Many of my readers know that a month ago, our son Sam had a life-threatening allergic reaction, and we spent a few days in the ICU.
These things just happen every few years with Sam, who has asthma and multiple food allergies, and for awhile after we are on “high alert,” feeling like we live precariously on a cliff.
And then, slowly, the terror lifts. And life presses back in. And Normal returns.
Well, today, an ambulance pulled out in front of me. A simple thing, but the thought just struck me, as I watched the ambulance driving away, that I never planned or wanted to be one of THOSE MOMS – the moms who ride ambulances. We have been in there probably five times, with Sam. I am not complaining. I am just saying it.
And for just a moment, seeing the vehicle swerve through traffic and down the highway, I was jerked out of my Normal Day into that Other Day, a few weeks ago. It all came back.
Maybe some of you who have been in a real crisis can relate to this. As high strung as I can be, during the actual ordeal, I was very calm, and very collected.
It was not for twelve hours later, actually, until Sam was sleeping peacefully in the hospital bed next to me, and the room was quiet save for the beeping of a few monitors, and it was dark except for the glimmer of the hospital hallway under the door – when it really hit me.
What had happened. How scary it was. How awfully, horribly, close. For the first time all that frightening and horrible day – I finally cried.
I was relieved and grateful to see his little sleeping body peacefully curled up next to me, but I was also terrified. Just terrified.
How can we live with a child who is so severely allergic? How can we do it? It seemed so scary. Where was God? What was he doing? The load of Parenthood was pressing heavy. WHERE, WHERE WAS GOD IN ALL THIS? Had he forgotten about me, about Sam? Where was he in Sam’s life? Because in those moments, machines beeping and blinking and no one around me, it felt so lonely.
I can tell you something about that moment. The Lord Spoke To Me. It was so clear. He said to me ~
Jessica, I have not forgotten Sam, and I am with him.
See, I gave him you.
And like a veil was lifted, I saw again the events of the day. Only different. Clearer.
I had given Sam the epi pen.
I had called 911.
I told the medics he needed to go to the hospital, and go now.
I had prodded the (enragingly slow) EMTs to HURRY UP AND GET HIM IN THE AMBULANCE.
I had known the epi wasn’t working.
I had given him a second shot, on the way to the hospital.
Once there, I saw him getting worse.
And I yelled down the lazy ER corridors to please, come help.
And I had prayed, and I had fought for him.
I saved his life.
It sounds proud and embellished. But I am not proud, and I am not exaggerating. It was crystal clear, and I sobbed as I knew it – I was just what Sam needed. God was here, and He was working…in me. He hadn’t left Sam. He was watching over him.
He had sent me.
To be honest, it was as overwhelming as it was comforting. I didn’t ask for this responsibility, and I wasn’t sure I could really do it. (Through tears: Can I do this, God?)
But truthfully, I was doing it. It was happening. And I learned something that night in the ICU.
I learned that sometimes when it feels dark and we wonder where the light is, the Light is in us.
And sometimes when things feel bleak and we wonder where God is, He is in us.
It has taken me a month to convince myself that this isn’t as hokey and New Age-y as it sounds. I’m not saying we are God and God is everything. And of course, I am not a prophet – I don’t know your battle today.
But what I am saying is that when we are tempted to feel ask WHERE IS GOD, AND WHERE IS HIS GOODNESS – that perhaps the place he wants us to look…is a mirror.
Yes, a mirror.
- If people are rude and cruel, can we be the ones who can be God’s love?
- If children are needy and helpless, can we be the ones who comfort and help them?
- If the injustice and evil in the world seems oppressing, can we be the ones who are God’s light?
I could not help but think, as I read, about the refugee crisis happening all around us. It is awful, and we cringe and look away at the images of Syrian families, little babies getting bottles, children sweaty and fearful, crowding on buses…We get sinking stomachs at the picture of the little one, lifeless and drowned.
We feel sick and we don’t know WHERE IS GOD, AND WHY DOESN’T HE DO SOMETHING.
Friends, I believe that He did do something. HE MADE YOU, AND HE MADE ME.
He does care, and He sent us, His body with arms and legs and wealth and consciences.
Whether you are aching from a world away, or crouching over a sick child, it is not easy to be the Hope-giving, Life-saving one. To love like this hurts and costs, there is no question about it.
But we can do it, by the power of the One Who lost everything, for us. Who gave us hope when we had none, who saved our lives when we were as good as dead.
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich…And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” ~ taken from II Corinthians ch. 8-9, bold mine
To my friends in the Dark Places – You are not alone. May you feel his light and hope. And then, may you BE that light and hope. The world is waiting!
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