Hi, and welcome to the debut episode of This Life Of Faith (TLOF). My name is Steve Webb, and I am your host. In case you don’t know who I am, I wrote an “About Steve Webb” post over at LifespringMedia.com a few years back, which needs to be updated, but does give some good info about me, in case you’re interested. You can find it at LifespringMedia.com/about-steve-webb.
Very quickly, I’ll tell you that I am first and foremost a follower of Jesus Christ. Everything I’ll say on this show will come from that background. I believe that having a close and meaningful relationship with Him is the most important thing you can do to achieve peace and happiness in your life. If you don’t have a relationship with Jesus, you can begin one today. If you want more info on that, you can write to me at email@example.com and I would be glad to answer any questions you may have.
TLOF has been brewing in my head for about a year. I’m not sure when the idea first came to me, but I do know that the idea really began to grow in January of this year.
My middle son, Steven, who had just turned 21, nearly died. He had been diagnosed with an extreme case of ulcerative colitis (UC) just a few weeks before, and on January 8th, 2013, his colon perforated in the very early hours of the morning, causing the contents of his colon to spill out into his abdomen. For several weeks the UC had been causing Steven terrible pain, but when his colon perforated, the pain was excruciating.
His mother and I rushed him to the hospital, and we could see that he was slipping away from us. He had already lost about 40 pounds since he first got sick, so he was weak. But now we could see that things were much more serious. At this point we didn’t know that the colon had perforated, only that Steven could not stay awake, that he had a very high fever, and that he was suffering. It was about 2 o’clock in the morning.
After what seemed like an eternity in the Emergency Room waiting area, they processed Steven in and put him in an ER bed. Thankfully, the triage was good that night, and a doctor came to look at Steven pretty quickly. After running several tests, he told us that Steven needed surgery, and he needed it now. Of course, this scared us to death, but we trusted the doctor’s word.
There was a young surgeon on call that morning by the name of Dr. Rick Ha, and I know that he was there as a part of God’s plan for Steven. We didn’t know it then, but Dr. Ha would become one of the most important people in our son’s life for the next three months. Dr. Ha is bright, he’s talented and he saved Steven’s life that day.
In surgery, when Dr. Ha opened Steven’s abdomen, he found that Steven’s entire colon was riddled with disease, and all of his organs had been covered with bile and waste that spilled from the hole in the colon that was caused by the UC. There was no hope of saving any of the colon, so at the age of just barely 21, my son lost his entire colon. If I remember right, the surgery lasted about four excruciating hours. My wife, LeeAnn and I could only pray that God would spare our son, and wait.
Finally, Dr. Ha came to tell us that the surgery was over, and Steven was in the recovery room. He told us that Steven was very sick, that he had had to remove the colon, that an ileostomy had been done, but that Steven would recover. I had never heard of an ileostomy, but had heard of a colostomy and colostomy bag. We quickly learned that the two are very similar. Steven would not be eliminating waste normally. He would now have an appliance (as is the more polite term) that would we would need to learn to care for.
When LeeAnn and I (that’s my wife), were finally able to see our boy, he had tubes everywhere. There was a tube going down his nose into his stomach, he had an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth, there were about six I.V. bags draining into him, he had drainage tubes coming from both sides of his abdomen, there was this plastic bag attached to his side (the ileostomy appliance), and of course he had a catheter. The incision on his stomach went from just below his sternum to just above his pubic bone.
Of course, Steven was unconscious when we first saw him, and I think that was a good thing. LeeAnn and I just fell into each others arms with relief that we still had our son, but also with grief for what had happened to him.
There is much, much more to this story. Initially, Steven was expected to be in the hospital for just a week to ten days. It stretched to over two months. I’ll tell you more about it in the next episode.
I have much more to say on the other side of this song. It’s sung by my precious friend, Cat Jahnke.
Be Not Afraid – Cat Jahnke
Listen to me closely, please. It is our faith in a loving God, who is not surprised by anything, and who holds our lives in his hands, that carried us through even as we looked at the very real possibility of losing Steven.
We were never promised that This Life of Faith would be easy. As a matter of fact, in the New Testament book of 1 Peter, chapter 1 we read, “… now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” There are many places in the Bible where good people went through terrible circumstances. In the same book of the Bible, we read,”…These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith…may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
There is a good purpose for the pain we experience in life. A *good* purpose. I trust God with everything in my life. I have faith in Him. He has proven to me over the many years I have been a believer, that He is much more faithful than I am.
I became a follower of Jesus, a Christian, if you will, when I was sixteen. Over the years there have been times where I seemed to have have been living in lock step with Him, and others….no so much. But even when I strayed from Him, He waited for me to come back to Him. And just as He promised in the Bible, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
God has shown His love and patience and faithfulness so many times in my life that there is no doubt in my mind that He is real, He is loving, He is kind, and He wants only good things for me and for everyone who calls out to him.
My friend, This Life Of Faith is for you. Over the coming weeks and months I want to encourage you and help your faith to grow. I’ll be continuing Steven’s story, and tell you many others where my faith was tested, and God proved Himself able to bring me through.
And I’ll be honest with you. I don’t have a perfect life now, without troubles. I’ll tell you more about that, too, as we go on together.
Every Wednesday, I’ll bring a new episode. You can count on that. So that you don’t miss an episode, you can sign up on our mailing list. Just go to ThisLifeOfFaith.com. You’ll see a form at the top of the page on the right side. You’ll get an email when a new episode is released. Or you can subscribe to the podcast in the iTunes store, Stitcher, or wherever fine podcasts are found.
You can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you. Tell me how your faith is being tested, or how it has been strengthened. I want to know.
There’s a Facebook page where you can interact with me. Just search for Lifespring Media.
If you would be so kind as to leave a review at the iTunes store, that would be awesome, since the show is brand new. Help me get the word out there, and share it on your various social networks.
And thanks for joining me on the maiden voyage of TLOF! Please come on back next week, when I’ll continue the story about Steven. Why was he in the hospital for two months, when he should have been out in no more than ten days?
Before we go, it’s my pleasure tell you that the song I played for you today was “Be Not Afraid” as arranged by Cat Jahnke. I’ve been a fan of Cat for many years. having first played her music on probably the Lifespring Weekend Music show, I’m guessing in late 2004 or early 2005. Over the years, we’ve become internet friends, and this week I would say that even though we have not yet met face to face, I think we’ve crossed over into genuine friendship. Sometime I’ll tell you the story of the significance of this song and how it came to be on TLOF. But suffice it to say, I believe it’s a God thing. Do yourself a favor and check out the rest of Cat’s music at CatJahnke.com. That’s spelled “Cat” as in the furry little animal, Jahnke- j-a-h-n-k-e. CatJahnke.com. Her music is mostly fun and quirky, and always uniquely Cat. Thanks, Cat, for sharing your music here, and over the years with the Lifespring audience.
I’ll see you next time. Until then, may God bless you richly. I’m Steve Webb.