This past weekend, my husband and I visited our dear niece whose child is in Riley Hospital for Children fighting encephalitis that originated in a cold sore. Yes. A cold sore.
It’s extremely rare.
And he’s two.
And she just had a baby two weeks before it all happened at the beginning of December.
When we first received the call on that frigid afternoon, we were unsure if he was going to make it at all.
We prayed harder than we’ve prayed in a long time along with several others who love this precious boy with the dimples that melt.
And now, 50-some odd days later, he’s still in the hospital.
His parents are exhausted. They miss their new baby but want to also be with their ailing son who needs supervision at all times. Doctors haven’t seen many cases like his, most treatments are experimental.
It’s like they’re trying to feel their way down a long, dark corridor that might go on for just a mile or possibly 500.
So as I leaned over his bed and prayed to my God that delivers and can do absolutely anything, I begged. And later as I stood over him, I begged some more.
After hearing his moans and watching his constant involuntary movements that kept him from sleeping, I felt it. Helpless.
So I continued to do the only thing I know to do when I feel helpless while I stroked his hair and spoke in a soothing voice and listened to his mama do the same and saw her pain that is incomparable to anything I have ever experienced.
We say our good-byes with big hugs and promise to keep on praying and leave feeling helpless yet again. “What can we do?” we wonder and yet, we both know.
We round the corridor, this man who is my pillar-on-this-earth and I, and we hear blood-curdling screams. A glimpse into another room reveals a young boy around the age of eight or nine, huddled in a corner screaming “No!” at the top of his lungs, surrounded by four adults.
My mind goes wild with what he could be saying “no” to – no more chemo, please? No, please don’t tell me I’m dying? No, I don’t want to be poked and prodded with another needle? No, I can’t do another round of treatment?
I am haunted and know that I have just witnessed an image I won’t ever forget.
We turn the corner again and I hear cries from almost every room. Some are babies. Some are toddlers. All are ailing and fighting and no, it’s really not fair.
And then something unexpected washes over me. I get really ticked off.
So I duck into the restroom and I just cry over the sink and raise my fists in the air and ask “WHY?”
“If you are a sovereign and all-powerful God, if you are filled with grace and mercy and love, then WHY ON EARTH DO YOU ALLOW THE SUFFERING OF THESE INNOCENT CHILDREN?”
Even as I ask, I know the answer.
I know His ways are not my ways. I know that I’m not supposed to try to judge God by my own pea-sized way of viewing the world but still. I do.
I tune Him out. I just stay mad for a bit. I really just don’t understand and I’m pouting.
I’ve heard those who don’t believe use this as a cornerstone argument – if our God is so powerful, why can’t He stop cancer in children? Why can’t He heal a child with bacterial meningitis?
And really, my answer is not one that would convert. I answer with the point of living in a fallen world, that we all have free-will, that His ways aren’t are ways, that He didn’t MAKE the bad stuff happen but He WILL redeem it somehow for good, and yes, I do believe it all.
And yes, I walk by faith not by sight.
But it’s so hard to rationalize when I see such suffering among those who should be playing Pee Wee Soccer or learning to walk.
So after shutting Him out for the rest of the day, I realize that I’ve been mad at my mom, too.
I’ve said things to her in anger I shouldn’t have. I’ve behaved like a child often. I’ve dismissed her advice when it seemed out-of-date.
Yet she meets me with grace every single time. She has never failed to grant me a whopping serving of mercy.
And God is my father. I’m going to get angry with Him and not understand what He does and doesn’t do and I’m just going to be ticked-off at Him once in a while. I will rejoice with Him, I’ll cry with Him and I’ll be worried with Him – so why wouldn’t I be mad at Him sometimes, too?
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and every day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, O LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,”
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
for he has been good to me.
– Psalm 13
So I seek truth and rest in His unfailing love. Even when I don’t understand.
Will you join me in praying for Andrea, Shaun, and their little boy? We are praying for complete restoration, for a reprieve for the weary parents, and improvement soon.
With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.– Matthew 19:26
Joining in with Jen for the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood…