Prayer for Pastor Todd’s Son, Cole

The following is from Pastor Todd Veleber’s blog posts on June 16 and June 17.

“Curves in the Road of Life” (June 16) outlines Cole’s situation, while “The Crossroads of Prayer” (June 17) includes some specific prayer requests.

If you would like to help the Velebers during this time, click here to go to a volunteer care calendar. You will need to login to Calendar ID 186250 (use security code 5257).

“Curves in the Road of Life”

June 16,

todd-coleWe all want a journey that is safe and predictable.  A road that seems well travelled and easy to navigate.  No sheer cliffs or harrowing turns.  Sounds like Interstate 10 here in Florida, yet it is one of the most boring roads to travel.  The great missionary, David Livingstone said…

“If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all.” 

That sounds like a dangerous calling.  A calling to a road that can’t be tamed or managed alone.  A calling to journey on a road that doesn’t even exist.  But in journeying on that road we are called to walk by faith and not by sight.  To place our lives into the hands of the one who holds all of life.

It’s hard to describe where we are on this road or what our road looks like.  At times we feel that we can see clearly and at other times like we are traveling in a thick fog praying we aren’t near the edge of the cliff.

Our current curve in the road was discovered about four months ago – right around the time we welcomed our fourth son, Trent Isaac into the world.  Still jubilantly celebrating new life, in a matter a few days, the celebration turned to fear.  Our third son, Cole had been complaining of leg pain but nothing could be discovered.  Then after an injury and a more specific location (his right leg) we went in for x-rays.  You know things are serious when you get a phone call from the pediatrician the next morning.  “I’m not a specialist” he began, “but I believe I’m seeing what is called Legg Calve Perthes Disease.”  A rare and incurable childhood disease affecting only a handful of kids out of a hundred thousand.  “You’ll want to see a specialist”, he added.

The “specialist” we first sought out was a standard go-to… the internet.  There began our journey into information.  In short, Perthes is a disease that cuts off blood flow to the femoral head (a form of avascular necrosis) resulting in the bone shrinking as it dies in the hip joint.  It is unknown what causes this and to date there is no cure.

Armed with limited knowledge, we learned there are no pediatric orthopedic specialists in Tallahassee (only a doctor that travels over from Pensacola twice a month).  We locate a specialist in Jacksonville and later one in Birmingham, Alabama.  We would come to find out the severity of Cole’s condition through the second specialist – labeling it as one of the worst he has seen in a child so young.  He also offered a very different approach toward the disease that would lead us to a third opinion from the specialists at Boston Children’s Hospital (where the disease was discovered nearly 100 years ago).

We were told we have a limited window of time in which to act.  We will move forward with a surgery that is fairly extensive and invasive with no guarantee of any change in outcome as the disease runs its course.  But we are at peace that this is the right decision and so Cole will undergo surgery in Birmingham this week.  The recovery will potentially be long and hard.  An immobilization device (petrie cast) will be required for at least three weeks.

We’re on a curve… and to be honest, we aren’t sure how many curves there will be ahead.  I’m not sure anything grows and stretches your faith and trust in God as much as the health and future of your children.  We stand in a place where we are totally out of control, but we stand firmly knowing the God who is in control.  We pray… and we pray hard.  And we pray to a God who not only hears us but has the power to respond accordingly.  Thank you for standing with us in this journey.  God is good… all the time and at all points in this road of life – especially the curves.

“The Crossroads of Prayer”

June 17,

“More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of” – Tennyson

That quote often finds itself stuck somewhere between my head and my heart.  Intellectually and theologically I know it to be true.  And in some of the lowest valleys and highest mountaintop moments in my life my heart has found it to be true.  And here we as a family find ourselves at a crossroads between our heads and our hearts.

I mean, how do you exactly pray for the healing of your son?  How do we reconcile God’s perfect plan for him with our parental desires for him and his future?

We know our God to be a God of healing.  And we know our God to be a God of purpose.  And we are okay with how He decides both of those should line up in the life of our little guy, Cole.  But we also know that this God of healing and purpose has not only given us access to Himself through Jesus but also encourages us in that access known as prayer.  So we’ve decided to pray boldly as Hebrews 4:16 challenges us to, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”  And then Matthew 7:7, “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

We have been praying for a miraculous healing because we believe in a God who still heals miraculously.  The pattern has continued most nights… pray with Cole, together at bedtime and then wait until he falls asleep and kneeling by his bed, with my hand on his hip, cry out to God for healing.  These have been tender moments where the Spirit of God communicates to the heart of God our requests.  And in return we truly have been offered His presence and a peace that does pass all understanding.

Even though our understanding is quite limited, we still have peace.  We don’t see what God sees in regards to Cole’s life and future.  But we do know what God knows – He will be glorified in this situation.  So ultimately that’s what we desire beyond all else.  No matter how God chooses to heal, we want His name to be made great.  We want His Story to be made known through our son’s story.

If you would be willing to stand with us in prayer… here are some specific requests:

  • Please pray for wisdom and skill for Dr. Killian and the team taking care of Cole.  We are praying for the lesser of the two surgical options if at all possible.
  • Pray for minimal pain, minimal affects of anesthesia, rest, and plenty of sleep for Cole (he cries out at night right now and hasn’t been sleeping well)
  • Pray for us as we care for Cole and manage the rest of the family’s needs. Pray especially for Brooke caring for our baby, Trent and caring for the majority of Cole’s needs.
  • Pray for extended family helping with Cole and other siblings needs, pray for Brock and Jake as they process what their brother is going through and how is family is different right now.
  • Pray for Todd’s summer ministry commitments and wisdom to delegate.
  • Pray for Cole’s understanding and a spirit of peace both before and during the procedure, but also how he copes with not having mobility for so long.
  • Pray God’s mercy and healing power over Cole that the surgery will allow complete healing of Cole’s femur bone and hip and that he has no long term affects from Perthes disease.  Pray that it doesn’t affect his other hip down the road.
  • Pray the Lord will guide our decisions and keep up tightly knit as a couple and a family during this time.

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. (Isaiah 58:8)

Thank you – each and every one – for standing with us in prayer and for all the encouraging words!

PS – If you are local to Tallahassee, we’d love to have you join us in a service for prayer and healing tonight (June 17) at 7p in the Student Center at Wildwood Church. 


If you would like to help the Velebers during this time, click here to go to a volunteer care calendar. You will need to login to Calendar ID 186250 (use security code 5257).


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