James 1:3 “…because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” At the end of 2019 my friends Choon Hiong and Bianca encountered a terrible tragedy. Out of nowhere, their four and a half year old daughter, Ava, suffered multi-organ failure and her body shut down completely. I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure that means she was medically dead for over 40 minutes. They eventually managed to resuscitate her, which in and of itself is a miracle, but she had lost pretty much all mental and bodily function. I visited Ava several times in the hospital and have been praying for miraculous healing alongside her family. Bianca recently wrote a letter to Ava for her 6th birthday. I cried when I read it, and she gave me permission to share it here today. --
It’s been 17 months since I last heard you speak. I can’t begin to describe how much I miss the silly conversations we had, the videos I used to take of you and the little tantrums you used to throw. You were always a feisty girl, full of character and life.
I never thought that you would be celebrating your 6th birthday in this way, still immobile and unable to speak. Yet, 17 months ago, the doctors were telling us that you might not make it through the night, much lest celebrate any more birthdays.
I still dream of you often. I dream that we are talking or playing or laughing. It used to fill me with great sadness when I woke up and reality hit me, recognizing that you still couldn’t do any of that. Sometimes it still does.
But I’m not the same person that I was 17 months ago. I’ve become a better mother and a better Christian. I used to wonder why I was specially chosen for this tragedy. While I didn’t rail at God, I really couldn’t accept what had befallen us. At the hospital, when the doctor told me you had multi organ failure, I remember asking him to take any of my organs if it would save your life, even my heart. But there was nothing I could do. By God’s grace, I didn’t have to anyway, as you miraculously recovered organ by organ. Many of the doctors regard you as a medical miracle.
It’s been a long and painful road. But through much reflection and prayer, I’ve come to realise that it wasn’t me who was specially chosen, it was you. It is no coincidence that we share the same birthday, for you are God’s gift to me. You have led us as a family closer to Christ and you have blessed so many people with your miraculous healing. Most of all, you have fought every step of the way. All your therapists are amused at your antics and can sense your strong character. Your story has touched the lives of so many even overseas.
This is a trial for you which you will overcome. It is written in the Bible that we should consider it pure joy when we face trials, because the testing of our faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Ava, you lack nothing. For you are surrounded by immense love. You have an army of prayer warriors crying out to God for your full recovery, you have an extended family who loves you, you have helpers who love you as they love their own children and therapists who have made it their personal mission to make you completely well.
You are special with a unique story to tell. Until you can tell it on your own, I will tell your story for you. All the time, in whatever way we can, we will strive to bless others. Don’t give up, Ava, keep fighting every day. Whenever you feel like giving up, remember that your mama never will. Never.
I love you. Happy birthday sweetheart!
Yesterday when I wrote the post about our friend who has suffered a similar fate to Ava, Bianca wrote me a quick note. “Don’t forget that Ava was resuscitated after more than 40 minutes. She has defied all medical logic. She just began vocalizing today. Not real words but at least we heard her voice. We are praying for your friend and his family.”
God, we thank you for being a perfect Father. Even when we are faced with imperfect circumstances, we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance, which makes us mature and complete. All things work for the good of those who love you… and we sure as heck love you… In Jesus’ name, Amen.