Today is a big day in the Rice household. Theo is coming home! He has spent most of his life here in this room in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. It has been tough on the family, as Camilla and I have alternated spending time here and at our home with our other boys. It is so hard to leave our other boys to come here, and so hard to leave Theo to come home. Today, LORD willing, we will all be able to be under the same roof and stay together as a family. We can’t thank you enough for all your love, support, and prayers. God has been so good to us through this time.
It may sound weird, but we actually have conflicting emotions. The joy of returning home and being reunited as a family today is offset somewhat by the uncertainty of Theo’s life tomorrow. Theo has been here for good reason. Here we have all the life-giving care we could possibly imagine and are surrounded by a team of wonderful medical professionals. At home, we have some great support, but ultimately we have to create an intensive care unit with constant care, regularly giving medicines and machine therapy through all hours of the day and night.
His muscle weakness means he gets tired quickly and has struggled to eat and breathe- obviously both are critically important to sustaining his life. That’s putting it mildly. Two of the most unthinkable things for any parent are to watch your child gasp for air, unable to breathe, or to slowly starve and waste away. Yet every time I’ve walked up to the 10th floor here at shands hospital, I’ve been reminded of these possibilities. Literally, right across the hall from us, you can almost see the room from here, we experienced both of these with our son Joshua. We brought him with us to this hospital, and left home without him. Theodore has the same condition that sent Joshua into the arms of Jesus. This has just been incredibly hard to process as a parent. But the LORD is teaching us so much through this.
Our experience with Joshua has taught us, and continues to teach us about the precariousness of life. How we must fight for it, and hold onto it. Theodore is teaching us a lot too. He is amazing. In fact, he has quite a reputation here and has made a big impression on the nurses and doctors. They are really sad to see him leave! He is incredibly sweet, loves cuddles, and is adorable. I’m so proud of him.
We typically don’t think about how fragile our lives our until we come face to face with death. The lessons learned are absolutely invaluable and give perspective that I just don’t think we can learn any other way. One of my hopes in all of this is that I will learn and communicate to you encouragement of how precious life is- how each breath is a gift given to us by God. Most importantly, I want to share how urgent it is for us to know, grow in relationship with, and serve Jesus and one another. Life is too short, too precious to spend it any other way. We all need constant reminders of this.
When we read Christ’s letter to the church in Thyatira in Revelation 2, we get a powerful reminder of how important it is to fight for our faith- to fight for our spiritual lives. There was so much going right in this church- and so much going wrong. I find Christ’s admonishment to the church rather shocking and counter-intuitive to me. In the midst of Spiritual confusion and suffering caused by sin, He essentially tells this church to hold on for dear life.
That reminds me of what we’ve been doing here in the hospital the last couple months, and reminds me of how important it is to have the same desperation and intentionality in our own walks with the LORD. Join us this weekend as we walk through this powerful admonishment in Revelation 2:18-29 together. There is a lot to unpack here- Thyatira is the smallest city, smallest church, that Christ sent a letter to in Revelation, and yet He gives them the longest letter of these seven churches.
You can join with us for our socially distanced service Saturday afternoon at 3:30, or in person or virtually for our Sunday morning service at 10:15. You can also catch a replay on our YouTube channel.
Have a great weekend and I look forward to pursuing Christ, Community, and the Great Commission Together with you soon!
-Pastor Nathan Rice