Yesterday my youngest little guy, Ben, age 23 months, was so sick. High fever, listless, clingy.
I took him to the doctor, and he determined Ben needed some heavy-duty antibiotic shots. These shots are some of the most painful ones a kid can get, from what I understand (and remember from my oldest son having to get them years ago). Ben had to get one in each leg and then has to get follow-up ones on the following two days.
When I laid his tired, sick little body down on the exam table to get the shots, a look of terror radiated from his face. “Mommy!” he cried. There was nothing in his toddler being that understood why I would lay him down and let the nurses inflict that pain on him.
Afterwards, he clung to me even tighter. He laid his head on my shoulder. He let me kiss on him. He trusted me and turned to me…even though I was the one who ultimately ordained the pain for him.
Ben didn’t understand what had happened or why his legs burned. He didn’t understand why I had been a part of the pain he experienced. But, he still trusted me. He knew I loved him and that I was the one who could help him.
Rewind to about four years ago this month…
My oldest son, Jack, was extremely ill at age 20 months. This wasn’t some ear infection, though. He had just been diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. He was losing weight, couldn’t walk due to Crohn’s-induced arthritis, had almost constant diarrhea with blood. It was a nightmare. It all came out of nowhere. We had never even heard of this autoimmune disease.
I remember thinking, “How can God allow this happen to a little child?” and “Where is God in all this?” I knew the correct answers to these questions from a strictly theological, Biblical perspective, but I had never wrestled with them personally.
I knew in some way our good, loving, Sovereign God had allowed–no, even ordained–this pain in our family’s life. He was laying Jack and me and my husband on the exam table, like I did with Ben. We all had the look of terror in our eyes. The question at that time was would we cling to God in spite of the pain? Would we trust Him, even though we didn’t understand any of it?
Trusting God through our son’s diagnosis and disease has been a process and still is for us. Times of deep pain, sickness, and sorrow is when our faith is most exposed and most tried, and ours certainly has been. But, how can a small human being like me begin to fathom the plan that the God of the Universe has for me or my son in a moment like that?
Just as Ben looked to me, clung to me, trusted me, and let me kiss him…I want to have the faith of a child when I undergo pain and hardship. Even though I may not understand it, I want to cling to our God who is ultimately in control–knowing that He is working all things for the good of those who love Him. That He is testing my faith that I may persevere to the end. That He loves my son more than I do. That one day He will make everything sad come untrue, and that everything will be even better because of the sadness we once endured.