I returned from visiting Joshua Ortiz and his family in Houston a few days ago, but after getting a few hours of sleep headed north to San Fransisco to visit the in-laws. Tomorrow, Sarah and I continue our long-awaited road trip to Vancouver and back.
My time in Houston was good, all things considering. For those of you who know Josh or have been following his story on this blog, we thank you for your prayers.
His health is rapidly failing and unless God does a true miracle, which I believe He can, Josh probably has only a few more weeks with us. His organs are beginning to fail and the doctors have stopped treating him.
Please continue to lift Josh and his family (brother Alex, Grandma and adoptive mother, biological mother, and Aunt) up in your prayers, assured that God hears them and answers them according to his perfect and loving will.
While I will be processing and learning from this experience for the rest of my life, I want to record a few preliminary reflections here before the memory of my visit fades away. I apologize if they seem trite or make sense only to me.
- Josh asked me, "is it true that if I have played certain video games that are bad, I am going to hell?" What an honor and blessing it was to be able to clearly share the truth about the grace of God and that Christ's atoning work on the cross covers all of our sins, if we are willing to repent and trust in Him alone for salvation. Our salvation rests on what Jesus has done for us, not what we have done for Him. Jesus loves us not because of who we are or what we have done, but because of who He is and what He has done. Fundamental stuff but I was reminded of its power when explaining it to a person on the brink of eternity.
- To my shame, I was surprised at how even in this grave situation, I was unable to maintain the proper focus on things of an eternal nature.
- I prayed with Josh many times and each time, he began his prayers by praying for those around him, his doctors, his nurses, his family, his friends, often he didn't even pray for himself. I was floored by the Christ-given selflessness of this youth who by the world's standards has so much to complain about.
- It truly was a supernatural experience speaking to Josh about the reality of Heaven and seeing Jesus face to face. His entire countenance changed. As we talked of seeing our Savior a big smile came across his oxygen mask covered face and he began to cry. An incredible peace came over the room. I felt like I was in the presence of someone whose faith was already beginning to become sight.
Please join me in continuing to pray for Josh and his family.