Do you know how much that you, the readers of this daily blog, encourage my heart? You rejoice with me when I’m showered with good gifts and you weep with me when I weep. You are a dear community of like-hearted sisters and I’m so very grateful for you!
When I shared with you that our little Adalynn was hospitalized (twice!) after her birth—you took to the prayer closets and bowed the knee to intercede for our family. Thank you for that outpouring of intercession. Her condition wasn’t as serious as most of the babies who surrounded us on that hospital floor—but she needed your prayers.
I’m going to avoid getting too medical here (and I couldn’t because I certainly don’t understand it all), but some of you have asked what was going on with little Adalynn. If you’ve nursed a baby, you’re probably familiar with the common problem of high bilirubin levels that can cause jaundice. Adalynn’s levels were way too high as a result of an incompatibility with her momma’s blood type and hers, combined with nursing. At first, we had concerns for her liver function, but thankfully, although her levels kept rising, tests showed it wasn’t a liver function problem.
Although her levels still aren’t where they need to be, she’s improving and able to be at home. We are so grateful for that!
Today we’re returning to the Children’s hospital (as an outpatient) for an ultrasound. Adalynn has a hard, pea-size, cyst (or something) in her neck that they’re looking at. It is most likely benign and the doctors have assured us that this is probably something that can be removed easily (through surgery) in a couple of months, but we’ll know more after the results from today.
Our hospital stays were mild in comparison to what so many young families deal with, but whenever you hold a newborn who is obviously ill and struggling in her early days of life, it is a wake-up call and reminder that we should never take health for granted.
Hospital stays are also a reminder of why Jesus came as our rescuer.
Do you remember what I shared with you that God kept impressing on me last year?
If I am truly committed to God’s glory—no matter what—then I will fully embrace every affliction He appoints for me.
I didn’t suffer the physical pain of multiple needle pricks and squeezing of my heel to get enough blood flow for lab draws throughout the hospital stay, but holding our little one as she was afflicted was terribly hard. At one excruciating session where nurses weren’t able to get the IV started (after three different nurses tried!), out of the corner of my eye I could see my precious daughter-in-law wiping away tears.
None of us wanted this sweet baby to be stuck (over and over again). None of us wanted her hooked up to an IV, held for hours in a small toaster oven (an incubator for photo light therapy). None of us would’ve chosen that hospital room for her nursery in the first weeks of life. But, we allowed those afflictions because they were for her good.
Her painful afflictions provided what was necessary for her health and for her to thrive as a newborn.
How the Father must suffer as He appoints those afflictions that He knows will bring the necessary pain for our growth and sanctification. How He must sorrow over the loss of our first condition—when He placed His first couple in His perfect garden in perfect health and freedom from all suffering. But that first condition was lost. And with that loss has come every needle prick, affliction, and pain.
Just a few weeks ago, I posted the challenging question of “Why do bad things happen?” on the blog. This is an excerpt from that post:
Bad things happen because we are still trapped in the groaning. For those who are “in Christ” we have a heavenly position, an eternal hope, and a future glory—we’ve been set free and given victory over death. But today our bodies are still stuck in this “wasting away.” Our hearts are still tied to the “seen.” And the “seen” is filled with the pain and consequences of a rotting world. A world invaded by death when sin entered its realm.
This is not my home.
We are all groaning under a weight we were never made to bear. We are living in foreign territory. We are strangers here in this world of sorrow and corruption.
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body (Romans 8:22–23).
We are all hurting, groaning, decaying, due to our precipitous fall; our disrobing of glory; our entrance into the death journey. Infection invades healthy bodies. Cancer takes those we love most. Infidelity breaks the most sacred of vows. Hurting people hurt others—thus a continual cycle of hurt.
But that is NOT the end of the story. If this is all there is, then we are to be most pitied. If there is no purpose in the pain, then we might as well give up.
But there is purpose and there is more.
Pain and suffering do not last forever. Death does not have the last word.
[box]For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:21–22).[/box]
For those of us who are “in Christ” we are no longer under the condemnation of the death sentence. This life is the temporary before we move into the eternal life that completely releases us from death. Because Jesus came to do battle with death—and He put death to death through death!
[box]For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling . . . For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened . . . so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (2 Corinthians 5:1–4)[/box]
My only answer to the “Why?” question is to respond with a “Why?” question.
Why did God rescue us when we didn’t deserve rescue?
Why did God send His only Son, Jesus Christ, to endure an inhumane and brutal death to conquer death?
Why did God provide a way—The only Way—out of the groaning?
For love. As I watch the loved one dying, or walk with a friend through the horrors of terminal illness, or hear another story of betrayal, I know that this is not the end of the story. Love has provided the way of escape from the realm of groaning. Love has provided life from death. Love poured out on the cross has put to death—death.
[box]“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).[/box]
And that is the solution when bad things happen. One day—how I long for that day—there will be no more days of “bad things” for those who are “in Christ.”
The afflictions little Adalynn has experienced in her few days of life have been a reminder that this is a place of suffering. With new life comes new sorrows and new afflictions. But within each affliction is the reminder of the reason for that affliction, the fall of mankind, and not only the reason for the affliction but the remedy for the affliction—the cross.
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for bearing our afflictions in Your own body and for being the One who will return one day to set us eternally free from every affliction and sorrow. To You alone belongs all praise and worship! Let us worship You today for Your abundant mercies.
Are you facing an affliction that we can join you in asking God to work?