“Why, Oh Lord!”
Have you ever prayed this prayer?
Shrouded by lamp-light, I rocked my three-month-old daughter and peered down at my phone. It was 3 AM. Another hour had passed, but she still couldn’t sleep. She was weak and wheezing, her eyes red with exhaustion. Her little body was fighting RSV.
She was tired and so was I. And so I thought to myself: How does God meet me here, right in this moment as a weary mom holding a weary baby? How does His love cradle me as I cradle her in my arms?
I mulled over this question in my mind and reminded myself of a few truths—truths that I know and yet am forever learning, truths that I pray you can cling to alongside me.
When your family is battling illness, here are three things to remember about God to get you through:
God is Sovereign
Tissues pile up. Cheeks flame red. The days seem long, and you wonder, “When will this end?” In the trenches of motherhood, especially when caring for sick kids, it’s easy to feel out of control. The truth is, we are. But we serve a God who is fully in control. God is sovereign over every cough and every upset tummy—every doctor visit and unexpected trip to the ER. There is nothing that happens in our day-to-day that is outside His control. Colossians 1:16–17 describes God’s sovereignty in this way: “For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth,
the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and by him all things hold together.” Nothing surprises God, for it is through Him that all things were created and are sustained. Therefore, when we wake up at 3 AM, hurting for our feverish babies, we can remember that God cares for our little ones just as He cares for the birds and the lilies (Matthew 6:26–30 ESV).
God is My Comforter
As we comfort our children, we must remember that we too have a Comforter. In fact, Psalm 46 describes God as our refuge and strength, a helper who is always found in times of trouble. As we are weary from another sleepless night, we must remember that our God is with us in every stumbling step to the crib. He has given us Christ Jesus to empathize with us, who felt human weakness like we do. He has given us His Word to treasure in our hearts so that we may be encouraged and strengthened. And He has given us the Holy Spirit, called the Comforter or Counselor, to teach us the things of God and remind us of His love (John 14:26). God is not simply a deity who observes our actions from afar, He is a God who comes close. He does not turn away from His weary child. He offers exactly what you need—peace that comes from Him (John 14:27).
God is My Heavenly Father
And finally, as you care for your littles, remember you are a mother with a good, good Father in heaven. God listens to you (1 John 5:14). He cares for you (Matthew 7:7–11). He leads you on the right path for His name’s sake (Psalm 23:3). He protects you and guides you (Psalm 23:4). He delights in you (Psalm 18:19). Therefore, bring your exhaustion and your weariness before His throne. Bring your joy before His throne. And be encouraged that He delights in you even more so than you delight in your littles.
He is your good Father, and He is also the good Father of your children. As crazy as it seems, God loves your kids more than you do. God’s care of your children is better than the care you could ever provide. Therefore, we can trust in His plan for our kids today and every day. Though He may lead them (and you) through a valley of hardship, He is with them—pursuing their hearts as He pursued yours. And through your tender care and love, He is teaching them a framework through which to understand His tender care and love.
I think back to that night; my daughter was sick with RSV and I was sick with worry. My heart ached for her. I longed for her body to be healed. I wished I could somehow take the sickness away from her. I wished I could be sick in her place.
And suddenly it hit me. Maybe this is how God felt, peering down at a world sick with sin.
His heart ached. He longed for sin to reign no more—for His Creation to be whole and joyful and thriving, as He created it to be.
As I longed for my baby to be healed, how much more did God long for the healing of His people?
And so God did what we wish we could do for our kids: He took the pain upon Himself. Jesus descended from heaven to take on the world’s sickness called sin—to bear its consequence upon His shoulders and heal the hearts of God’s people forevermore.
As we battle germs and sickness in our homes, as we wipe runny noses and hold fever-stricken children, we can ponder upon the love of God which is somehow infinitely stronger than the love we feel for our children.
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