I walked down the halls of the hospital, and, although our visit was a joyful one, my emotions were a jumbled mess. I was visiting a friend and her newborn, yet, I was reliving years worth of memories…several special memories, but mostly overwhelmingly painful ones.
The mere scent and familiarity of the hospital always stirs up a certain amount of emotion and turmoil within me. As I walked passed the doors that lead to the operating room, the cardiac care unit, or the dreaded cancer ward, so many memories flashed before my mind. But, lately, one particular memory is etched in my mind, and God has been reminding me of it. And contrary to what you’d think, it has actually been a comforting thought. Let me explain…
You see, at first, when our children were in one hospital after another, I was always the one who stayed at the hospital, never leaving their bedside. My family had to insist that I leave them for even a few minutes to go outside for a brief walk and to take care of myself. I wanted to always be there when they faced anything painful. I cried with them during the painful “digging” in their tiny veins, those ugly spinal taps, and the horrible experience of a bone biopsy. It broke my heart! I tried to be strong on the outside, but eventually my health and nerves began falling apart. After years of this stress, I finally got to the place where I could no longer physically or emotionally handle it.
This is when my dear husband stepped in and insisted that he would be there with our children. He began taking them for their lab work and painful procedures. At this point, we realized they were going to face years of ongoing treatments, and he persistently asked for special permission to go into the operating and procedure rooms with Austin and Alisha. Because this is highly unusual, he had to “jump through many hoops” to make it happen. He would “gown up” with the sterile operating-room gear to be allowed to go with them. It would’ve been hard for others to distinguish him from the team of doctors and nurses who were preparing for the procedure, but to our children, daddy’s presence made all the difference.
As the children were scared of the glaring lights, the gowned staff, and intimidating equipment, their loving daddy would encourage them to lay on the hard stretcher. He would help to strap their hands and feet while assuring them that everything was going to be okay. (In fact, several staff members told him that they wish the hospital would hire him to help with all of their patients.) Duane would assure our children that he would stay there with them until they were asleep. Then he would talk them through the procedure of breathing in the gas mask until the sedation kicked in and their little bodies would go limp. He would then exit the room as the anesthesiologist and doctors would take over. But the story doesn’t end there….
When I saw the doors to the operating rooms and cardiac catheterization laboratory, at that hospital I was visiting, my mind flashed back to the scene that repeated many times outside those doors. The strong and encouraging daddy, who always calmly reassured our children, would some times walk out of the door, and we would meet together in an embrace…and he would cry. We would cry together. He never became immune to the sufferings of his children. It always broke his heart. He spoke the words, “You’re doing great…Don’t be scared, you’re going to be okay…I will help you…I promise, I’ll be here with you.” And although he didn’t feel the physical pain like our children did, this daddy suffered emotional pain when his children suffered.
My friend, think about it. Where have you heard these words before? “Don’t be scared, you’re going to be okay…I will help you…I promise to be here with you.”
Have you ever felt like God must not love you because He is allowing you to suffer? Have you felt abandoned by God because He didn’t heal you or answer your pleas in the way you thought He should? Do you struggle and begin believing that He doesn’t care?
I believe, with all my heart, that God is deeply pained when He sees us suffering. It breaks His “daddy heart.” Yes, He is cheering us on and is saying, “Be strong.” “Keep fighting.” “Don’t grow weary in well-doing.” “Fear not, for I am with you…”
Just because He doesn’t change the circumstance or prevent bad things from happening to us, it doesn’t mean that He doesn’t care. In fact, I think it’s interesting that the Bible talks about God wiping the tears away from our eyes AFTER the earth is passed away and there is a new heaven and earth. (Rev. 21:1-4) Could it be that God Himself sheds tears in heaven for us today when He sees us suffering?
My friend, God has done so much more than “gowning up” and entering the operating and procedure rooms with us. Not only has He promised to carry us through each difficult trial we face, but He also has physically suffered for each of us in more ways than we can even imagine.
My husband allowed our children to face these painful situations because he knew it was what they needed and ultimately for their own good. He allowed their short term suffering for their long term good. It would be ridiculous for our children to blame their daddy for not stopping the doctors from doing the necessary procedures. But, so often, we do this to God. We don’t have the correct view of Him and His “Daddy” heart.
How intimately do you know your “Daddy”? Do you know His own heart hurts and bleeds just as deeply when you face pain and loss? Have you experienced His presence in your storms? Won’t you trust Him as He whispers words of comfort into your darkest night? He really does long to move you from pain to purpose. Are you assured that He is weeping “Daddy tears” when you are scared and hurting? My friend, do you recognize Him and hear His voice in the midst of your difficulties?
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)