There’s nothing quite like waiting for critical test results that gets you right with God. There’s that impending threat of disappointment, a test result that wasn’t quite right that leads to another test and yet another. Waiting for a report on your child’s health and never walking more than two feet from your phone can become the rule rather than the exception. There’s always that hope that this result will be different, that the blood work will show a sudden change in white blood cells that will be the start of a new trend. On the other hand, this could be the start of a trend in a whole other direction. I look at my phone praying it would ring but I find myself caught in a state of tension between the hope of good news and the dread of another disappointing blood draw for my daughter.
When you play this waiting game, there is not a lot of emotional energy left for other things in life like putting lipstick on or making small talk in the grocery store line because you are spent…. You are doing the only thing you can do now which is to take care of your family and play the dreaded waiting game. The worst part is the beginning of the process, where multiple diagnoses are thrown around and now you have to wait and see where the spinner will land. Once you have a diagnosis, then your role is to fully realize the cards you have been dealt and play your hand. You reflect on all the vices you have turned to in the past to get you through your current phase in the waiting game – whether it be chocolate, food, a sleeping pill, a hot bath, or to mindlessly immerse yourself in your Facebook newsfeed. However, none of them help to dull the ache so deep within the heart of a mother waiting to find out the status of her child’s health.
After hundreds of blood draws for my daughter, I have learned that there is one remedy to this problem that plagues our unique league of mothers. Our answer is that the very One that breathed life into our little one, therefore, gives hope to each one of us. Not everyone knows what it’s like to ache for your child who is in pain, but God knows even better than we do. As much as it pained him to see His only Son suffer upon a wooden cross, His love for us far exceeded the depths of His agony. Christ’s death and suffering was not futile. On the contrary, it was the one act that defined hope for all humanity for those who have faith in Him. With His Son’s last breath, God was able to breathe eternal life into each of us. So, suffice to say, the pain we feel for our children and those we hold close is not lost on Him. God had to bear the very brunt of that pain.
When we are at a point where we are forced to lean into Him for our strength, we find our true selves. When I went through the hardship of my daughter’s autoimmune disease, I tasted a closeness with God that I had never before experienced, because I came to a point where I had to lean on Him more than ever before. Fortunately, I realized I don’t have to be in the depths of despair to enjoy that closeness with Him, but I was actually designed to trust Him with everything I need, no matter how large or small. This closeness is actually the space He designed me to “live” in. I quickly found that there was more peace and joy in resting in Him than in ever trying rely on myself – not just in the big things but in all the small problems life presents. In this way, suffering is a gift that allows you to tap into the one thing we were made for. When tough times come, we realize we were never meant to bear the burden. We can’t hold on simply because it is too heavy.
And thus our training begins. We are trained to rely on Him, the creator of heaven, earth and every hair on our head, instead of relying on our own feeble selves. Suffering is awful but it has a silver lining that we can continue to watch into tomorrow’s sunrise only if we allow His Presence to fill us with joy by trusting in Him. God wants us to rest in His arms and to find our comfort in Him. Matthew 11:28-30 states, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” God’s “rest” is not to be reserved for life’s emergencies, but is to be embraced for everyday living.
We are so thankful my daughter’s Autoimmune Neutropenia is behind us. But now I find myself dreading a test result of a whole different nature. As I wait for the call, the feelings of anticipation are all too familiar as I find myself sitting at another game table. This time, the table is bigger and the stakes aren’t as high, but it’s still hard. Fortunately, now I realize I don’t have to carry this burden, simply because I can’t. Everyday life is too heavy for me to bear. He wants to carry it for me and I can experience joy in Him even in the midst of life’s hardships. I don’t always enjoy this waiting game but I am thankful to know I am on the winning team.
- What hardships are you going through right now…big or small?
- Which do you find yourself trusting God the most with? Why do you think that is?