A couple months ago I preached a sermon entitled "Trusting God Through the Hardships of Life." It was focused on Job 13:15 and the life of Job. I have walked through some tough situations and walked alongside many as they go through the hardships of life. Job states in 13:15 "though He slay me, I will trust in Him." What an example for us! I shared with my church that we must trust God through whatever situation we encounter because He is in control. I have never really struggled with enacting this principle in my life (at least since I have known Jesus), but I had never faced some of the tougher hardships of life personally as many others do each day. I was reminded of this last week.
This past week I went to www.desiringgod.org, the website for the ministry of John Piper. I had not visited the site in a few weeks and the first thing I noticed was an announcement about John Piper being diagnosed with prostate cancer. I read it and was unable to finish it without having tears run from my eyes. I was astonished with how fully John Piper is trusting God through his current hardship in life and the example that he is setting. The thought that came to my mind was that I hope I will do the same if I ever find myself in those shoes.
I do not find myself in shoes like those of John Piper or Job, but over the past two days I have found myself facing the toughest hardship I have ever faced in my life. It is a crazy mix of emotions for both Christa and I as we have been greatly blessed with a beautiful baby girl, but have found in her what very well may be the greatest lesson of our lives. We must trust God and not lean on our own strength, our own understanding, or anyone else's. The reason for this is that our beautiful girl was born and we have learned that she has suffered from Amniotic Band Syndrome. Her right forearm and hand are maldeveloped and we do not know what will be able to be done. She is truly beautiful and is very healthy. She is a great baby who eats and goes to sleep without a fuss!
Christa and I find ourselves in a great hardship of life. We have a beautiful baby girl who we could not possibly love any more than we do and we find ourselves helpless. Mom and dad cannot protect her from this. Mom and dad cannot fix it and make it better. As Christa's mom has said, I am a fix-it man and I cannot fix it. We cannot protect her from this. It is out of our hands. We can only take her to doctors and see what they can do. While there is promise because K's forearm and hand do have some bone structure and there is good circulation, there is the anticipation that she will never have a normal functioning right arm and hand (these are the assumptions of an ignorant parent). For parents who love their child the pain that is felt cannot be expressed. In many ways we do not know how to deal with the pain, emotions, fears, and everything else that comes with this situation. Probably the toughest aspect for both Christa and I to handle is the uncertainty in which we find ourselves. There is a great fear of what we do not know. Our lives have been turned upside down.
So, we find ourselves facing uncertainty and falling on our faces in prayer. We cry with joy and thanksgiving while we also cry from heartache for our baby and fear. Our trust is placed in Jesus. Only He is sovereign. Only He can give us what we need. Only He can protect K from this cruel world. Only He can give the doctors the ability to help with her arm and hand. Only God. In Him we place our trust as we once again have found out that we are truly inadequate. We know He does have a sovereign plan that works together for the good of those who love Him. What we must do is learn what God wants us to learn. We must look to His purpose rather than our worldly desires. John Piper said in regard to his cancer:
"This news has, of course, been good for me. The most dangerous thing in the world is the sin of self-reliance and the stupor of worldliness. The news of cancer has a wonderfully blasting effect on both. I thank God for that. The times with Christ in these days have been unusually sweet."
Everything happens for a purpose and for the good of those who love Him. Our trust, hope, and faith are placed in this. While we do not understand why things happen the way they do, we are thankful for them. We could not love our K any more and we are so thankful that the Lord has entrusted her to us for the purpose of raising her in the truth and ways of our Lord and Savior. While I look at her and watch her peacfully sleep I know that in ways she will teach Christa and I more than we will ever be able to teach her. What a precious gift she is! As I look at her it rings true that in these times with Christ in these days have been unusually sweet in regard to our self-reliance and the stupor of our worldliness.
Please be in prayer for our family as we seek the Lord's will and seek to walk through this hardship in faith. It is not easy, but we know He will lead, guide and provide every step of the way.
In Christ Jesus,