Thursday, May 12, 2016

My Child's Trial, God's Story

by Danetta Kellar

My brothers and sisters, consider it nothing but joy when you fall into all sorts of trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect effect, so that you will be perfect and complete, not deficient in anything. -James 1:2-4

His lips were blue and he told me it felt like a truck was sitting on his chest. Whatever I had been doing before that moment was instantly forgotten as I leapt to my feet and called the doctor. Get him here now, the nurse told me. We tumbled into the car and raced to the emergency room. 

As my first-born son lay there on the hospital cot with electrodes and wires attached all over his body, my mother heart wanted to faint with fear. He looked so frail, this child of mine, the one who first made me a mother. 

This trial felt anything but joyful.

It was happening to my son, and it was beyond my control. I searched for an anchor to calm my anxious thoughts and the fear that was rising like a threatening tidal wave on the shores of my soul.

All I could do was give my child back, again.

Give him back to the One who sent him to me in answer to seven years of praying with tears, asking for a child. Give him back to the One who designed that small aortic valve at the top of his heart to open and close, open and close, open and close incessantly, day and night. 

Our children have always belonged to the One who gave them, but we forget that, especially when they face trials we cannot prevent.

Once again, I remembered with pain that he is not mine to hold on to, to grasp so tightly I cannot let God write His story in my son’s life. I would write it in my own hand, without trials.

But the trials God allows are carving God’s own character in my child and in me. They are writing my son’s story of faith. They will be stepping stones along the history of his walk with God. 

My child’s heart has a problem. A small difference in one valve has caused an obstruction that blocks the vital flow of blood to the rest of his body. 

He is calm and at peace. He understands surgery is coming soon. With the maturity of a grown man, he looked square at his doctor one day and asked him to describe exactly what type of materials would be used to repair his heart. We have never heard him complain or rage against God during this trial that has laid us so very low. He can often be heard encouraging us, his parents, that God is in control of his future.

I cannot keep my children from trials, though I long to.

Our brave boy survived the cardiac emergency that day, and for two long years now we have waited and watched. We are told his heart problem will require surgery soon. We live faith in six-month increments between those echocardiograms.

In the meantime something remarkable and magnificent is happening. We have identified another obstruction, one in our own hearts. It is the barrier we build with our own sparse wisdom, our own mortal understanding of what is best for our child, that strong resistance in each parent’s heart to allow any suffering in the life of one’s child. We would protect them from any shadow of pain. 

In anguish we block the flow of faith and trust, trying to control what we in fact, cannot.

We have wrestled and prayed. We have oscillated between fear and trust. We have cried, we have hoped. We are being changed, healed. 

Sometimes I lay on my face alone with God and groan deeper than words, prayers that cannot be spoken. Other times I march forward like the captain of this battle, advocating, researching, lining up information and preparedness like soldiers at the ready. I am a mighty warrior when my child is in danger. Then there are the days I peer into the unknown future and fear tempts to swallow me up in its darkness. 

We are learning endurance in this long test of faith. It is demonstrating to us God’s sufficiency, and we are watching as His story is being written in each of our hearts.

We are learning to walk and wait. Walk in faith, wait for God. Pray, pray, and pray again. He promises that we will not be deficient in anything. We choose, step by step, day by day, to believe Him.

Right now as I write I can hear the clicking of the Rubik’s Cube, my son’s favorite puzzle. He is trying to beat his own personal record of solving it in 35 seconds. In between Geometry problems, he practices. Click, click, click. And beneath it all, quietly, his heart beats on its own, held safely by the hands of the God who entrusted him to us so many years ago. 

We will trust, and keep walking in faith as we allow God’s story to be written in our son’s life and ours.

How have you endured trials in the lives of your loved ones? Share your story and help another heart endure today.


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