He giveth more grace…

I was talking with an elderly lady last week who told me that one of her favorite hymns to sing is He Giveth More Grace. She’s now in her early 80′s but continues to sing in church. She says she can hardly sing this hymn without weeping all the way through it. For almost 80 years she has been a Christian. She’s had her own journey with death and bad health and heartaches and disappointments. But she weeps with joy as she proclaims that through it all, He giveth more grace.

As you all know, Clay and I have had his parents in our home for 2 1/2 weeks now. We brought them down here because Poppy broke his foot and we wanted and needed to help care for him and for Grandma Ellen. Things were going well until early last week when Poppy started having digestive problems. Sunday night we found ourselves in the ER with him, no energy, lethargic, confused and extremely bloated. By 4:00a.m. he had been admitted to CVRU (Cardio Vascular Recovery Unit) for critical care. He was suffering from high enzyme levels which indicated a light heart attack, critically low sodium levels which causes confusion, and bowel obstruction. The plan was to spend a couple of days trying to get his sodium levels up so as to surgically remove a suspected mass in his intestines. Yesterday morning Poppy’s condition plummeted and we found ourselves in the “Family Room” being told that his survival rate was very low, and we had to take everything hour by hour. Around 4:30pm Dr. Orr, one of the highest respected surgical oncologists in our area sat down with us and basically asked our permission to take Poppy into surgery last night and try to save his life. He told us that without the surgery he would only live hours, maybe a day. With surgery he gave him 1 in 3 chances of survival. Dr. Orr felt confident that the bowel obstruction was likely due to a cancerous mass, and he was asking for a chance to get it out of there and try to save Poppy. Of course we gave him permission, we shared our faith in him and in the Lord, we prayed with him and over him, and placed Poppy into the capable hands of one of the greatest surgeons, and the Great Physician. By the time of surgery, 8:00pm, Poppy’s condition had declined significantly. His condition was grave, and his chance of surviving the surgery was grave. But it had to be done. There was suspected cancer in the colon and suspected infection throughout the body. The surgery was expected to take about 3 hours.

At 9:15 the OR called to say Dr. Orr was finishing up and would be out to talk to us in about 30 minutes. Sure enough 30 minutes later he walked into the Family Room almost giddy and announced to us that Poppy’s problem that was wreaking so much havoc was a twisted colon. Dr. Orr untwisted it, removed the dead area, and sewed him up! To use his exact words, “I opened him up and looked at that twisted colon and thought to myself, ‘That’s not what I saw on the scan??’” No cancer! No infection! He told us that it was the best case scenario, and Poppy’s vitals were already better than they were prior to surgery. Wow!! Dr. Orr, through God’s divine direction, saved Poppy’s life!

As we visited with Poppy for the last time prior to surgery, we all encouraged him to fight hard, be strong, and give it all he had. And then Deb told him that should he go to heaven instead, to please give Hannah a big hug. We left the room saddened with heavy hearts. We’ve watched God firsthand use tragedies to make us stronger. We’ve witnessed how He takes very difficult times to grow our faith. We’ve felt His grace when His plan and purpose are contrary to our desires. We know He takes all things and makes something good from it. We will testify that He giveth more grace. And as we waited for the news from the surgery, I had my own little heart-to-heart with the Lord. I knew if He were to choose to take Poppy, He’d give more grace. He’d get us through. He’d carry us and sustain us and bring us out on the other side. But let me just tell you when we heard the report from the surgery, I was overwhelmed! In my line of business, good news is hard to come by. And it is REFRESHING to receive good news! Deb told Dr. Orr that we were glad Poppy didn’t see Hannah tonight!

He giveth more grace. In good news and bad. In good times and bad. He giveth more grace.

Please keep Leon “Poppy” Houchins in your prayers. He is far from out of the woods as he has much to overcome, but overall he’s doing well today. I’ll keep you posted as I can.

“But he gives us more grace” (James 4:6).


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