The request was simple: pray for baby Justice Micah Perry.
I don't know the Perry family. Never met them, and without the help of profile pictures I probably wouldn't have been able to pick either of them out of a one-person line-up. But we have some mutual friends and every day I would see status updates on Facebook from a high school classmate about baby Justice.
Justice was born on Sept. 30th and from all visual accounts was a perfectly beautiful baby boy. But little Justice's heart wasn't quite perfect. Day after day, I saw posts from his father, Troy, about this surgery and that procedure...this level and that output. And with each post came a prayer request: pray for Justice, pray for the doctors and nurses and pray for God's will to be done. There's a hard lesson in those last few words. Never for pray for God's will to be done unless you are fully willing to accept that His will is not always our will.
I watched the Facebook group "Pray for Justice Micah Perry" for a few days, seeing posts by more than 3,000 people who chose to "suit up" as prayer warriors for this precious baby and his family. I saw Troy's posts and not once did I see a selfish prayer from him. He didn't ask the group to pray that Justice's heart would be healed so that he could grow up and play baseball and ride a bicycle. He didn't ask the group to pray that this process would all just be over so they could go home and love on their baby boy. No. He asked the group to pray for God's will.
On Friday, Oct. 28th, God's will was done. Justice was called home to be with his Heavenly Daddy. Troy's post announcing Justice's passing read, "To God be all the glory." Those words echoed through my head along with the sound of my own sobs. In that moment, all my troubles seemed so insignificant. This man just lost his baby. He had every right to be angry and bitter, but he wasn't. He was praising his Father for Justice's short life - a life that brought together more than 3,000 people in prayer. A life that brought people closer to God. A life that, in my mommy-opinion, ended all too soon.
Troy posted again on Friday night, and more tears fell.
"Tonight there are no prayer requests for Justice. There are no beeps to listen to. There are no gases to check. There are no monitors to watch. Tonight Justice is dancing around the throne of God with a complete and new heart. Justice will not have to have any more surgeries. Justice will not have to take medicine to help his heart function. Tonight Justice is in the presence of the Almighty One."
I wasn't crying for Justice. I was crying for Troy, his wife Sara and their son Noah. I was crying because I couldn't imagine the pain they were feeling. And I was crying because I knew that if I were in their shoes, I wouldn't be that strong. If tragedy struck my life, I don't think I would have the faith to make it through. For the next couple of days, I took a good long look at my list of so-called priorities. Laughable. Insignificant. Shameful.
Troy's post went on to ask for prayer for the doctors and nurses that had cared for little Justice - prayers that they not feel guilt or shame for not being able to heal Justice's heart. He asked people to pray for the other babies on the 5th floor of Vanderbilt Hospital, for their healing and for their families. Troy understood.
Justice was only here for 28 days because that's all the time it took for God to work through him. And when His work was done, He simply said, "Okay, buddy, good job. Let's go home!" Then it dawned on me that the only reason we are all still here is because God isn't done with us yet! One gentleman posted his condolences and said that "God has only three answers to our prayers: yes; not now; and I have a better idea." God had a better idea for Justice and the Perry family. He had another purpose. And while I don't yet know what His "better idea" might be for me, I do know that because of the life of Justice and the awesome faith, strength and testimony of Troy and Sara Perry, I will hold my babies tighter, love stronger and let go of those trivial things that don't really matter.
I pray that God will use me and my family for His purpose, whatever it may be. I pray that God will wrap His arms around the Perry family as they bury their son today. And I pray that God will use us all for His glory - just as He used Justice. Thank you, Troy and Sara, for sharing your journey and Justice's life with us all. And thank you for showing unwavering faith through this trial. It has truly been a blessing and an inspiration.
"For I am convinced that neither life nor death, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 8:38-39