I sat by my fourteen year old daughter’s bedside feeling helpless, hour after hour over the past 5 days. I tried warm compresses and then cold compresses. I tried the prescribed pain medications, elevating her head, rubbing her back – nothing would touch her pain. I called doctors, brought her in 3 times (once to the ER),and still, no relief, despite antibiotic changes and pain medication adaptations. Vomiting was added to her long list of symptoms, and finally, she was admitted for IV fluids and medications.
Severe Otitis Externa (AKA Swimmers Ear) was the diagnosis, with dehydration and gastritis to top it off. As far as she was concerned, her head was going to explode. I tried to reassure her that in my previous medical experience, I never once witnessed that. She was not convinced at the time. Now, she is home and feeling better, noggin intact.
The thing is – as hard as it is for me to endure suffering, it is nearly impossible for me to watch my children endure it. I wrestled with God through the long nights of her tossing and turning in pain, silently crying, “Seriously, Lord. I can believe that you bring beauty out of my pain – but hers? Do you really have to do it this way?”
And I found myself in the tension of faith between what I believe about God in my own life and clinging to believing it for my child. The rubber was hitting the road for me – the squeal was deafening and the smell nauseating. Was I going to believe that His promises are sure, even as I watched her moan in pain? Her illness was not life threatening – but to her, it felt like it was.
And, despite my pounding on the doors of heaven for an answer, I did not hear one. His silence only prompted me to make a choice. Would I choose to believe that His promises are sure or would I doubt His great love – even in her pain – His great love for my dear daughter? I chose to believe Him, even (again) when I could not understand.
But what about my daughter? Would she understand? How would she process God allowing her pain?
I am praying that the Lord God, Lover of her life, Father of her heart, will minister to her in places that I cannot. That in my inabilities and helplessness, He would comfort her, encourage her, and strengthen her in places that a cold compress or pain medication could not reach – the deepest, dearest places of her soul.
I’m trusting Him for that today – in or out of pain, that He is tending to her (and in truth, all of His beloved), for as hard as it may be for me to imagine, He loves her even more than I do, and is weaving every detail of her life perfectly for her.