Monday, October 18, 2010

A Week Later

One week ago, I was in the hospital with a potentially very sick little boy. Now I sit in a coffee shop while my mother-in-law takes my son for a walk in the cool October air. He's back to being a happy, healthy little boy.

But I am not the same man I was a week ago. This has been one of those experiences that changes people, that will stick in my mind as a significant chapter of my life. I'm still processing my thoughts and feelings, but here's where I'm coming from at the moment:

It is okay to get frustrated with God. This sounds almost sacrilegious, but I think God loves an honest question, even if it's a question of His character and goodness. From Abram to Job to Habakkuk to Jeremiah to David to Paul--and even Jesus--Godly people have been bringing their hurts and frustrations and struggles before God, questioning what He is doing in the midst of their pain. When we pretend like we aren't frustrated, when we shut those feelings down, we're denying God an opportunity to transform us in the midst of our pain. Let me be clear--it's okay to get frustrated, even for a long time, but to choose to remain in that doubt and frustration will ultimately lead to destruction. There is a progression in David's lament psalms, moving from frustration to a faithful joy. This past week, I had to move from being angry at God about my son to offering prayers of thankfulness for God's grace and every moment I have with him, whether or not God healed him. My faith is different now. Saying, "I trust you" to God means something far deeper when you are staring at your son's hurting body in the ICU.

When the church acts like how God meant for it, it is a beautiful expression of His love. We had so many people praying for us this past week that it broke me emotionally. People sending us notes, text messages, Facebook comments, emails, all offering love and prayer. A friend I haven't seen since the eighth grade sent me a Facebook message informing me that he'll be praying for my son. The church is filled with broken people, yet God's love shines through. We are so grateful for our church community, so blessed by all who love our family.

There are a lot of children who still need comfort. Copeland is better now. But there are still children in the ICU we occupied a week ago. There are still children in pain. Here's what gets me: my son is just one kid. Yes, he is ridiculously important to me. I'd give my life for him. Yet there are millions of children who don't have adequate health care, education, drinking water, or knowledge of Jesus. There are young girls trapped in the sex slave trade. What if the church chose to make a difference in those kids' lives too? What if all the people who were praying for our son also were praying for children living in poverty?

I am still processing it all. I may never fully know why we went through this trial. But I am thankful for a God who heals, who is with us in our pain, who brings us from suffering to hope.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a friend of the Staple's (Katie might remember my husband and I from Emanuel in Olympia) and came across your blog the day you posted about your son going to the hospital. I've been checking in to see what happened and praying for you guys! We've been down that road with medical stuff with one of our boys and it's scary. God just kept you guys on my heart. It's always encouraging to get a glimpse into how God uses these hard things to spur on growth. Hope he stays well! Thanks for sharing.
    Colleen LeRoy