Hospice Doesn't Mean Giving Up
Again, I acknowledged the terrible emotional ride that dad was going through. There is nothing worse than parents who are facing the "unnatural" or "unjust" act of burying their child. There is no good reason why an 8 year old boy has to die from cancer.
This is the hardest time to pray, "thy will be done." Dad told me that he was trying so hard to figure out the reason why David had to suffer as he has over the past two years. He was looking at everything that was going on to see what God's purpose was, what good was going to come out of this tragedy.
I didn't say anything for about 8 seconds. I wanted to be sure he wanted me to say something. He looked at me, expecting a comment, I said, "For one thing, David, even in his youth, is teaching us to suffer as he faces death. There isn't much comfort there, but, he will always be an inspiration to you and your family the next time you face something terrible..."
He interrupted me, in quivering voice with tears welling up in his eyes, he proudly said, "Oh my God, I can't believe what he has faced in the last couple of years," then he turned to look at David lying in a fetal position in bed, and continued, "the needles, the treatments, the hair loss, the pain, the stares from people, and on and on... what a trooper! I can face anything that comes my way and it'll be easier than what he has suffered."
I waited a few moments and then said, "Another amazing thing that comes out of such terrible suffering is how families begin to heal troubled relationships. When facing something like this, it puts life in perspective and people realize what is really important."
David's father replied, "You know, that's already happened..." then, he went on to explain how his wife and her sister have mended their relationship because they were fighting over some family matters.
Where is God? Why?
Then, I took the opportunity to explain how God works through His creation. Where is God? How is He caring for David and His family? God works through the gifts He gave to David.
- Mom and Dad are doing the work of the Lord by caring for their child.
- God is there through "Hockey Mom," who is helping to organize their lives and the help other friends are offering the family.
- God is working in the driver who dropped off medical supplies.
- God is working through the makers of the car the driver used to drive an 90 minutes west of St. Louis to deliver the pain relieving drugs.
- God is working through those who are wanting to care for the spiritual needs of David's family.
- God is working through scientists, doctors, nurses, social workers, hospitals, the people who keep the hospital clean, the engineers, brick masons, etc., who worked to make it possible for David to be diagnosed, treated, cared for, and ease his pain.
The list goes on and on. I explained these things to dad and he began to understand, but, his emotional pain was too great to grasp it as comfort. This is very understandable.
God works through means, through His creation, not only for our physical needs but also for our spiritual needs. The truth is, we are both physical and spiritual at the same time. God cares for both at the same time. He loves and cares for David in His suffering. As a matter of fact, God Himself, His entire revelation of love is understood by us on earth only through His sacrifice, suffering, and death. The message of Christ is not one of everything is good, perfect, and always goes our way. Rather, the message of Christ is to grasp our eternal lives by faith and He strengthens us so that we might endure the suffering of this life. However, He suffered for us, in our stead, and gives us strength, mercy, and comfort in the midst of our suffering and even death.
In the end, God suffered, God died, God rose from the dead for us. In David's baptism, he received forgiveness, mercy, and died in Christ and rose from the dead.
David began to cry out again for his dad, so I excused myself and told dad that I was going to be going and get out of their way. I offered whatever help they might need. As I left...
(to be continued...)