I’m humbled today after returning from the children’s hospital, seeing how many innocent aged people suffer from life threatening diseases is heartbreaking to say the least, gut-wrenchingly painful to say a bit more.
It’s hard enough answering the question of why God allows suffering, ask why He allows kids to suffer…well, I don’t know if the best theological seminary students could muddle their way through it, let alone the seasoned and experienced pastors who’ve seen it all.
Still, it’s what goes through my mind as I pass bed after bed surrounded by the worried parents of the children laying in them. Why God, why? Why must a child barely old enough to walk endure the pain as cancer ravages her body? What purpose does it serve a toddler to be forced to go under the knife to fix a heart broken since before birth?
My experience today was quite different from the one I had yesterday morning in church. You see, all I had to do was get through two worship songs and communion and then my boys would be sent off to Sunday school where they would be free to terrorize those wonderfully patient volunteers who give away their peace for mine, bless their hearts. Alas, I couldn’t do it. I should say my boys couldn’t do it. Crawling under and on the pew, playing tug of war with the offering, fighting over a scrap piece of paper that neither wanted but both had to have. During communion and the silent prayer that is supposed to precede it they were actually hitting each other and making such a ruckus that I almost, almost picked them both up and left. Just before that was about to happen the announcement finally came for the kids to be released at which point I was choking back tears and clinging to whatever dignity I had left.
Fast forward 24 hours and all I want to do is shower them in kisses, tell them that I love them. In church, the place where my cup is supposed to be filled, where peace reigns, where all I’m supposed to want to do is praise and worship the God that blessed me with those kids, in church all I could do was regret showing up that day.
Funny how perspectives change. After spending a day amongst sick kids the fact that my boys fight like cats and dogs and yet for some reason still hate the idea of being separated doesn’t bother me so much, I’m sure it will again in a few days but today it’s nothing short of endearing. Seeing how my older son actually looks up to his little brother brings a smile to my face and tears back to my eyes, this time they’re the joy kind.
I’m glad God is a Father that sees the past, present and future all at once. I’m glad He sees me when I’m being disobedient and when I’m being slightly better than disobedient. Our God is bigger than our problems and yet He cares about each and every little issue we deal with, and He cares so much for those kids suffering in the hospital.
I know it seems unfair sometimes, unjust always and yet my head tells my heart that God knows what’s going on and He isn’t unaware and He is still sovereign.
No explanation that I can give for childhood sickness and suffering can even begin to dull the pain endured by the kids or the parents that love them. I don’t know why it happens, I do know that God didn’t want it to happen, it was never His plan to watch any of His kids suffer let alone the most vulnerable and innocent ones. I do know that through that suffering comes some of the most wonderful things, the most amazingly compassionate people, the most generous givers, and some of the deepest connections you can make with another human being. Those things, those good things that happen during the bad things, are from God.
So, when I’m sitting in church feeling sorry for myself and the embarrassment my kids are causing me, God is still doing His thing and I just need to trust Him. He is putting people in my life who’ll notice where my struggles are and pray for me and my family (you know who you are) and I am so thankful for them and cannot imagine being on this journey without them. God has given me a partner to do this parenting thing with that both lifts me up and grounds me at the same time, she is beautiful and strong and smart and determined! God is good! Even when this world and it’s brokenness, is not.