Seven weeks ago. Our seventh child. Was seven weeks old.
He was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare childhood cancer of the eye. In order to protect him, his right eye had to be removed. These are some of the lessons I have learned so far on our journey:
1. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. (Psalms 23:4 NLT)
From the very beginning, my Father reminded me not to go where He didn't lead me. To not let worry overcome me and carry me places He didn't intend for me to go. There are a million what-if's that I am just not meant to know.
God didn't cause this or even INTEND for this. But it was lovingly sifted through His hand. He did not allow anything to come to us that He would not walk through with us. And He never, ever allows anything without bold intentions for my good and His glory.
2. ...Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. (Hebrews 6:18-19 NLT)
It's okay to be sad. My hope is secure and it is a strong and trustworthy anchor for my soul. But I have to be careful. Self-pity, and a host of others like it (all the D's: doubt, depression, discouragement), beckon me to come roll around in their mud rather than remaining in the pure water of the Word.
But PRAISE GOD. The blood of Christ and the Word of God have more power to cleanse than any of sin's power to stain.
So I flee to Him for refuge. And Jesus leads me into the inner sanctuary of God.
3. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NLT)
It is NOT lost on me, that the Elijah of the Bible was known as a SEER!!!!! An Old Testament prophet was given a supernatural ability to see into the things of God.
So I have prayed that any physical sight lost for Elijah would be returned 100 fold with spiritual sight. And that he would lead our family in this way of thinking and seeing. It is so easy to be wrapped up in what I can taste and touch and see. And while it is very right for me to be present among these things, the Lord has been trying to teach me for many years that "there is always more going on than what I can see."
Sometimes, it takes having something happen that just cannot be made right in this life, in order to become more fully alive to the next one.
I have always believed in heaven!!! But I have not longed for it in the same way before now. Until then, I want to be one who sees what is really going on. I want to see into the things of God.
4. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4:7-10, NLT)
This is not meaningless. And we were not entrusted with this story because we are so strong and amazing and gifted as story tellers. No. We were entrusted with this story because we are fragile jars of clay. Every crack and break leaves more room for the light of Christ to be shown. His power is made perfect in my....weakness. And pain gives way to empathy. It becomes like a huge blanket, knit together...a network of those who have suffered. I have more empathy than ever for those who are suffering. And that blanket, that network, flows from its head...OUR head. We have a Savior who suffered for us. And so I pray, that my brokenness will give way...that others might see the LIGHT of Christ in me. HE is worth beholding.
There are so many more lessons to learn....and I'm sure I'll have to learn even these over again. But my Teacher is strong, steadfast, and gentle. He teaches with patience and sympathy for my hurts.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.