healing comes with pain

We did too much on Sunday. Micah had been making such great strides towards recovery that we decided to brave church on Sunday morning. His teachers were so wonderful about giving him reminders to do things slowly and carefully, but I think I misjudged how hard it is on his little 4-year-old body to do even the simplest activities. He spent nearly all day yesterday on the couch recovering from too much activity over the weekend.

IMG_9662Watching your child hurt is never easy. Seeing the joy vanish from his smile as pain captures his expression breaks your heart in a way nothing else can. Watching an adult suffer is easier. Suffering yourself is easier. But when your child, who wholly depends on you to provide solutions for his hurt, questions if his suffering will be ending soon, it forces you to stop and consider carefully for the right answer.

Does he even get an answer to that question?

Before the doctors cut his belly open, Micah gave the impression of wholeness and vitality. He ran and climbed and laughed and ate like an olympic athlete. He had no discomfort that we know of, and he never exhibited any obvious symptoms of his internal defects. But his wellness was just a facade. His exuberance for life was just a mask for a broken and struggling body. Were it not for that one high definition ultrasound when he was 21 weeks in utero, the doctors may never had known his left kidney was struggling until it was too late. His kidney was formed defectively, though he seemed the picture of perfect health.

Praise God, the problem was identified, skillfully attended to, and is now healing beautifully. But now my son is living with pain. He walks like an 80 year old arthritic, he cradles his abdominal when he laughs, and he can’t sleep without a cocktail of prescription medications. He cannot climb, does not want to eat, and is much more emotionally raw. He is farther down the road to health than he’s ever been before, and yet he’s governed by the definite limitations of a body on the mend from major internal surgery. Wellness never felt so hurtful for him before.

Micah is the perfect illustration for the problem of humanity. Completely unaware of our ailments, we are born fundamentally deficient. We each have our beginnings from a place of lack, but feeling whole. Most have a sense that the world is wrong, but we settle for our situation; unable to address the real issues inside our own hearts. The very thing we need to be made right often feels like surgery. The broken and bloody Jesus on the cross is offensive, confrontational, and shockingly hard to swallow, but it is the process by which our hearts are offered healing. The cutting away of sinful habits often feels painful. The surrendering of our lives to Jesus can feel like loss. But it is the way of life; the way to wholeness.

IMG_9686Philippians 3:8 says “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.”

My darling boy Micah is getting better every day. His incision is mending, and his body is regaining strength. Perhaps eventually he will even be grateful for the work of his surgeon. But regardless of how hard it is to encourage him to rest now, to nurture his body with naps and good nutrition now, we are daily reminding Micah of the greater offer of wholeness he has in Jesus. Even more accurate than his urologist, is the Great Healer of our ailing hearts. The temporary fix done inside of his body may have bought him more time to run and jump in the future, but the miracle of life is given by Jesus. In Christ alone our broken lives are redeemed, our fractured dreams are reclaimed, and our wandering hearts are redirected.

Run to Jesus Micah Man, He will sustain you even when your body cannot.

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