“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents…”- Hebrews 11:8-9a, emphasis mine
Tomorrow will be the first time our girls have had surgery. In the morning, we will wake them up, and they will gleefully be excited as we enter their room and pick them up, not knowing where they are going. We will arrive at the hospital, check them in; and, like other procedures, I am sure one of my least favorite parts will be what I call, ‘the hand-off’. Those of you who have had a loved one go through something similar know the protocol. I will carry my babies- one, and then a little while later, the other- and follow a nurse to a red line right in front of the operating room. “Alright mom,” she will say, “we’ll take good care of her”. And then, my sweet child will look at me as I pass her to the nurse as if to say, “Hm…didn’t see that one coming. What now?” I will hold it together as the nurse carries Ally, then soon after, Bailey Grace, into the operating room; and then hot, big tears will fall down my face. This time, it feels even more painful, because when they come out of the surgery, they will have two new things: a feeding tube, and then a scar from which a muscle biopsy will be taken. I dread this part so very much; and a lot of that has to do with the fact that their dad and I are choosing pain for our children in order to give them what we think they need. In ways, though, it feels like we are leaving them stranded and alone.
“…we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered”.- Romans 8:36
A dear friend of mine has a child who passed away at a young age after battling cancer. Yesterday, we talked of this ‘hand-off’ moment, and she shared stories of how the verses in Romans always came to her mind when her son would be led back to the radiation room. Like a sheep to be slaughtered.
“…Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”- John 1:29
The Lord is not a stranger to watching His children to suffer; no. Jesus, His only Son, spent his years on earth for that very purpose: to be led to the slaughter and, ultimately, to die so that we might live.
As I picture the surgery tomorrow, my vision goes beyond the surface and I see what is truly happening:
God is the surgeon.
He is the One who is working on all of our hearts.
There is no concern of liability; hence, He desires to be seen as responsible for He is fully confident that the surgery He is performing is going to produce exactly what He intends it to.
He is honest with us that yes, there are going to be scars- yet, He ties a promise together with those scars: that not a single one of them does not have purpose and not a single one of them is in vain.
There is a vast difference in what Hugh and I will do tomorrow and what God does each day in the lives of His children.
As earthly parents, we pray and hope we are making the best choices for our children. Thankfully, God in His wisdom and infinite power assures us that He will use all things for His glory, and we rejoice in that.
Yet, to be God and to KNOW that each and every detail of the things that happen to your children are not only your doings; they are producing something that cannot be shaken.
And, as His children, we are promised that He is the Ultimate Parent- the Sovereign One over all things- what comfort this brings me on this eve of tomorrow!
Our girls will not be alone. Our God will absolutely never leave their side.
They need His presence infinitely more than they need mine.
He gives us confidence in His plans and His ways day by day, moment by moment. I am so thankful that in His mercy He leads us step by step. In this journey with our daughters, I am now positive that if God offered to, ‘turn on the light’ on the whole room of the life He has given me- all the details ahead in plain view- I would beg Him not to do so. I now know that I could not bear them all at once; and that I would not be able to enjoy a single one if I always had full view of tomorrow. Truly, the gift of the unknown is exactly that- a gift to be received with gratitude.
So, tomorrow, as I walk to that red line and pass my sweet souls to a group of people who I am trusting their little lives with, I want to be thankful for the blissful ignorance Ally and Bailey Grace will own. In ways, how would it benefit the girls if they knew what tomorrow holds? Turn that thought around to the person in the mirror: how would you benefit from knowing the details of the future?
Isn’t it blissful ignorance that often keeps us present? It is in absolutely living in this moment and trusting God for strength, peace, and His presence with whatever comes that we find true freedom. Having knowledge of what’s around the corner does not make us any more in control of it. Perceived control is not actually control at all.
Friends, God is our ever-present Help. He never leaves our side. He promises that He is with us- not just beside us, but with us- in all things. He can be trusted with the future. Where He leads, He will meet us. My prayer for you today is that you would be able to be ever-present in exactly where God has you. I pray you would not be fixated on the details of the future; and instead fix your eyes on the One who created all, see all, and knows all. Nothing surprises our God, and everything He does is good. May we all live TODAY in peace, with blissful ignorance about whatever tomorrow holds, trusting in an All-Knowing, All-Loving God.
The Sheep that was slaughtered was slaughtered so that you could be free for all eternity.
May we rest in that now and forevermore.
“I do not ask my cross to understand,
My way to see-
Better in darkness just to feel Your hand,
And follow thee.”- Streams in the Desert