Following up to yesterday's post...the little 5 year old "miss" and her parents are just beginning their journey. A road God has called them to walk, except for the days when they will barely feel like crawling, and the days He will give them the joy and peace to dance. Their path, named by the Oncologist...Cancer. I can only imagine the myriad of emotions. The questions, the uncertainty, the fear. No amount of faith, and their's is the mountain moving size, no amount of faith removes our humanness. We were created to feel, to love and to grieve, not be immune. We are called to "cast our cares on Him" not cast them aside. We also know that "God has plans for us...prospering plans, not harmful plans" so how on earth do we reconcile cancer and a 5 year old?
The Sacrificial Life...do we get it?
And if we did, would we be willing?
Would we still choose it, choose Him if we knew what might lie ahead?
Is He worth it only to a point and will we turn back given something as extreme as the life of our child? Or is He really who He says he is, loving and "for" us, no matter what the circumstances look like? And what if what He says is true, that this life is just a minute in time, compared to eternity?
What on earth could God be planning to accomplish that justifies the toll that chemotherapy will take on a body that still requires a car seat?
Admittedly today, I only have questions...lots of them and no answers. Lucky for all of us, God trusts me with an inquiring mind only and no responsibility to figure His stuff out.
We could drown in what ifs. Except that what if's bring so much hope. So this morning before my eyes even knew if it was day or still night, and I began praying, my pleas went from the family to so many possible what ifs.
What if this mother's devastation brings an answer to another mother's prayer? What if the nurse's mom has been on her knees for years praying that someone would cross her daughter's path that could speak what she has been begging God for all these years?
What if two weeks of kindergarten has endeared an entire school full of children, parents and teachers to this sweet child so that in following her illness and recovery they all get to watch God work first hand?
What if watching these parents faithfully carry their child through the torture of treatment is the final witness to a family member that has questioned and wondered who God really is?
What if the parents of the child in the next bed, hear and see the troops of friends and church family earnestly praying and encouraging this family in a way that they see the real hope of God? What if they say "we want that peace and hope for our family and the strength you have for our child?"
What if some guy somewhere has been watching this pastor, this leader, who has been so gifted by God, and thinking "well, ya, you can serve and follow a God that has given you so much success, but what now?" and he witnesses first hand, how loving God has nothing to do with how well things look like they are going?
So what if all those things happen as a result? What if it was all that and so much more, that we can't even imagine how many things were accomplished?
Would we be in it for all that? If we knew, could get all the reports and updates? If everytime, we held that tiny hand through another round of chemo, we would be hearing about all the lives that were changed through our family's tragedy? Would we say yes, I'm in, ok? Lives are changed, she gets better and on we go.
What if we knew about only one man. Some sort of hopeless, grouchy, ex-con kind of angry, selfish, guy with a past we wouldn't even want to read about? What if that was the guy our child's suffering would change?
What if the Sacrificial Life we say we believe in and are committed to meant really sacrificing, giving up something so precious, we'd rather die ourselves than live without it or...her?
What if the "greater love" we claim to know, that suggests "we lay down our life for a friend", actually looks like laying down our comfort, security, or the health of a child...then what? Am I still in? Do I still believe Him? Not just IN Him, but believe Him, that he knows best, that he is accomplishing His will, that "all things do work together for good"? Or is my commitment conditional...as long as things are pretty much ok, pretty much most of the time.
Here's the rub, we don't get to choose what happens, just how we respond. This little Miss didn't raise her hand and volunteer for God to use her to accomplish his will. Her parents didn't sign up for such a sacrifice, clearly it would have been their own names on the list, not their baby. We don't get to choose the circumstance, we GET to choose to stay in, plant our feet in cement and call it faith, refuse to think anything other than He KNOW WHAT HE IS DOING.
There's only One who volunteered His child's suffering and death for the most wretched among us, or in us. Only one who chose it...to watch His son's body be broken for the sake of the unworthy.
Chose it, both of them. A child's body beaten, a parent suffering.
Just to give us the chance to understand what real love is, who real love is.
The sacrifical life...we cringe at giving up so much less, its embarrassing. At times, we give up some of the questionable or forbidden and call that sacrifice. Sometimes, we make a meal for someone, hand over $5 or $10 to a cause or a mom standing on the corner and think sacrifice. We give up an hour to comfort a friend, help someone with a project, work in a Sunday School class. Loving, giving, serving...yes...sacrifice? "Take up your cross and follow", sacrifice? "Sell all your belongings and come with Me", sacrifice? Does it hurt, sacrifice?
Use my life in whatever way you desire, Lord, sacrifice? I'm in, sacrifice? Whatever the cost, sacrifice? "I'm sacred to death", sacrifice?
I think we probably kind of get it...but maybe not really at all.
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