I Am Here.

“Not Again!” I thought as, Jake, our middle son was admitted to the hospital again because of SMAS. The first time we faced this was nine years ago. SMAS is, in layman’s terms, is when a person can’t keep food and liquids down because of a crimped small intestine caused by rapid weight loss.

The first time we went through this we were on vacation in St. Augustine, FL. Jake was 13 Years old and going through a major growth spurt! Then we didn’t really know what we were dealing with. A trip to the ER for an ongoing “stomach virus” resulted in a lengthy hospital stay, test after test ending with a feeding tube inserted in our child to feed him. Once home, the feedings would continue for over a month. We had to navigate late nights, early mornings, tubes, pumps and feeding bags while caring for our younger son, Elijah, and juggling his school and our work schedules. Not to mention constant observation and care to make sure that Jake would gain weight and be able once again to eat and drink like a regular person. This time would be much of the same, but something felt different about this time.

To say that we lead a busy life while raising a special needs child-now an adult-and being his fulltime caregivers while trying to successfully fulfill our obligations at work, church, home and giving care and support to my 86 year old widowed father is an understatement. Fatigue-mentally, physically, and even spiritually set in like the elephant in room. My wife Donna and I knew it was there, but we didn’t have the time or energy to deal with it. In fact, we felt like we were dealing with a whole herd of elephants!!

The day before we took Jake to the ER, Donna tested positive for Covid. One day after Jake was admitted to hospital, he also tested positive for Covid.

Anytime we (You and I) are fatigued, fear is close to follow. Encouragement pours faith into us, but discouragement drains our faith and fills our empty cups with doubts and anxiety bringing with it a feeling of “Hey! I feel like we are doing this alone” or “Nobody knows what I am going through!”

During this adventure Donna, my wife and I were taking turns staying with Jake in the hospital. Trying to get rest in the hospital room while working from our computers, tending to Jake’s needs while being interrupted day and night with nurses (God Bless them!!!!) coming in the room doing their duties to help Jake stay on the road to recovery.

I was at home after spending a few nights with Jake and I was just plan tired. I wasn’t sleeping well because of fear for my son, and news from one of the surgeons that basically said Jake may need surgery to get better, but he is so weak and now malnourished–they could not do surgery! Because of physical and mental fatigue my mind went to a dark stormy place. I needed Jesus to step in and save us from this overwhelming storm. My prayer would be much like Peters prayer when he was intimidated by the waves. Jesus help!!!! I found the story in my Bible so that I could read it hoping it would give me peace of mind, hope and strength. I read in John 6 the account of the disciples in the boat in the middle of a storm! Not only were they afraid of the gigantic storm but they saw what they thought was a ghost… it was Jesus….walking on the water! As I read the story, what Jesus said to them gave me a huge since of hope and peace-that HE was in the middle of what our family was facing. The dark place I was in caused me to see Jake not getting better and possibly perishing! A knife in the gut feeling that was causing me to sink in a sea of dark despair. But then I read what Jesus said to them. It brought me HIS perspective on my current one. He said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I AM HERE. As I read that I felt like He wasn’t just talking to the disciples in the boat in the midst of the biggest storm they had ever seen BUT

that He was talking to me, Rick Probst, who was now in the midst of one of the biggest storms I had ever seen. I Am Here…not just words on a page but words in the voice of Jesus-to me-about Jake. I really sensed that He was in the room talking to ME-seeing the truth in the Word and sending his presence to my room! His words made me weep. That’s how much He loves and cares for me. That’s how much He cares for Jake. When I should have faith but am overwhelmed by huge wave sized doubts, He speaks to the storm in my head and says I love you, I’m not far off….I’m right here with you! Jesus and I had a moment I will never forget. How could I? Jake is now at home and being fed on a PICC line until he can gain weight and return to a normal life. It’s still alot of work for us-late nights, early mornings and constant care and observation. We are still fatigued and tired mentally and physically and are looking for a time of rest when this chapter comes to a close but spiritually, we are revived and until it does come to an end we know beyond a shadow of doubt that Jesus is here-right in the middle of this storm WITH us.

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