Fear. Anxiety. Doubt. Disbelief. Not exactly favorable characteristics of a follower of Christ now are they? But the reality is, these are realistic familiarities for all of us as human beings, even as regenerated ones attempting to operate according to the mind of Christ. I had never known the disparity of deep-seeded fear and anxiety that I know now before I became a parent just over three years ago. Of course I had issues before but they were generally confined to myself, generally controllable on most levels. But now? Now I have a son. A beautiful, wonderful and incredibly precious son. The reality for him, today, is that he’s somewhat fragile, physically. He has extremely easily triggered bronchial flare-ups, anaphalactic food allergies as well as a newly-discovered allergic response to insect stings. Frantic administering of breathing treatments are far more common than I’d ever say I can properly handle. Sneezing and wheezing at even a touch from someone who came into recent contact with dairy products. The latest being a reaction out of nowhere after he ate a few bites of a “safe” granola bar and was possibly bit/stung by something outside. It can come at any time and we must be prepared for when it does.
I’ll never forget the morning he and I made pancakes and I ignorantly used a buttermilk mix. He ate the batter… he ate the pancakes that we made… he eventually turned blue as he struggled to breathe as we sped off to the ER. Even a hint of the memory brings tears to my eyes. “How in the world do we handle this?”, I often ask. To be embarrassingly transparent, there are times when his reactions are at their worst that I literally want to leave and simply let my wife handle it. It’s just too much. I freeze. Sometimes I even feel nauseous. I feel incapable of doing anything. Sometimes I get angry, as a follower of Christ, as one that relies upon faith and expectation for healing. My inner most places believe my Father holds my son capably in His hands but what my natural eyes see often seem to overrule and cloud my thinking, in the moment.
Yes, I know there are children living with terminal illnesses. Yes, I know that there are children with handicaps and mental illness. But this is my son. This is our life. I’m absolutely thankful that for the majority of the time our son is healthy and whole. I am grateful and I want to be clear that I’m not overlooking that fact.
So, yes, I am one of little faith. That is the ugly truth. I waiver, I fear. I wrestle between my natural thinking and the mind of Christ that I’ve been given. I’m flawed. I’m in desperate need of strength that I, in myself simply do not possess. So, where do I turn but to the Lord Who tells me that in my weakness He is made strong? As my wife and I always arrive at the same conclusion, what else is there for us to do but embrace this reality, pray and eagerly wait in expectation of a healing. Whether we see a change or not is the challenging thought. Will I waiver if my son spends the rest of his days with these physical challenges? If at the age of twelve, we’ve not seen changes, do I forsake my faith and abandon my expectations? Of course I cannot. As a follower of Christ, my response will not be limited to what my eyes cannot yet see. As the man in the Gospels told Jesus in regards to his son, “I believe… help my unbelief”. I do believe, I really do. But I’m also often riddled with unbelief.
So we forge ahead into the unknown future. Every experience with my son's health gives me yet another opportunity to stand spiritually strong in the moment, relying upon the strength of my Saviour. He alone can enable us to properly respond in our thinking and rightly assess our views upon whatever unfolds in these fragile lives that we’ve been given. Time and time again I’ve tasted and seen His miraculous healing, in me and in others. I rejoice that one day, we’ll all be freed from this fallen state. No longer will we be confined to bodies of corrupted flesh, freed to be healthy, whole and raised to new life eternal. Until then, I choose to instance-by-instance lay down my fears, my shortcomings, my unbelief. Lord you know my heart, help me. Help us all. We’re in desperate need of You.