Monday, September 10, 2012

God of the Unseen

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
~ Psalm 139:14-16, NIV ~

Today marks the first day of National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.  Founded in 2001 by our friends at Rest Ministries, this annual observance seeks to build awareness and compassion for the millions who suffer without any outward sign.  Given that Rest Ministries estimates 1 in 2 people have some sort of invisible chronic condition ranging from autism to migraines to rheumatoid arthritis, we ought to be giving thanks during a week like this that our God is the God of the unseen.

I think of all the times I have given praise over these past 12 years that one of the names of God, which is revealed in the book of Genesis, is El Roi or "God Who Sees."  Too many times over these years we have been subject to the harsh judgment of others, with no visible signs of our son's hemophilia or subsequent anxiety disorder.  Somehow, people think that if they are unable to see something, it cannot be life-threatening.  Hurtful comments are made with disdain, implying that you are "making a big deal out of nothing" or "being overly dramatic" about the severity of diagnosis.  Despite explanation and even hospitalization, those not living with such challenges often refuse to accept that the most dangerous bleeding episodes our son has endured cannot be seen with the naked eye.  

The same is true of our daughter's severe allergies, severe ADHD, sensory processing disorder and social deficits.  Since people cannot see with their eyes that there is a serious diagnosis, they suggest that "if you just lay down the law with that kid" or "stop trying to excuse her behavior," it will all just get better and go away.  They do not see the hours and hours that are poured into desensitizing, adapting and retraining a child like this, who cannot take medications for these life-long challenges.  They do not see the tears flow from her eyes as she demeans herself, wishing she were "better" or "a good kid."  It's enough to break a parent's hear every day.

But thank God, He sees!  None of those tears are shed in vain.  While the world can leave us second guessing ourselves, God gives us blessed assurance to guide us through the daily living.  He sees every protein in the blood that is not there.  He sees the neuropathways that are not formed in the typical fashion.  And He has the power to use them for our good and His glory.

Ultimately, for those who will hear God's voice, our "invisible" trials are a conduit to connect to an Eternal Hope.  For those with hardened hearts, people like us are cast aside.  Fortunately, as awareness is built, those individuals are the exception more than the rule.  For those who are more pliable, our lives are a vibrant witness to the fact that when the world thinks life should be worthless, there can be joy beyond human explanation.  The God Who Sees is there to hold our hand through all of the ignorance and unkind words, making us instead people of great value and bearers of His image.  Our lives are worth living.  We gratefully live well and with a much deeper perspective.

Knowing that this awesome God gives us purpose in our challenges, gives me strength enough for each new day.  And I have the privilege of imparting this hope-filled promise to my precious children who fight difficult invisible battles.  Thank You, El Roi, for walking through this all with us, and for making the seemingly ugly parts of life beautiful!

PRAY:  Oh, God, may we always be found to advocate for our brothers and sisters who endure chronic illnesses that no one can see on the outside.  By the power of Your Holy Spirit, may we have the right words in our mouths to soften hearts and change minds.  Thank You, for seeing and understanding when others do not.  You alone are our hope!

No comments:

Post a Comment