Thursday, January 19, 2012

You Always Have to Trust God, Mommy!

We're driving in snow, late for a physical therapy appointment and I'm angry for the first time since Beth's diagnosis. A nasty flare started two days into her new medication. Did the doctor prepare me for this possibility? No. She said nothing about any changes we might experience. So I naturally assumed a smooth transition, punctuated by my daughter eating better. She is eating better.

It took all of us to get her walking today. When she could finally put weight on her legs, her gait looked scary, with one leg swinging around straight, as though wooden. 

I'm angry, God, and I don't want to be...not after reading this:

Upon reaching Darwin’s house, I found three children sleeping in a small room with no windows or doors. The youngest was in the best spot, an old and dirty baby carriage; his 6-year-old brother was on top of him. I heard the cry of a child alongside his brothers. He was lying on the dirt floor among wet stones. It was Darwin. He was using dirty clothes as a pillow and was crying from pain and cold.

When I saw him I felt his pain, poverty and distress. I couldn’t contain myself and I cried. At that moment I felt the pain of a mother, sister and daughter. It was the Holy Spirit who grieved at the scene.

Courtesy of Compassion International: 

My child suffers; her face advertises pain. But is her pain the result of a world who bought Starbucks lattes, instead of helping the poor? Is she in pain because no one cared enough? (Some don't even realize abject poverty exists. That's why I write Compassion posts).

Some pain screams for anger. But not the pain of arthritis. I have no right.

My thoughts toss wild the whole drive to therapy. While there, I notice the therapist's ring finger for the first time. Probably around thirty-two years old, the mom of two young boys, she sports no wedding ring. A single mom. I marvel. No faith and no husband. How hard is her life?

How long had it been since I'd prayed for Bea? Too long. Lost in the world of a special-needs child, I'd forgotten. 

Which sounds live with the pain of arthritis for perhaps a decade or longer, or to spend eternity in hell? Beth will most likely go to heaven. But Bea? Where will she go

I'd been reminded during the Book of Revelation sermons. Hell doesn't mean horrible punishment, followed by death. It's eternal suffering; we are eternal beings, all of us. The question is...where will we spend eternity?

My anger melted right there. God wants souls won. He wants to save every person from eternal suffering. As Bea charmed my daughter into painful exercises, the main thing slapped me in the face. 

Later, driving to AWANA, the van sputters. Looking down at the panel, I notice the gas level. Beyond empty. We've got a problem. 

I enlist prayers and we all begin chanting our own versions of: God, please save us!

The engine gives out. My meandering thoughts to and from therapy? They kept me from noticing the gas level.

Roughly 10 degrees outside. Snowing. 5:45 pm. Husband not due home for 75 minutes. I drive past the AWANA church, knowing a gas station looms ahead.

Why didn't you drop us off, first?

I might need your help if we run out of gas.

You mean to push the van?

Um, no. To comfort Beth.

When the engine gave out, we'd just reached the top of a hill. I coast down, marveling at my Heavenly Father. Turning into the gas station, the steering wheel tightens. And the breaks? Barely working. Does the entire car stop working with no gas? I don't recall ever running out before--at least not while in the driver's seat.

We don't make it to the pump. I get out and try to push, to no avail. Peter's nerves give out some. Getting back in, I turn the key to off, and then try starting it again. Bingo. Just enough to park myself crooked, but sort of adjacent to the pump.

The older three make it to AWANA six minutes late, after much cheering. 

God, you are awesome! We love you! Thank you! You saved us!

Mary: You always have to trust God, Mommy!

I'll fall asleep fine tonight, thanks to the comforting wisdom of a five-year-old. I still don't like arthritis or a doctor who leaves me hanging. 

But God's purposes? They're not hard to understand. Every person. With Him. In Paradise.

That's why a young boy in Lima cries from pain and cold and uses dirty clothes as a pillow. That's why my daughter suffers pain and stiffness and needs to see Bea every week. 

Pain highlights His power and glory. He works wonders through pain. We're a distracted world, unable to see. But He sees and He knows. He saves, in spite of us.


Sandra Heska King said...

Oh my, Christine. What a heart of compassion you have. I have no words here. Really. But such a deep ache for Beth. And Darwin. And Bea. What a beautiful, heart-wrenching, faith-building post.

And this. "You always have to trust God, Mommy."

And sometimes, that's all we have.

Christine said...

Thank you, Sandra. So many times, that's exactly right. It's all we have. I appreciate your visit!