When You Wonder, “Is This Really All There Is?”

“It is what it is.”  That’s the statement we make when things are out of our control.  It’s the phase that rolls off our tongues when we’ve done all we can, when change is beyond our ability, and our influence to make things different has reached its borders.  It is what it is.

When our younger son Shain was born, the doctor and nurses evaluated him, gave him a clean bill of health and showered us with congratulations on the arrival of our 8 lb. 9 oz big, hairy bundle of a baby boy.  (oh the hair on that boy)

After we were settled in at home, all the company had gone and the day’s events had taken their toll, we put our two little boys to bed.  Shain and his older brother, 2 year old Trey slept in the same room.  During the night I got up with Shain for his feedings.  Not wanting to wake Trey or Troy I found my way around the house by night-lights.  Feedings were done for the night.  The sun would soon rise.

When the light of day came breaking through the windows and everyone was awake, it was time, yet again, for another feeding of baby Shain.  I took him in my arms, cradled him next to me in the sunlight and noticed something I hadn’t seen in the night – or in the hospital.

Shain’s ear was deformed.

What happened?  What’s wrong with our baby?  How could this be?  His ear was perfectly fine yesterday.  No one saw this.  I didn’t see this.  The doctor didn’t see this.  The nurses didn’t see this.  The many friends and family who visited didn’t see this.  How does a baby with perfectly healthy ears one day have a deformed ear the next?  This doesn’t make sense!

I called Troy into the nursery to show him what had happened to Shain’s ear.  He was as stunned as I.

We called the doctor and took him to be checked out immediately.

When we handed our baby Shain to the doctor his response was not at all what I expected.  He asked, “Has this baby been hit?”

WHAT???? I was instantly offended.  Hit???  He asked if we had hit our baby???

Then he said, “The only reason I ask, is because what this baby has is called a cauliflower ear.  Boxers get it from being hit repeatedly in the ear.”  (Shain’s ear looked like it had been turned wrong-side out)

“No.  (read indignation here)  Our baby has not been hit.  It wasn’t like this yesterday, but now it is.  I don’t know why it’s like this, but I can assure you nothing has happened to him.”  (I’m sure my eyeballs looked like they were about to pop out of my head at this point)

The doctor told us there was nothing we could do now, but when Shain got older we could take him to a plastic surgeon who could reconstruct his ear and make it look more presentable.

We left the doctor’s office in a daze.  How in the world…

We didn’t know how or why this happened, but we knew we served a God who could fix it.  We prayed.

And we prayed.

And we prayed.

And nothing happened.  But we prayed.

Still nothing happened.

Is this that phrase?  Is this where we say, “It is what it is?”  Is this how it’s going to be Shain’s whole life?  Change was certainly out of our control.  Making it better was definitely beyond our capacity.  We did the best thing we could do.  We prayed.  And we prayed.  And we would keep praying.

But is this really it?  Are we to resign ourselves to, “It is what it is?”  If so, we accept God’s grace to live with it.  But we will always pray that God’s hand will be upon his life – no matter what happens with his ear.


When Shain was three months old, I was holding him in my arms at church.  We had a guest speaker that morning, and he asked people to come forward for prayer.  We didn’t go.  We’d been so many times already.  We were always asking God to heal him, and we knew God could.  But that day, for whatever reason, we didn’t go.

I sat in my seat and prayed for the people at the altar then the preacher got up to close the service in prayer.  I bowed my head and closed my eyes along with everyone else in the room.  That’s normal.  What happened next… was not normal.

When I opened my eyes, I looked down at Shain and something was different.  Something had happened.  As shockingly as Shain’s ear had deformed, Shain’s ear had healed!  What??? I could hardly believe my eyes!

I thought, “I must have the wrong ear.  This ear is perfect.”  I turned his head to look at his other ear, and that ear was perfect too!  Two perfect ears!  Our baby was healed!  You can imagine the excitement in the church when we began to show everybody this baby who had a deformed ear coming into the church but had a perfectly shaped ear leaving the church.

In the midst of the excitement and all the praises being given to God, I knew I had just witnessed the sovereignty of God.  God’s message to me was, “I’ll do what I want when I want.  Pray.  Believe.  But I know what’s best.”


Friends, I don’t know why our sweet baby Shain suddenly had a deformed ear and as shockingly as it came, miraculously it left.  I don’t know.  But I do know that our little boy’s life taught us something that has given us faith all these years.

It is what it is… until God says it isn’t.

Notice the beautiful ear on my grown baby boy holding his baby boy Archer.

Our grown baby boy holding his baby boy Archer. They both have beautiful ears. (in the feature photo above, Shain’s deformed ear is away from the camera – we never drew attention to it)

God is sovereign and He does what He wants when He wants.  Our job is not to question.  Our job is believe.  To trust.  To know that He has everything under control and He’s working all things out for our good – no matter what.


I’m not God.  I can’t explain why things happen.  I don’t know why some prayers are answered now and some later and some, seemingly, never.  But I do know that God is sovereign, and He knows what He’s doing.  He sees the big picture.  He knows what’s happening behind the scenes of your life and what’s coming down the pike and He moves people and things into place all for your good – whatever that looks like.


There will be hard days.  It is what it is.

The world is full of sickness.  It is what it is.

Financial trouble is real.  It is what it is.

Until God says it isn’t.

And when God says it isn’t… things change.  When things are out of your control.  When your resources are exhausted and your capacity to bring resolution has reached it’s limits… know that God has none.


God has no limits.  He has no lack.  He is for you so keep believing.  Keep trusting because… it is what it is… only until God says it isn’t.


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