if you have followed our ministry or family, you probably know about our friend cesar. if you need some background info, please read a few past blogs to get familiarized: november 2011, june 2012, july 2012, august 2012, april 2013, july 2014, november 2015.
last week we received some tough news.
pablo, cesar and andrea's son (and one of our rhinos) was sick and having trouble breathing. we took him to dr. carlos, who ran a bunch of tests including an x-ray to see his lungs. his lungs were fine, but the x-ray showed that he had an extremely curved spine.
|pablo at the zoo in jacksonville, FL|
keep in mind that pablo's dad has been completely immobilized for about 10 years now with spondylitis ankylosing - a disease that has ultimately fused together his spine and left him paralyzed from the neck down. so imagine how tough it must have been to hear a doctor tell them that problems with pablo's spine is likely to take his next 2-3 years of normal life away from him as well.
pablo, along with his mom and sisters, were extremely emotional. cesar told me that pablo laid on his chest that day and cried...
but cesar, in the same way that he always does, brought eternal perspective into the critical moment. he looked in the eyes of his crying son and said, "son, if God has chosen you for this, it is because he is doing something amazing! we should be so excited and honored that he would choose you to suffer for his glory!"
at some point i should stop being dumbfounded by the faith of this man!
2 days later we were in the office of a spine specialist in guatemala city. dr. carlos rayo flores is a spinal surgeon and works out of offices in tikal futura, one of the few upscale high-rises in the city.
it was a difficult visit, and didn't bring any positive encouragement to say the least. the doctor examined pablo, but was most concerned about cesar's disease - the fact that it is genetic and can be passed from father to son. he asked for new x-rays (the one we had was of the lungs and only showed a part of the spine), blood tests, urine and feces samples, etc, and to come back as soon as possible.
the visit only left pablo and his mom (and all of us) even more concerned.
4 days later (today) mynor and I took pablo and andrea back to dr. flores' office with all of the new x-rays and test results he requested. after 2.5 hours in the waiting room we were finally called back. as we sat there watching him read the test results, we waited for him to say something. then he stood up and placed all of the x-rays on the viewer. there were 4 large x-rays, covering all angles of the spine.
we waited as he studied and made marks on the images.
finally, he turned to us and said: "este muchacho no tiene nada." this young man doesn't have anything.
he only said it once, but i swear i heard it echo 3 more times before i could respond.
what????? are you serious? how could that be? what do you mean? what changed?
he went on to explain that the almost undetectable curve in his spine was irrelevant, he had no signs of scoliosis, spondylitis, or anything else for that matter.
we were in shock! andrea was in shock! we all looked at each other with that blank-face-surprised look. pablo was grinning from ear to ear (more on that later). then andrea asked, "so he can play futbol?"
still caught off guard, mynor and I just kept asking questions. after answering them all, the doctor finally said, "listen, pablo is completely free and clear. there is nothing wrong with him at all. he can do anything he wants to do."
i'm embarrassed to say i still had questions. i have spent the last 4 days reading everything on spondylitis and scoliosis. i had learned that strict observation is key. "well should we come back in 6 months or a year, take another x-ray, and see if anything has changed?"
he responded, "no - he's totally fine."
i left out several elements of this story- specific conversations, tears, prayers, etc. for example, we had a special night last tuesday with all the rhinos and some friends visiting from the states. everyone gathered around pablo and prayed for him. it was an emotional and special time. i know many others have been praying as well.
but about 10 minutes after the free & clear diagnosis, pablo shared another detail that left us speechless.
we took andrea and pablo to KFC (andrea's new favorite food!) to celebrate. mynor and i were still stunned from the doctor visit. as we were talking about it, i noticed pablo and his mom whispering to one another and laughing.
i couldn't help but ask what all the whispering was about. pablo looked at me with big beautiful tears in his eyes. he looked at his mom, then back at me again. she nudged him saying, "tell him, tell him." pablo began telling me the story...
he said that this morning his dad told him and andrea to come pray with him before they left. andrea was running around doing different things, so only pablo went and sat down on his dad's bed. cesar held his son close and prayed in the name of Jesus.
after they prayed, pablo got up to leave and his dad grabbed him with his hand and held him close. then he said: "son, they aren't going to find anything today." pablo just looked at him. again, his dad said, "the doctors won't find anything."
|cesar singing with Luci|
when he prays (and i bet i've heard him pray a hundred times!) he prays for God's will, whatever that might be. if it means he continue suffering, he is good with that. if it means he is healed, he'd be good with that too. but he wants nothing more than God's will in his and his family's life. more than his own healing or health, he only wants God to be glorified!
so why do i mention that? because cesar would not have given his son those words had he not heard specifically from God that he had been healed. in fact, he had already been preparing his son to handle the suffering well. something had changed.
God had healed pablo. and cesar knew it before anyone else.
sitting in the car later, mynor and i held up the two x-rays - one from a week ago, and the one with the same angle from today. we didn't have to be doctors to know that something had changed. the one from a week ago had more of a "C" shape, and the one from today looked more like an almost-straight line.
in fact, when we got back to dr. carlos' office, and he had a chance to examine the 2 x-rays side by side, his reaction said it all. laying one x-ray over the other, it was clear that the miraculous had taken place. he said that in his career as a doctor he had witnessed many miracles, but that he still gets amazed every time. holding up the 2 x-rays he said "as a doctor, what i see makes no sense at all. there is only one explanation - God chose to do a miracle."
all we could do was praise God.
no one says it better than cesar himself, and i've heard him say this so many times...
"eres el Dios del Imposible, el Doctor de Excelencia, el Medico de Medicos -
hay algo imposible para ti?"
"you are the God of the Impossible, the Excellent Doctor, the Doctor of Doctors -
is there anything impossible for you?"