It was about 4 A.M.
For the past few nights, every night, at midnight, labs would be drawn.
In the wee hours of the next day, the results would come back.
Her platelets had been dropping lower, lower, lower.
No one had to tell me what this could mean.
In a few hours, a bone marrow biopsy would be done to “rule out” leukemia as a source of why our girl was getting sicker and sicker.
Looking back, I realize the significance wasn’t in rather or not Bailey Grace had cancer; rather, the principle of the whole thing in my eyes was that here we were, in this place.
Here we were, after having her suffer for months with seizure, fever, vomiting.
Here we were, after going day after day and asking the Lord, “How long?”
Whether or not the flow came back with the dreaded C word- the fact that we were even having to go to this place felt intimately cruel to me- like a direct shot even.
Just too much.
“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”- Job 1:20-21
He tore his robe and shaved his head in grief- and then- he worshipped.
If you ever need help with recognizing the reality that God permits suffering in the lives of His children, look no further than Job.
The man had everything taken away from him, and while he mourned and questioned and hurt deeply; He did so in a posture of worship.
So there I was, sitting with (one of) my medically fragile little girls, a five year old child who has suffered more than many in first world America will ever know, faced with very-present circumstance of even a small chance of a secondary, life-threatening diagnosis.
If you have read On Milk and Honey- I might as well have been back on that cold bathroom floor, tears streaming down and heart aching with pain.
“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills His purpose for me…my soul is in the midst of lions..be exalted, O God, above the heavens!”- Psalm 57:2,4a,5a
Be exalted, O God.
I lifted my hands, turned on some praise music as low as the phone would go, and I let the tears flow as I preached the truth to my soul that God is good in ALL things. At ALL times. No matter what.
That afternoon, as we got the news that it wasn’t leukemia, and as the night unfolded all the details of the bacteria that was hiding out in Bailey Grace’s bone marrow, I confessed my disbelief that God knew exactly what He was doing. We went home a few days later with Bailey Grace acting better than she had in months.
A week later, insert back in fever, seizure, vomiting spells.
Another hospital admission, more unknowns, more prayers and decisions that aren’t concrete for even some of the smartest physicians there are.
Oh, how complex these bodies are.
“For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in Your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”- Psalm 139:13-16
Every one of them.
Oh that you would not get so caught up in filling in the blanks of the medical details here that you miss the God above all the things we don’t yet know or understand.
In the midst of an unknown outcome, we serve a Never-changing God who wrote every day of Bailey Grace’s life before yet one of them came to be.
“And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.”- Genesis 1:31
We are oh so tired of the circumstantial roller coaster. I am unbelievably weary from the ups and downs- from thinking, “Oh, she’s better” to spending the afternoon watching her absolutely not present and suffering.
I am beyond wanting to understand why- I just want to know what. Is this still infection? Is this just HECW2? When is the suffering going to end for her?
“For I will proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He.”- Deuteronomy 32:3,4
There is not just power in these words, but comfort in them as well.
His work is perfect.
His ways are just.
Point blank: He knows exactly what He is doing and why He is doing it.
What’s behind me reminds me that I can trust Him with whatever is next.
And maybe the Psalmist says it best:
I believe that I shall. (Psalm 27:13)
Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe never on this side of heaven… or maybe right around the corner? Only He knows.
God is God.
God is good.
God can be trusted.
To Him be all the glory.
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places.”- Habakkuk 3:16