The story of tonight began in the fall of 2012. I sat in a light green waiting room chair in the maternity waiting room of Womack Army Hospital. In a fairly empty corner near the glass windows, I eagerly wanted to see the doctor.Four feet from my chair, on the other side of the glass wall sat an old wooden piano bench. This tucked away corner is the place where a wonderful older man plays. I had hoped to see him but today the bench sat empty. It was one more way in which I felt alone. My youngest son, then still 1, was at home with my father. My husband was fighting in Afghanistan. It had been 24 hours since a phone call came to tell me that I was carrying a son with Down Syndrome.
In that quiet moment I rubbed my belly and took deep breaths to keep the tears from dropping down my cheeks. In one exhale I almost audibly cried out, “Lord, how am I going to do this?”
Smooth, familiar notes peacefully infiltrated the silence. It was the opening cords to one of my favorite hymns, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.”
As the piano played, the words I know by heart rang through my very Spirit again:
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!”
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
My circumstances changed; God did not. He is faithful when it feels like he has failed. The promise of God’s new mercies and that he would provide covered me as I faced my first appointment on the behalf of William.
I’ve not heard the hymn since without thinking of that day and my darling piano player. I longed to meet him and tell him how God used him that day.
A little more than a year later, my sweet William was in my arms as I walked through the now very familiar hospital. There he sat- elegant, weathered hands beautifully drawing a masterpiece from an old instrument. Between songs I introduced myself. A hand turned with age and yet graceful from piano playing reached out and took mine. “I’m Eugene.”
He had a dazzling smile under weathered skin and piercing blue eyes that stood out against his brown complexion. He had never studied music professionally; he had worked two jobs to pay for his sister to become a professional musician. Now he played simply to brighten the day of others. I joyfully told him of the day he reminded my that my God is faithful. I held out my son to show him the proof of God’s faithfulness.
Mr. Eugene insisted that I record him playing that sweet refrain. As we said our goodbyes, he said, “I’ll play you out.”
I waited until the final refrain triumphantly thundered before I walked through the revolving doors of the hospital with a resolved smile. My God is indeed faithful.
Now, in 2014 I sit next to the same child struggling to beat leukemia. He has been miserable for days and been held by those who love him through it all.
As his fever broke and he is trying to rest, I desperately found the video of Mr. Eugene. As the notes played, my Conqueror finally rested.
Behind me is a stack of packages. Many of you sent cards, gifts, food, lotions, a cape and crown–all I could need has been provided. My son is being cared for in the best medical facility available in this region. He is teaching me every day how to trust Jesus and to go to him for strength and mercy DAILY. He has used YOU. As we are weak and crying through the fight of his young life, I am constantly encouraged that the throne of grace is being charged on our behalf. You have been the hands and feet of Christ. You are upholding us. You remind me daily that God’s faithfulness is great and never, ever fails.
You are witnesses. We are more than conquerors through him that loved us. Great is Thy Faithfulness, Lord unto me.