Last night, as my son lay in his bed in pain, I snuggled close to him and tried to comfort him. I asked where the pain was; was it different or worse than usual; and how was he feeling. I offered words of compassion, and even a massage, hoping that something would calm the storm in his body.
My mind was filled with worry and the ‘worst case scenario’ kept creeping into my consciousness.
I knew there was nothing I could do that would help alleviate his pain, so just as I had done many nights before, I quietly lay beside him, and prayed.
You see, Michael suffers from chronic back pain, which is worsened by sports activities, but sometimes the pain rages in for no reason at all. Episodes of pain and weakness seem to overtake his little body at the most unusual of times, with no warning, and no explanation.
Doctors cannot diagnose his problem. Although he does have a nine degree angle in his spine, the doctor said this should not cause the pain that he experiences each and every day. They have no idea why his legs and arms occasionally feel weak and heavy, and there seems to be no obvious reason why he experiences these symptoms. Thus, he is written off as a patient seen, and his folder filed away.
But even though the medical practice has yet to figure out the problem, a mama just knows.
I do not want anything to be wrong, but I just feel in my heart that there is an underlying issue that has yet to be determined. So I will admit, that this mama’s heart is frustrated, and worried.
I have been praying for months for God to miraculously heal his little back. I have prayed fervently and persistently for God to take away his pain. I have prayed for the doctors to determine the problem. I have prayed for a medicine that would help alleviate the pain. But so far, the pain still exists, and the prayers go unanswered.
But last night, I found myself praying a different prayer. I felt like I was at the end of my rope. Frustrated. Anxious. Worried. Sad. Alone. Desperate.
It started out like any normal prayer, as I laid my hands across the aching parts of his spine. I prayed – “Lord, heal him. Take away his pain. Make him all better. Infuse your healing power into me, so that it can pierce my sons back through my fingertips. Fix whatever is wrong. I know one touch from you is all we need.”
I wanted his pain.
Without even thinking twice, I asked God to give me his pain. If God would just transfer his pain to me, I would be satisfied. Thrilled. Eternally grateful.
So I found myself asking for his pain. I sincerely wanted it, so I simply asked God to transfer it to my body, instead of his. I would rather suffer than him.
But as I prayed this prayer to my Lord, who I know holds the power to heal, I unexpectedly found myself defending my motives to Him as well – I am not trying to be a martyr; I do not mean to sound righteous; I do not think I know more than You; I am not looking for praise; its not about me, but him.
I simply want healing for my son. I want him to be able to enjoy playing sports, without pain; to be able to lay on the couch, without pain; to be have the ability to walk around a theme park, without pain; to be able to sleep, without pain; to be able to play and do his schoolwork, without trying to hide the pain he feels inside.
His happiness and freedom from suffering trumps everything, and Jesus feels the same way about His children.
Just as His heart broke for His people in biblical times, who lived in a perpetual state of sin and suffering, I believe His heart breaks for those who suffer today, regardless of the reason. I truly believe that He longs for our healing, in more ways than one.
In my Bible readings this week, I came across the verse in Luke 19:41-42a, which says,”As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace— .”
Jesus was so filled with sadness over His people, who had fallen so far away from His Word, that He wept. He was overwhelmed with sadness and grief for His children, and even though they were living lives contaminated with sin, He cried for them.
So I know Jesus sees my son….I know He sees his suffering….and I know He has the power to heal, if it is His will. I believe He has the power to transfer my sons pain onto me, if it is His will. I know He has the power to open my eyes to medical options that we have not even thought of yet, if it is His will – but I also know that He calls me to trust Him no matter what. And that IS His will.
No matter what, I know God calls me to have full faith in Him and His goodness.
No matter what, I know that Christ died for our sufferings.
No matter what, I know that Christ has compassion and weeps when we, or our loved ones, are in pain.
No matter what, I believe that our present sufferings can to be turned into His glory eventually, as it says in Romans 8:28.
No matter what, I realize that I need Jesus, and that my son needs Jesus, and that even in times of confusion and despair, I can use this time to develop a stronger dependence on Him.
I would still gladly lay down my life for my son, and gladly take his suffering on myself, but regardless of whether or not my prayers are answered in the way I would like, I will choose to trust in His love and His ways, no matter what.