First off, thank you so much to everyone who have been praying for our sweet boy Ian. For those who do not know, over the last two months he has dealt with ear infections, the flu, bronchitis, and now a cold that has settled back into his lungs. The short of it is that he has a “weak respiratory tract.” We still have to be careful and aggressive with his healing. He is currently on breathing treatments, antibiotics for his ears, and singulair (daily). As you think of us, please pray for him. Moving to Williamsburg Virginia will provide a new climate and will take further adjustment and observation. We don’t have a pediatrician there yet so we will need to wisely and prayerfully hustle to find one. Your prayers mean so much to us and we thank you from the depth of our hearts. Now more directly to the subject of this post.
Alison and I feel so inadequate as parents. I have heard this never really changes. Perhaps that is good so we always remember to rely more on the LORD than our own strength. After all, it is far too easy to hover over him thinking that somehow we can solve all of his problems or heal him ourselves. We know that only the LORD can touch him, heal him, and restore him whether through physicians, medicine or supernatural means. We know that He ultimately holds his life within His hands. We know that what matters above all else is how Ian grows to know God and see God. We also know that in this world there will be suffering and we will need to teach him to suffer well and to do so through faith. So we pray that we grow the kind of faith that learns to trust GOD more ourselves.
I know of so many good parents who have much deeper and more constant issues or struggles with their precious children. My heart aches, truly aches, for those. A reminder of this came to me this evening when I had to pay $445 for Ian’s medicine. Due to our Health Savings Account we had enough to cover it. I praise GOD for that gift. But I could not help but think of those parents who do not have this kind of resource or money. These are the ones who have to choose between paying for medicine or paying for groceries. As a follower of Jesus who seeks to see the world thru His eyes and feel with His heart, I cannot just dismiss this as a “hypothetical” or a mere “political issue.” This really happens, whether one has chosen to follow Christ or not. And regardless of why, it happens. I confess that sometimes I hate that we live in such a sin-stained and consequentially broken world, that any parent would have to make this kind of choice. Especially when I know the choice that GOD made to give up His Son.
As I write this I cannot help but think of two of my friends who are preaching ministers of large churches. They have very young daughters suffering from the hellish illness of cancer. On one hand I can hardly bare to read their blogs. On the other, I cannot help but wonder if I could have the same faith to endure with such honesty, humility, and GOD-honoring dignity.
I am subtly reminded that there are many people who desperately need some tangible hope for their tangible hurts. Even while the suffering happens all around us there is hope to be found in the midst of it all. I’ve read and heard about it from parents who have suffered devastating hurt or loss. I’ve heard and seen it in Jesus. And I believe that He is poignantly reminding me that in very particular ways His followers can and should be that hope. We should put some skin on this hope for the hurt of others. We do this with our prayers (as many of you have for Ian) and through our giving of time and money. We put skin on hope through our carefully thought out words of encouragement. We put skin on hope when we attempt to put skin on love as we pursue biblically-informed justice, mercy, and giving for those who, for reasons that do not matter, lack the gifts of compassion and mercy in their lives.
Then there are some ways in which all we can do is steadily offer reminders of the eternal hope in Jesus. A reminder of a most certain day when the curse of this world is finally put to rest; when the brokenness of love, justice and mercy is once and for all made whole; when the wrongs of this world are finally and fully made right; when hurting bodies are replaced with new ones more lovely than the human mind could ever fathom; and when the darkness of pain is forever chased away by the light of the very face of GOD in Christ Jesus when He returns in triumph.
So as you continue to pray for our sweet boy, please remember the many who suffer with far more difficult illnesses and lasting hurts. For we all need tangible hope for these tangible hurts.
May GOD give us His heart that we may feel what He feels. May He give us His eyes that we may see what He sees. May He give us the faith we lack that we might trust what He knows. And may we pray more fervently, that as we earnestly seek to offer tangible hope for tangible hurts in Jesus’ name, His Kingdom will be seen more each day.