Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I'll Follow You Anywhere, Lord... Except There

But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish... ~ Jonah 1:3

It's easy to be a Christian and say "yes" to Jesus... except when it's not.  When we are between crises with our precious kids, we may seem resolute that we would walk into any difficulty God calls us to with inner peace and acceptance.  But then we stare down the barrel of that potential crisis and we find ourselves pleading, "No, God.  Not this!"  The continuing and subsequent trials we parents of children with special needs are challenged with can make the decision to trust and obey a daily issue.
Let me describe what I mean with more vivid examples.  How many of us parents have begun the special needs journey seeking diagnoses and received a label of ADHD?  While we may cry with the news, we begin to think to ourselves, Okay, I can handle this.  At least it's not (fill in the blank).  As we find ourselves walking the journey further with that child, we find that treatment for ADHD isn't quite capturing all that we see going on.  We visit doctors or therapists for more help, and other diagnoses emerge.  The professionals examining our child may even hint at things like autism, bipolar disorder or Tourette's.  As we await a decisive determination, we can find ourselves thinking, Please God, don't let it be (fill in the blank).  While that new label can bring additional help, we find ourselves grieving afresh at a sorrow we never wanted to face.

I've seen it countless times in our bleeding disorders community as well.  As I have made eye contact with the most life-threatening of bleeding episodes, I have thought, "Please, God.  Don't let this be a GI bleed.  I have to be imagining things.  This just can't be," or "I'm probably worrying about nothing.  This isn't what an ileopsoas bleed is supposed to look like.  Oh, God, please don't let that be what this is."  In both of those situations, I have ended up in the hospital with our son, the worst imaginable diagnosis coming true.  Others I am close to have faced the same.  There is an autoimmune response some guys with hemophilia develop, called inhibitors, which renders their life-saving clotting factor almost useless.  This too is a "Let this cup pass from me," type of discovery.

Whatever the dreaded outcome, we look much like the disobedient Jonah when we refuse to face it.  This man was a fool with an attitude problem.  He thought he could run from God.  He thought he could hide from God.  Yet, he found himself finding out who is really boss in the disgusting stomach of a fish.  When he was finally ready to surrender and face the task that God had called him to, he was regurgitated onto a beach.  

We need not face such wrestling with the Lord if we remember that where God calls, God equips.  On our own, we are not able to face such heartaches with the ones we love.  There is no human strength that can adequately steel us to watch our offspring struggle and suffer.  Yet, as we experience the Lord in our daily lives over time, we come to realize that He hasn't abandoned us in the past, and He won't abandon us in any new trial we face.

This is not to say that we should not face a crisis with tears or without the need for encouragement.  We would be cold and out of our minds if we had no emotional response to such things.  What it does mean, however, is that we can be in the midst of swirling turmoil and find peace and rest in knowing that God will walk through it all holding us tight.  His strength and tender love will be enough to see us through.

PRAY:  For today's prayer, I leave you with the music and encouragement of Ginny Owens...

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