God is a good Dad

“There are several concerning areas of inflammation on both the brain stem and the spinal cord.” The room started to spin. Dr. Lee continued, but his words fell on deaf ears. All I could hear was something was wrong with my husband. Seriously wrong. I tried to muffle my tears/snot/sobbing so he could finish….

“Do you have any questions?” he asked at the end.

Are you sure you looked at my husband’s MRI? Is there any way they could be switched? (I mean I’ve heard about switching newborns in the hospital-could it happen to brain scans?). Please tell me you called the wrong couple.

We hung up the phone & I felt weightless in that room stacked with books & boxes. Michael was in Atlanta taking his Greek test-and I was back in Nashville at work. Nothing could have prepared us for that phone call. He left Atlanta immediately with a promise to drive carefully.

As many of you know, we checked into the hospital Tuesday morning. Michael started steroid treatments to help decrease the swelling in his brain stem & spine. We saw doctors-lots of doctors. He had a lumbar puncture (spinal tap)  & I nearly fainted. I tried to sleep in a chair at the hospital, but to no avail. Nurses came in to check his vitals. We learned what a myelin sheath was and how to spell “transverse myelitis”. We heard all the possibilities of what he might have, and we banned ourselves from google.

We cried. We asked God questions. We begged for healing.

We are waiting. Waiting for the results of the lumbar puncture. Waiting for a diagnosis. Waiting to see if the steroid injections will help.

Questions we’ve both been asking: Why God? Why are you allowing this suffering? Are you punishing us? Did we do something wrong? Will you heal Michael? What is your will for this illness? Is this a test? And a question we’ve both recently learned:  “How can we glorify you in the midst of this?” It’s not coincidental that I recently wrote about asking how not why. 

We don’t know why God is allowing Michael to experience this. We don’t have an answer whether or not God will heal Michael. We can make guesses at His plan for all of this, but ultimately we don’t have a clue.

I’ve written about my struggle before not to see God as a cruel taskmaster waiting to hand out punishment when I screw up. I formerly lived in fear, almost tiptoeing around trying not to “upset” God. From an early age,  I believed that suffering must mean I’ve done something to disappoint God. One of the greatest truths that has only sunken in over the past year is simply this: God is a good Dad. This view of God as a loving Father has completely transformed my relationship with Him. (For more read God Isn’t Punishing You)

After we talked to the neurologist and I sat in that room with mascara all over my face Michael spoke without hesitation: “He is still a good Dad”.

We don’t have answers, but we serve a faithful God who has good plans for our future. What an incredible man I married.

Will you pray with us for healing? If you’d like to know how to continue to pray for Michael, please join our prayer list.

Do you believe God is a good Dad? Have you ever struggled with seeing God as cruel instead of loving when bad things happen?

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75 Responses to “God is a good Dad”
  1. R says:

    Hey Ruthie,

    I have struggled before. As I said earlier I am just stepping out of a financially abusive relationship. This is a man I prayed about to God before we begun dating and God truly answered most of my prayers and then this….I did not understand. But then I have been reading Zephaniah 3:14-20 and it is comforting. God will restore my dignity and my pride and return me to the place that I was shamed for all to see him return my fortunes before my very eyes. I am waiting on the Lord…Ruthie wait on Him

  2. Tatuu says:

    Hey Ruthie,

    This post brought tears to my eyes but I know we serve a faithful and good Dad. He has great plans for our lives and all the things that He allows us to face will in the end bring Him glory. We may not have all the answers as to why we go through the kind of hard times we go through but we serve the one who is all knowing. He knows the beginning from the end.

    By His stripes we declare healing on Michael’s body and whatever the devil meant for evil will surely be turned for good. God will use it for His glory.

    Peace be still, He is God, He is a good Dad in deed. I shall be here waiting for the good report so that I can celebrate with you guyz.

    Bless you!

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Hi Tatuu,

      Amen. God will use all of this for His glory. He is all-knowing-thanks for the reminder. It means the world to know you are praying for us all the way in Africa. Blessings to you, friend!

  3. Jackie says:

    So sorry to hear about this! I could share a thousand words, hundreds of cliches’ and yet none sums them up any better than Michael himself spoke “God is a good Dad!”
    Things may get tough, there may be many uncertainties, nothing may seem as if it’s stable and yet thru it all God is a good Dad! He loves Michael (and you and your family) so very much! Keep reminding yourselves daily, even moment by moment that very thing “GOD IS A GOOD DAD” !!! He will never let you down! Please know that you all are in our prayers!

  4. Angela says:

    Michael is on my heart and in my prayers. Please let him know how much I love him. Angela Conklin

  5. Sarah says:

    Michael is in my prayers. At my church we are currently studying the life of Joeph and going through a series “You’ll get though this.” Our pastor, Max Lucado, gave us this encouraging statement for the series. “I’ll get through this. With God’s help I will. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But God will use this mess for good. I won’t be foolish or naive. But I won’t despair either. I will get through this.”

  6. Kate says:

    Thank you for your honesty and vulnerability in this difficult situation!

    The beauty of blogging is that you now have people around the world praying you guys through this! I am praying in faith for healing for Michael. And praying for wisdom, patience, and perseverance for the both of you.

    Blessings and keep in faith!

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Yes, it’s been thrilling to see people in Africa, Asia, South America…and all over the world come forward and let me know they are praying. What an incredible blessing! thank you for your prayers.

  7. Christy says:

    We don’t know each other but I prayed this morning for you & your husband. May God bring you both peace even if He doesn’t give you answers. I’m kind of in a similar situation as you (though not as serious right now) with my husband-we’re both newly married & today he has to go back to the dermatologist because one of the moles they removed from him looked a little funny. The doctor doesn’t think it’s melanoma, but he wants to remove some more surrounding tissue just to be sure. It’s scary, but we have to remind ourselves God is in control.

  8. Sheila says:

    Lifting you and your family up in my prayers!

  9. Karla Hanns says:

    I will definitely be praying!

  10. Trish Jorgenson says:

    Hi from Oregon. Please know that I will be praying for your Michael. Our son-in-law is also Michael and we just got some awful news on him yesterday. He is in the hospital and diagnosed with lung and throat cancer and no more treatment can be done. I asked God “why Mike”…? There is a purpose in all of this and our job is to serve Him regardless of our circumstances. So we press on and we trust and we worship the one TRUE God…Jesus Christ. A big hug to you both and may He bless you in ways you never imagined. Trish

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Wow, Trish. I have no words. How incredibly painful. Thank you for encouraging us in the midst of your own son’s diagnosis. How heart-renching. Praying for you and your Michael. What faith!

  11. Danelle says:

    Oh Ruthie. I’m so grieved for you, dear one. Praying with you that if it be His good will, that Michael would be healed and if not, that you will continue believing that His will is indeed good and will bring Himself glory and you the most good. Love you guys. Praying in the most Biblical way I know how…
    “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us….. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what [or how] to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:18, 26-28

  12. God’s peace and strength be with you and Michael. He is a good dad.

  13. Teresa says:

    Dear Ruthie, I’m so sorry to hear of all that you and your sweet husband are enduring right now… but remember that Joy cometh in the morning! You may be going through the fire right now but you will come forth shining as pure gold!! I will be praying for you both and that Michael will be healed in Jesus name, but I will also be praying that HIS will be done. Michael, God is a good dad!

  14. Regina Anderson says:


  15. Anonymous says:

    Its so very weird to be reading this on my phone in the hospital after having just spent a week in ICU and on life support, after coning into the hospial with a headache. We really have to know God does have a plan for us, we just have to be patient while trying to figure out what it is. And we may never know the benefit of his plans, but rest assured, he does!

  16. Praying for you and Michael this morning. For healing and for peace. You are handling this with grace and faith. It’s truly amazing to watch and a testament to your Christian walks.

  17. Ally says:

    Ruthie, I’m praying for you during this hard time. I read this today on the “Kisses From Katie” blog, and it has proved so true in my life this past year. I hope this is encouraging:
    “I just longed to tell all those people in that hospital that a year later, I can say, “Yes. This is the hardest year I have ever done.” But I can also say, “I would do it again if He asked me.” Because Faithful God did not let go of our hands. This new life has been hard to learn. But we have learnt it. Life changes in an instant and God sees all of it, redeems all of it, uses all of it for His good.”

  18. WIll be praying for you both. Bad things happen to good people. Sin corrupted the world, and brought with it sickness and disease along with all of the other problems it whirls into our lives. Satan wields his influence to take our eyes off the Lord, and even doubt His goodness.

    From reading your blog, and watching Michael’s Youtube videos about manhood, you two are way ahead of your time in age. You two have much wisdom and strength between you both.

    May God bless you and come through for you. I will fight for you on this end.

  19. momentoo says:

    .Ruthie ..

    I came to mind the biblical text that says “and we know that those who love God all things work together for good”

    God wants to glorify Himself through this situation, it is incredible to see the level of faith that leads to passing situations, so continue, facing the cross, facing Jesus. God does not give us anything we can not stand it! Women are a strong and courageous! my prayers are with you.

    I send you a super hug!
    God bless *


  20. Errollyn says:

    He’s still a great, excellent, and almighty God!! My best friend is always saying, “With God, our stories are ALWAYS to be continued…” God’s report is always greater! I blogged about it on my website. God is always up to something and it’s always GOOD!!

  21. Sue Reifsnider says:


    I am a Messiah College grad. About 20 years ago I went to the beach, for the first time, and contracted Viral Encephalitis. I was not supposed to live. Well, I’m still here and I’m starting another new journey. I can tell ya for a fact that God is good and has a plan. I’m here if ya need someone to listen or lean on. I will pray for healing. However, I will also pray that God will allow you to use this experience to help others.

    In Him,


  22. L says:

    Praying for you both, that God will heal but that He will also use this situation powerfully to bring you closer to Him and as a couple. Your faith in this is an inspiration.

  23. Shelly says:

    I was scanning FB and came across this article on a good friend’s page and as I read it smacked me in the face. Your message that is! I had just broken down last night in tears because I have two thyroid diseases that have controlled my life for the last six years and I felt it was punishment for my stupid choices when I was younger or at least a preventative measure just in case I fell back into it. But your story and faith moved me and I am praying for you guys for God’s healing and His strength to get you through this. Thank you for sharing.

  24. Pat Moore says:

    My prayers are with all of you. May God envelope you in his loving arms, give your the strength, courage, friends & angels to help you. Remember in Math 18:18-20 that where 2 or more are gathered in prayer, anything that we ask in Jesus name he will do. I believe this. I have seen so many miracle due to the power of prayer. Our God is an Awesome God. Thank you for sharing & will be praying.

  25. Oh my! so so sorry to hear this, will keep Michael in my many prayers I say each nite and day….also my son-in-law is a minister of a church and I will send him this article and have him put Michael on their prayer list……

  26. Renee Bissmeyer says:

    Lifting up lots of prayers of healing from Texas for you both….and will continue daily! Will send out a prayer email for you guys to everyone I know! Prayer is an awesome thing! P!lease let us know what we can do to help! XO

  27. Angel Yang says:

    Ruthie, I just want to let you know that we are praying for you from here. I believe God will bring wonderful things out of this!

  28. I’m so sorry to hear about this, Ruthie! Adding you and Michael to my prayer list. Hugs, friend.

  29. Edward Lin says:

    Hi Ruthie,

    May you continue to hold fast to this God-centered view of goodness and mercy. We’re praying for you and Michael to have the grace, strength, and courage for the days ahead.


  30. Akash says:

    Beautiful words. Know that you are glorifying God even in these words you’re sharing with the world.

    I’ve been praying for y’all. He is a good Dad.

  31. Jane Staiger says:

    Hope is a word that every hurting heart understands. Hope shines brighter than the darkest night. Faith is bigger than the highest mountain. And God is greater than any obstacle in ;your path.
    Anything can e accomplished by those who fully put their hearts into it. The time to start is now; the place to start is here.
    May hope cast its special light upon your path and God bless everything you touch in the hours, days and moments still to come.

  32. Miss Vee says:

    this must be a trying time for you both. when i read this and saw that you received the news through a phone call it reminded me of Brenda Warner’s memoir about faith in challenging times.
    it encouraged me that she continued to trust in God through tornados, divorce, special needs child, etc
    praying for you and Michael

  33. stacy says:

    I will keep you both in prayer and know my researching myelin sheath for a client was not ‘happen stance’ but to help provide encouragement and a peace from God. Please look into gluten intolerance/ sensitivity (progresses to celiac disease) and its effects such as inflammation, irritation, and break down of myelin sheath-myelitis(auto-immune). Praying for everyone involved in the care and treatment for your husband.
    Stay strong! Eat nutritiously and mindfully!

  34. kylady717 says:

    Glad to hear Michael is some better….unable to leave you note before, see if this one goes thru….

  35. MrsHawk says:

    Hi Ruthie,

    Did Michael end up being ok? Did he get an MS diagnosis? This touched me as I was married to the love of my life a year ago and this summer i got my MS diagnosis…i cant agree with you more that having a strong, supportive marriage can get you through even the scariest of times. MS feels like a death sentence but it really isnt… the biggest myth about this disease is that everyone will end up severely disabled… only abour 15% people with MS use a wheelcahir in their lifetime… so please whatever the outcome or diagnosis that Michael recieved… keep in the sunlight :)

    • Ruthie Dean says:

      Michael is ok. Doing much better! They are continuing to monitor him & bring him in for testing every 6 months. He feels great and overall we are doing wonderfully.

      thank you for asking!

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