Update on Victoria DeHaan (IV)

Happily, there is some good news to report concerning Victoria’s condition. Her fever has dissipated and her breathing tube has been removed. Victoria is breathing on her own again. Soli Deo Gloria!

Victoria is less sedated now, but she is very restless and experiencing considerable discomfort due to itching. She has spoken some words and even asked for “chocolate cereal”! Her bad leg is still oozing; the dressing must be changed frequently. The doctors are still going to access the situation on Friday and determine then when to do the needed skin grafting. She does experience pain as well and they have administered a different pain medication as her body was getting accustomed to the pain meds she was on.

Please pray that Victoria would be able to bear this pain and pray especially for her parents as they witness her pain. “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Ps. 27:14).

Update on Victoria DeHaan (III)

Victoria had surgery yesterday to remove some of the tissue that the physicians had repaired in her most severely injured leg. Happily, the surgeon didn’t have to take away as much tissue as he thought. Victoria’s fever is still a problem, however; please pray that her fever would be kept under control. The doctors are not sure of the cause of this fever.

They will evaluate her situation on Friday, so as to decide whether more surgery is necessary on her leg. If this assessment is encouraging, they may start skin grafting. If things deteriorate, they may have to put a vacuum into her leg which would help fight the bacteria and also promote healthy tissue. The only concern would be that this may aggravate the main artery which they have repaired.

Although Victoria has come a long way, by God’s grace, there are still many hurdles to overcome, all of which depend on our heavenly Physician’s hands. Continue to storm the throne of grace for this precious little life, for her dear parents, Jen and Gerald, and also for the glorification of God’s name and the advance of God’s kingdom through these events.

Update on Victoria DeHaan (II)

Victoria’s parents, Jen and Gerald DeHaan, continue to feel God’s presence in this great trial. Jen has remarked a few times, “It feels like we are floating on prayer.” They are keenly aware of the many hundreds of people that are praying for them and Victoria, and feel the love and concern of everyone.

They are asking for specific prayer for a resolution of Victoria’s fever that has set in. Prayer is also needed for the surgeons as they have to cut away some of the tissue in one of Victoria’s legs; the color is not good and it does not appear to be healing properly. This means that the skin grafting surgery scheduled for today will not be done yet, as these matters need to be resolved first. Please pray on….

Update on Victoria DeHaan

Victoria has now gone through three surgeries, all of which have gone as well as can be expected considering her critical condition. The last surgery was for restoring muscle in her legs; time will tell whether or not that is ultimately successful. At present, there is hope that eventually she may be able to walk again. Tomorrow she undergoes her first surgery for skin grafting. Pray that that may go well.

Victoria is still battling low grade fevers and infections, but neither are beyond what is expected for someone in her condition. All in all, we are grateful to be able to report that, though she is still in critical condition, there is some progress. Keep praying with us that there will be no major setbacks.

One nice bonus of God’s tender lovingkindness is that the dogs did no damage to her face. Another bonus was that about 3:00 a.m. on Sunday morning she came out of her sedation long enough to be able to mouth the words “mommy” and “daddy” to the great joy of her parents, Jen and Gerald. For now, however, she needs to continue to be under heavy sedation.

Both the immediate and extended family are profoundly grateful for the thousands of prayers being offered up for Victoria and covet their continuation.

A God-fearing Father (IX)

This post is the last in a series of blogs sharing my remembrances of the life and death of my father, John Beeke (d. 1993). In this part of the series I have been sharing lessons learned from his example.

(8) The brevity of life and the certainty of judgment. Our father often prayed: “Lord, prepare us for eternity, for our lives are like a brittle thread which can be cut at any moment.”

Our father’s death plunged us into sorrow, yet “the memory of the just is blessed” (Prov. 10:7a). It is our prayer that our father’s sudden death may serve to the glory of God, stimulating holy jealousy in the hearts of His people, causing the unsaved to pause and consider the solemn realities of eternity, and serving to the cause of peace and unity of our denomination which he loved with all his heart. Oh, that our father, like Samson, might have been given to be more fruitful in his death than in his life!

Finally, do not cast away the solemn warning in our father’s death. Remember the well-known saying of J. C. Ryle, “The saddest road to hell is that which runs under the pulpit, past the Bible, and through the midst of warnings and invitations.”

In the day of judgment, Revelation 22:11 will be fulfilled, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” Then there will be no unbelievers, but then it will be too late to seek the Lord. The market of free grace will be closed.

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. . . . Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 24:42-44).

A God-fearing Father (VIII)

This series of blogs shares my remembrances of the life and death of my father, John Beeke (d. 1993). In this part of the series I am sharing lessons learned from his example.

(6) The beauty and loveliness of Christ. Especially in the last years of our father’s life, he sought to make Christ lovely. The more ministers were given to preach Christ from the pulpit, the more he wept in the pew. As family, no one needed to tell us; we knew he was living out of Christ. Especially his prayers betrayed him that he had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). And yet, he always longed for more of Christ. How many hundreds of times we heard him pray, “Lord, that we may be given to see the King in His beauty!”

Oh, may God grant more missing-yet-possessing people in our midst in the dark and sinful days in which we live (2 Cor. 6:8-10)! “Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men” (Psa. 12:1).

(7) The need for self-examination. For our father, the loveliness of Christ, the need for self-examination and the fear of presumption rode in tandem with each other. He often prayed, “Lord, what a wonder it will be if, when we come to the end of our life, we do not find a covering too short or a bed too narrow.” And he often quoted the well-known saying of John Trapp, repeated by many others over the centuries, about a threefold wonder on the coming day of judgment: “first, I will be surprised to see some in heaven, whom I never expected to meet there; second, I will be surprised to miss some there, whom I expected to see; and third, the greatest wonder of all will be when I myself may enter into glory.”

A God-fearing Father (VII)

This series of blogs shares my remembrances of the life and death of my father, John Beeke (d. 1993). In this part of the series I am sharing lessons learned from his example.

(4) Holy earnestness. Our father was earnest. He often taught us at home and in church with tears about the dangers of sin and the necessity of coming before God as a hell-worthy sinner. With tears he instructed us about the only way of escape in Christ Jesus. He taught us with great conviction. Often he said to us: “Oh, that I could write these great truths of eternity upon your hearts with an iron pen!”

Dear parents, never forget that the church and the school cannot replace your foundational task. The church and school are designed to assist you, but the primary task of child-rearing, also in the area of true religion, rests with you. Can your children witness in your life a holy earnestness for the welfare of their never-dying souls?

(5) Wise, practical instructions. Our father often had golden nuggets of wisdom to impart to us. How well I remember one occasion when he said to me, “There are two things I don’t ever want you to forget if you become a minister some day: first, remember that J. C. Philpot was right when he said that though Satan cannot keep a child of God out of heaven, he can successfully keep heaven out of a child of God during this life when that child of God cooperates with him. And second, remember that you will need more wisdom to lead individual souls in a flock than to preach to the entire flock.”

To mention only one more example, he often said to us: “For a child of God a divine instruction is more than a divine comfort. A comfort is precious, but is usually of short duration; an instruction may not seem as great as a comfort at first, but an instruction will last an entire lifetime.”

A God-fearing Father (VI)

This series of blogs shares my remembrances of the life and death of my father, John Beeke (d. 1993). In this part of the series I am sharing lessons learned from his example.

(2) Laboring for souls in prayer. The second important lesson that impresses me is the great importance of fathers laboring for the souls of their children in prayer on a daily basis at the family table. How often our father prayed at the table, “Lord, have respect unto Thy covenant. Pass not one of our children or grandchildren by.” On the occasion of our parents’ fiftieth anniversary, he told us with tears that his one remaining desire was that he might meet “an undivided family in glory.” May the Lord graciously fulfill his desire.

Oh, the great blessing of parents who labor for the souls of their dear children in secret, but also in their children’s presence! Personally, I believe that one sincere prayer of a father weeping and begging earnestly and lovingly for the conversion of his children often makes more impression upon them than a whole series of harsh, unloving warnings.

(3) Exemplifying a life of service. Not explicitly, but by example our father taught us that a life of service to God and our neighbor is the only lifestyle worth living (John 12:26). By grace, his love for God’s truth, His house and people, and for the souls of the perishing was obvious to us children on a daily basis. In fact, it consumed his life. He had no time for other priorities. His life focused upon spiritual things. He lived simply, without luxury. The tent stakes were never put deeply into earthly soil.

Oh, that we may all take this lesson to heart! Life is so terribly short, dear friends. Let us seek grace to redeem the time, to live more in the light of eternity than in the shadows of time.

A God-fearing Father (V)

This series of blogs shares my remembrances of the life and death of my father, John Beeke (d. 1993).

When a God-fearing father passes away, the minds and hearts of his children will be flooded with numerous memories and lessons. Allow me to summarize them in the next few posts:

(1) Experiential religion. Perhaps most of all our father impressed upon us not only the need for, but also the reality of, a personal experiential knowledge of the marks and steps of grace—of saving conviction of sin, of God’s way of salvation in Christ, and of the fruits of gratitude and humility which flow out of an experienced deliverance. Often he spoke to us about the way the Lord leads His people—particularly on Sunday evenings, after family worship had been concluded (which usually consisted of Psalter-singing and numerous readings of The Pilgrim’s Progress—his favorite book). Many times as a teenager I could not go to bed after these hours of family worship, and we would stay up well past midnight speaking from heart to heart as I asked him further questions about God’s experiential leadings. These are precious, unforgettable memories.

I would wholeheartedly encourage all God-fearing fathers and mothers to foster spiritual conversation with your children. Particularly if your children show an interest for spiritual truths, let no impediment hinder you from speaking lovingly to their heart about the ways of God.

A God-fearing Father (IV)

This series of blogs shares my remembrances of the life and death of my father, John Beeke (d. 1993).

God’s timing is best. In the last period of his life our father longed to depart and be with Christ. In those months he told several family members and close friends, “I have such a longing to be done with sin and to be with Christ forever.” He was weary of sin and strife within and without.

Our father was never satisfied with himself. When the family circle commemorated our parents’ fiftieth anniversary three years ago, each of the children stated to our parents what we appreciated most about them. At the end, he arose, informed us that he would never receive a diploma for having been a good father, and confessed with tears, “few and evil have the days of the years of my life been” (Gen. 47:9b).

Like all of God’s people, our father had his faults and weaknesses. He was a man of like passions as we are (James 5:17). At home, he was passive and calm; in church life, he was deeply concerned and forthright in expressing his convictions. But oh, what a blessing that not one shortcoming of the saints is mentioned in Hebrews 11 where the heroes and heroines of faith are listed! Do you know why this is so? Because all their sins have been washed away by the blood of the precious Surety.

Our father would freely testify of his nearly forty years of service in the church that God could rightfully say, “Forty years long was I grieved with this generation.” But those forty years, yes, his entire life, out of free, one-sided grace may now be without spot and wrinkle due to the justifying and sanctifying power of Christ and His blood-bought righteousness.

Blessed, blessed day when mortality puts on immortality, and corruption, incorruption! Oh, to be redeemed and placed before the throne of God without fear, with Christ in the midst of the throne (Rev. 7:17)! Eternal, unfathomable, sovereign, gracious wonder! Christ covenanted for this throne; He suffered and died for this throne. He died so that the throne of justice, on the grounds of fully satisfied justice, could be a throne of grace for all His people. It is that throne, having righteousness and judgment as its habitation (Ps. 97:2), which is Jehovah’s seat of mercy, having the blood of the Mediator sprinkled upon it.

That Christ is in the midst of the throne, Ralph Erskine wrote, speaks of the dignity of His Person, the height of His exaltation, the perfection and completeness of all His mediatorial work, His accessibility on every hand to sinners, and His centrality with regard to all the glory that surrounds and encompasses the throne of God. Christ is the express image of His Father and the brightness of His glory. From between the cherubim, He shines forth as the Shepherd of Israel (Ps. 80:1). In Him, the throne of grace is a place of beauty, plenty, and triumph. There Christ shall feed His people with His eternal covenant-keeping faithfulness. He shall feed them powerfully, kindly, spiritually, and plentifully. With a soft cloth, says Rutherford, He shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.