(By Rykauna Parent)
I was sitting beside my mom on the couch reading the quarterly newsletter from our adoption agency and as I was reading through a list of waiting children, one seemed to pop right out of the page. “One and a half-year-old baby boy with a missing ear. Mom, he sounds perfect!”
“I dunno Rykauna, he sounds a little young for our family but I’ll pray on it.”
Who would have known that the one line description on a newsletter would come to be our Jadon? Our beloved brother, precious son? God knew. What a comforting thought!
We brought Jadon home with us from Vietnam in November of 2014, and he was hospitalized several times before they admitted him for cardiac surgery at SickKids in February 2015. Unfortunately, he suffered complication after complication which led to a year-long hospital stay. Since then he has had surgery six more times. This was obviously an incredibly difficult time in my life and one that still isn’t always easy to talk about. In 1 Peter 1:7 the Bible says: “So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” I’m not going to pretend to be an expert, but hopefully, my thoughts can help give insight into how you can be of use to God even in times of fierce trial.
See the Good
When you’re in a place of hurt and confusion, sometimes getting a “verse band-aid” from a complete stranger doesn’t feel very good. You know the Word of God is true and you know that God will one day redeem the situation, but it can be difficult to be gracious when an individual compares your suffering with the death of a pet. Going through trials can be a lesson in patience and seeing the good intentions of people, even if those good intentions hurt.
After having been on the receiving end of some “encouragement” that wasn’t very encouraging, I learned to be very cautious and aware when giving comfort to others. It’s totally okay to admit that you’re at a loss of words, and oftentimes, saying that’ll you’ll pray for the situation is the most meaningful thing you could say!
Sometimes Suffering Can Become a Crutch
We’ve all seen it; the 5th grader on crutches in the schoolyard who uses their broken leg as means of getting an extra piece of gum, or another turn on the tire swing.
I know we don’t talk about this much, but it’s far too easy for trials in our life to become crutches. Perhaps not something we use to justify our behaviors to others, but it certainly is easy to use it to justify things to ourselves. I’m ashamed to say this but as a fifteen-year-old, I used the trial in my life as an excuse for not doing homework, for not being on time for school, and worst of all for not reading God’s Word. It’s so easy to think to yourself, “No one else knows what I’m going through, no one else gets it.” But Jesus does.
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus
When I think back over the many months Jadon spent in the hospital, the first thing that comes to mind is the words of an old hymn:
’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know “Thus saith the Lord!”
Jesus, Jesus how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
Having a child in the hospital is incredibly difficult. I can’t even begin to fathom how people are able to handle the stress without the Lord in their lives. I can remember many a prayer meeting at the foot of Jadon’s crib, and all the many times we sang him Jesus Loves Me. The Bible says that “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20). It was in those moments of simply baring our hearts to God and pleading with Him to spare our brother’s life that the Lord gave us strength and peace in a situation that made us feel oh so weak.