Just four months ago, in June of this year, our three-year-old grandson, Chandler, was in the pediatric intensive care unit at Kaiser Sunset Hospital in Hollywood with necrotizing pneumonia.
It was a close call that included a lung surgery, ten days in the hospital, and weeks of quarantine and some of the strongest antibiotics available even after he was out of the hospital. (I wrote about these days and what the Lord taught us in the hospital here.)
Since June, we have been doing everything we could to guard Chandler from any possible germs or reinfection. But no amount of hand sanitizer or healthy eating could have protected him from the all-boy fall he had Monday night when he became airborne while playing and landed on his head on concrete. He blacked out briefly but came to when our son-in-law, Peter, rushed to pick him up.
Peter and Danielle decided to take him to urgent care to be checked. His vitals were good and he could answer questions, so it seemed he was fine. They wondered if he even needed the customary CT scan. (CT scans have such high levels of radiation that they become dangerous, especially if used repetitively. Chandler just had one a few months ago at the time of his lung surgery.)
As they were still at the urgent care center, however, waiting for final clearance to leave, they just couldn’t shake the sense that they needed to have him checked more carefully. Peter asked for a CT scan in spite of the risks.
This decision proved to be of the Lord as the scan revealed that Chandler’s skull had been fractured in three places and that there was blood leakage near the brain. He was rushed into an emergency surgery that lasted into the early hours of Tuesday morning.
In surgery, the doctors removed a hematoma and were able to get the bleeding stopped. They also wired Chandler’s skull together. After surgery, the surgeon told us that the scan and the surgery saved Chandler’s life.
From the recovery room, Chandler was airlifted to Kaiser Sunset in Hollywood for further evaluation.
About the time Chandler fell Monday night, I had just arrived in Michigan to preach for Dr. R. B. Ouellette at the Church Triumphant Conference. I was to teach sessions throughout the day on Tuesday and then preach for the evening service. When Terrie called to relay the news, however, I made plans to fly back to Lancaster immediately. I spent the night in fervent prayer at gate 76 of Detroit International Airport as a team of doctors performed a delicate surgery on my grandson. I arrived back in Los Angeles shortly after the medevac helicopter brought Chandler in.
This past week in the hospital has been excruciating as we’ve sat in the same PICU wing and same waiting rooms praying once again for our grandson to pull through.
We praise the Lord that the surgery was successful and have been praying, waiting, and watching for every little step of improvement along the way.
One thing that always touches me deeply about these moments is how quickly we take for granted the little things. Hour by hour, we find ourselves praying for such requests as that Chandler would be able to eat, have a bowel movement, sit up, stand, step—all those things that we just do naturally and tend to take for granted. During this past week, I’ve often been convicted about the lack of gratitude in my heart on “regular” days.
These past four months have also reminded me in a profound way that God has a special plan for Chandler’s life. He’s not yet four, and he’s already had two near-death experiences and two major surgeries.
I’ve read that the most formative years of a child’s life are between the ages of two and three and that age three in particular is significant for personality development. I truly believe that Chandler, who has spent over two weeks of his most formative year in PICU, is certainly being prepared by God for a very special purpose.
This past Tuesday night, as I looked out of Chandler’s hospital window over the nighttime lights of Los Angeles—a city of 3.8 million people—I was reminded of what a great need there is in our world for Christians who will share the light of the gospel. Chandler’s name means “candle maker,” and I am praying that God will use him in a great way to reach souls for Christ.
As God would have the timing, this next week is our worldwide missions conference. We’ll hear from over twenty missionary families representing countries around the world. I’m praying the people of Lancaster Baptist Church will be candles for the millions of people still in spiritual darkness as we respond to God’s work in our hearts this week.
Thank you for your continued prayers for us and especially for Chandler. We are touched and encouraged by the outpouring of response in prayer from friends in the gospel around the world.
Chandler was discharged from the hospital yesterday to continue recovery at home. We were amazed and grateful, and we know the Lord is working in response to prayer. We do ask for continued prayer as Chandler still has a long road of recovery ahead of him. We’re specifically praying for his headaches and dizziness to subside as well as for the swelling to go down and for his skull fractures and surgery incision to heal.
Please pray also for Peter and Danielle as these have been challenging days for them. Terrie and I have marveled at God’s grace in their lives as we’ve watched them go through these times with Chandler. God is already using this couple greatly in ministry, and I believe He is preparing them for increased effectiveness as well.
Finally, we ask that you would pray for God’s hand of protection on Chandler and for God’s grace to continue working in his young life that he might be greatly used of God.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.—Matthew 5:14–16
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