We are Jonathan’s parents, John and Bette Duncan. We’ve been asked to weigh in on our perspective regarding God’s purpose in allowing Jonathan’s accident 37 years ago. To provide you with context, Jonathan suffered a severe brain injury due to a lack of oxygen. Although he survived with the remarkable skill of the ICU staff at Children’s Hospital, we were given the devastating news his injuries were so total and irreversible he would remain in a vegetative state for the remainder of his life. As the unbearable days turned into months, the message from neurologists stayed the same … no chance of any recovery or meaningful function. But our God, who specializes in the impossible, chose to miraculously alter the outcome of his injury…bringing him out of the coma that had locked him away for three and a half months! In those first brief moments, we got a glorious glimpse of Jonathan’s spirited self, complete with laughter…of course. Thus began a painfully slow journey of recovery….” that the works of God might be displayed in him.” What are the works of God? The Bible says God is a worker, a creator, but sin has marred His creation, and as a result bad things and disasters happen. People are disabled by blindness (John 9:1-3), palsy (Matt 9), loss of hearing, etc. But Scripture tells us in Leviticus 9:14…”You shall not curse the deaf nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God.”

The ICU doctor in charge of Jonathan’s care initiated a well-documented study of his recovery including data from PT, OT, speech therapy, as well as an educational psychologist. The conclusion confirmed what we already knew in our hearts….he was a miracle! There hadn’t been another case with such severe anoxic brain damage with any recovery at all. In those first early days in the ICU, Pastor Joe Silvey, Jonathan’s two grandfathers, and we, his parents prayed for God’s touch of healing … along with hundreds of believers around the world. His miraculous healing is a work of God.

As Jonathan developed and became increasingly articulate, we were thrilled at his unique perspective of life, its challenges, and how beautifully he experienced God‘s part in it all. The only problem …we were amongst only a few who could understand his speech. He would never be a preacher or Bible study leader or counselor. How could God possibly let these insights be wasted? Oh, such little faith!

As his parents, we traveled a path of deep grief, at the same time, giving every ounce of energy to his care and recovery. There were many times it wasn’t a pretty picture but God patiently grew (and grows) each one of us. We give praise to God, because He says in 2 Corinthians 12:9….”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties.”

May the works of God continue to be displayed in each of our lives.

John & Bette Duncan

Subscribe to the Daily Fill