on duty ever interceding for Ian
Himself, and He still has the plans he used for Ian the first time.
Psalm 3: 3-5 But you are a shield around me, O Lord; you bestow glory on me
and lift up my head. To the Lord I cry aloud, and he answers me from his
holy hill. I lie down and sleep; I wake again for the Lord sustains me.
I pray that God gives all of you strength as you miss Ian and as you continue to diligently pray. I can't wait for the day that Ian wakes up, and we fall to our knees before God.
Oct 10, 2006
My son's name is David. He's Ian's best friend. They've been best friends ever since they first learned to fight with each other, sometime after they both were one. They were born six months apart, and ever since either one knew they existed, I don't think they've spent a birthday apart from each other.
David's birthday is tomorrow, Oct. 11. When Beth asked him what he wanted, he said, "I want Ian to wake up." Up until now, I've always been able to get David what he wanted for his birthday, but this year I can't. However, we know the One who gave them both physical life and then, more importantly, spiritual life sometime after. I was wondering if anyone who happens to read this might pray with me and my family that Jesus would give him what he wants most for his birthday; his best friend back.
The tracheoscopy went well; the tube is in. They’re going to “dial down” the respirator he’s on to see how well Ian can breathe on his own. The respirator is the only mechanical/medical device on which he is depending at this point. Everything else he’s doing on his own. They’ve kept him on the respirator to this point to prevent pneumonia, since in this condition he may not be able to breathe deeply enough. They’re just not sure. They’re goal is to get him to a step down unit at some point and eventually out of the hospital and into a nursing home, depending on his condition.
He continues in the same neurological condition, i.e., he responds to various stimuli (e.g. yelling, rubbing, pain, etc.). However, he’s made no new progress, and that is of serious concern medically. The doctor told us this morning that the longer he remains in this condition the less likely it is that he’ll wake up.
While these are the facts as we know them, we serve a God who can ignore the facts and heal. Thank you so much for your prayers. It really is an encouragement to know you’re praying.
We have been putting up photos, scripture verses, song lyrics, cards, quotes, ect... on the wall/window in Ian's room... it's starting to have some personality. It's nice to see the photos and encouraging to read the scriptures.
Here's another Monday update from David:
I just got back from seeing Ian. He seems to be
doing about the same, except they took the breathing tube out of his
mouth and put in the trake (spelling?).
He looks much more like his old self, which is very much a comfort!
Some recent news:
His eye doesn't seem to be responding to light in the way it was yesterday, Steve told me tonight.
he is still moving. Tonight when I was with him, quoting scenes from
one of his favorite movies in his ear he
turned his head
away from me...possibly annoyed. They said old
sounds, songs, smells, voices, ect. could spark something in Ian's mind
and wake him up.
But, things are still very serious.
We are so grateful for your prayers...
"The Lord has heard my plea;
the Lord accepts my prayer."
"When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed."
Picture the scene with me. Jesus is coming down from a mountain and He has massive crowds following Him. Some of the people are crying out to him, asking for healing. Others are excitedly talking about Him overthrowing Rome. Some are just along for the ride. Then something happens that stops the crowd in their tracks. There, standing in front of Jesus, is a leper.
Leprosy was (and still is) a terrible disease. It destroyed people and ate away at their body. At that time there was no cure and a leper could be assured of a slow, agonizing death. A death by inches. There was no hope for a leper. A cure? Impossible.
The crowd probably began to back up, knowing that leprosy was contagious and fearing for their safety. They knew the fate of those who ended up with the dreaded disease. But Jesus didn't retreat from the leper. To the astonishment of the crowd, he allowed the disease ridden man to draw near.
The leper collapsed to his knees in front of Jesus and said simply, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." What a simple prayer! The leper must have been absolutely desperate. He knew that he had absolutely no hope to ever be healed apart from supernatural intervention. But he also knew that Jesus could heal people. And he knew that many times Jesus did heal people. So what did he do? He came to Jesus and offered a humble, yet faith filled prayer of desperation. He didn't come to Jesus with demands. He came humbly and in desperation, asking Jesus to do the impossible.
How did Christ respond? With a touch. He reached out his hand and touched the infected, festering, dying flesh of the leper. What a compassionate touch! How long had it been since someone touched that leper? What a powerful touch. Instantly, the leper was healed. The power of the World Maker went from the Savior into the leper and he was healed.
Let this encourage us to pray fervently for Ian! Jesus loves to respond to humble, desperate prayers. He loves to intervene in the midst of impossible situations! Let us come to Jesus like the leper. All Ian needs is a simple touch from Jesus. Let us ask for this healing with both humility and desperation and let us believe that Christ will respond to our prayers!
Oct 9, 2006
A quick note on why we created this blog. Two reasons: First, we want to keep you updated on Ian's condition so that you can pray more effectively. Second, I believe that God wants to work in miraculous and astonishing ways in this situation. You will be seeing posts from myself, my dad, David, and perhaps others that will encourage us to pray fervently that God would do an absolute miracle. So check back in regularly! I believe that God is on the move and am excited to see what He does!
Today was the first day the doctor used the word ‘coma’ to describe Ian’s condition. Ian continues to respond to various stimuli, though. The head of the ICUs (the one who originally told us Ian was over the hump) visited Ian today and was screaming his name and clapping, and Ian “snorted.” The doctor rubbed his forehead, and Ian lifted his leg and stretched his foot. The medical staff here did surgery to insert a breathing tube in his throat (a tracheoscopy), and they removed the stuff in his mouth. He looks more and more like Ian the more stuff they do to him and the more he heals. Sadly, he just looks like he’s comatose.
It’s been remarkable to me how much Mary and I have been at peace through this difficult experience. The Lord’s grace has been present, even while grief overcomes us at different points. I had to talk to the insurance people about the car today, and for some reason I was really emotional talking to him about taking away the car that Ian was driving. I can tell that Mary is overcome at points, too, but I can tell she’s also at peace. We really are in faith at this point for whatever God has, but like you we’re praying for an extraordinary miracle for Ian. God gives life and sustains life. God breathed new life into me when He saved me and made me a new creature. It’s nothing for Him to raise Ian up from this coma. Thank you for the faith you have exhibited for a miracle. It’s humbling, and we’re grateful for your prayers.
Oct 8, 2006
A new message from Ian's Dad. Very encouraging. Real quick, before getting to Ian's Dad, I had the sense tonight while praying that Jesus wanted me to "ask again". So let me encourage you guys, "ask again". Ask again for great, bold, exciting, impossible things! Let's not ask small things of our great, almighty God! Even if you've already asked, ask again! Ask that Ian would graduate in December! Ask that Ian would be at my brother Stephen's wedding in November! Ask again!
Here's the update from Ian's dad, Steve:
"We learned something new this morning. Ian’s right eye has been responding sluggishly to light. That’s a good thing. He’s also “coughing” which really just looks like his body jerking. He still moves & responds to pain. The cause of his fever has not been determined, yet, but Tylenol keeps it in check.
We praise God for the progress he’s making! Unless the Lord intervenes in a different way than He is now, though, it appears we’re in for a long haul. Planning for the long haul, our intention is to return home on Tuesday and try to get into some semblance of a routine. We can’t stay here at the hospital 24/7, but we’re going to set up a schedule including me, Mary, Larissa, and maybe Ben and have one of us with Ian as often as we can.
Thank you so much for all of the support and prayers! So many have been so kind and generous to us. We’ve heard story after story of people who are praying, some who don’t even know Ian. It’s hard to recount what we’ve heard of the good things God is doing. I’m glad so many are sharing their stories and rejoicing in what God is doing.
Thanks so much for your prayers and for your response of faith…."
Thanks again guys! So grateful to Jesus for all of you and your prayers.David