Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Why It's Ok When Bad Things Happen

  It's that time of year again. My little boy celebrated his third birthday yesterday. And for the last three years, we have basked in the blessing of being able to celebrate his birthday with him. It is not something that we take lightly. And every year, I have a deeper respect for God and my appreciation flourishes as I watch my little boy grow. As well, the lesson we had to learn, that I'm still learning, becomes deeper and more profound.

For those of you who know what we went through as a family, I ask you to bare with me and forgive my... excessive sentiment regarding the situation. It is still as fresh in my heart as if it just happened. I'm not sure why I still get choked up when I think about it but I do. For those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, let me explain, just a little.

Three years ago, my beautiful little boy was born. I was induced because of really bad back pain. He was only about a week early so it wasn't that big of a deal. A few days after we came home from the hospital, my husband had to go back to work, states away but thankfully, I had my Mom with me. Without her there, I never would have been able to survive those first few hours. At a week old, little Anthony got a fever. When a baby that young has a fever, they automatically have to do a urine sample, blood tests and a spinal tap. After all of this, they usually put the baby in the pediatric unit of the hospital until they can find out what's wrong. Well, the local hospital I'd taken him to didn't have one so he had to be taken via ambulance to Children's. Thankfully, my Mom was home with my daughter so I didn't have to worry about that. I didn't go in the ambulance but followed in my car. Upon arriving at Children's, I found that he wasn't in the unit I was originally told but was in ICU because he'd gone into shock in the ambulance. Still don't know what that really means. As I got to his room, I had to be immediately ushered out because they were having to hook him up to a breathing tube because he just wasn't doing it on his own after going into shock. He spent the next 7 days in ICU and another 3 in a recovery ward. The doctors and nurses never found out what was wrong with him, we were often told that there was no guarantee he'd survive the day or night and his poor little body swelled up so badly that we weren't allowed to touch him for a while.

I refer to these days as my Darkest Hour (read last year's blog post). Not being able to touch your brand new baby is torture. Not being able to hear him cry was surprisingly disturbing. That first week, I'd have given up both my hands just to hear him cry. It was also a dark time because of my anger, frustration and bitterness toward God. I didn't understand why God was allowing my baby, too young to have done anything to deserve any kind of punishment or suffering, to hurt so badly. To knock on Death's door. Or why He felt the need to teach ME a lesson using the life and well being of my baby. It didn't make sense to me at all. And I turned inward and it festered for a little while.

I will always be grateful for the outpouring of prayers for my little boy during that time and KNOW that the prayers of many people who love God and love my family are what played a huge part in the recovery of my baby. No doubt in my mind. Which leads me to why it's ok when bad things happen.

I obviously can't say how I'd have reacted if Anthony had died. But he didn't and I can tell you that, in this situation, him living is what shed light on the lesson I needed to learn. I needed to learn that God loves me and part of Him loving me is enjoying my praise and my thankfulness and me being able to glorify Him. God didn't MAKE this happen to my baby. But He used the situation to teach me and bring me closer to Him. And THAT is why it's ok.

I'm not about to compare my own sufferings to that of Job or that my faith is anywhere near as strong as his was. But even concerning what he went through, it was OK. For a reason. Job lost everything. His family, his house, his friends and all he owned, his health. All of it. Except his faith in God. Satan thought he was so clever trying to hurt Job and turn him away. But it backfired because not only did Job refuse to turn from God in his suffering, he chose to continue to glorify God with his life. And God blessed him greatly for it.

I recently watched a video by Lisa Chan called Be Still. In the video, a woman shared her testimony about going through a divorce and how badly hurt she was by it. But in her suffering, she turned to God and was greatly blessed by it. She grew in her own relationship with God and eventually met and married a man who loves God very much.

When bad things happen, it's ok because God has a way to use the situation to better you and bless you and bring you closer to Him. If you let Him. There's a whole lot of bad that happens in the world that I can't explain. At all. Gruesome murders, tragic natural disasters, babies getting cancer... I can't explain it other than that through it, God has a plan for some one involved, maybe every one involved, for hope and prosperity and a design that the person will draw closer to Him and be able to give Him praise and honor through it. I know that's what He had in plan for me. I know that through the suffering that my family went through, my faith in Him grew, my belief in the power of prayer changed dramatically (really for our entire family and helped us trust God through prayer during recent trials) and my trust in the sincerity of other Christians (something I thought I had totally lost) was renewed.

I'm not a huge fan of using individual Bible verses to serve my own purpose or prove a point that I'm trying to make but through the years, these verses have helped me, given me hope and joy during trials and frustrating times, during pain and sufferings.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." *May I just say that the fact alone that God things enough about me to make plans for me, let alone the fact that they're GOOD plans blows my mind!*

1 Samuel 15:29 "He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man, that He should change His mind." *Any promise that God makes to me is going to be kept. If He has promised good things for me, I can rest assured that good things are in store for me. It's all about how I choose to see the things that happen. He only wants good for me and since He has given His word... :) *

Ecclesiastes 7:14 "When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future." *God's got everything under control. During the good and the bad in my life, God knows what's in store for me and I can trust Him with my future.*

Isaiah 54:10 "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,' says the Lord, who has compassion on you." *Even when the world is crumbling down around me, God still loves me and I can always count on that. *

We are also told over and over in the Bible that God takes care of those who love Him. We're told that He doesn't allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. He must have known that the only thing I could handle was what happened and nothing more because His mercy allowed my son to make a full recovery with no problems following.

It's OK when bad things happen because God has a design. A plan that, if we choose to see (and trust me, I know, I KNOW how hard it can be to let go, open your eyes and heart and SEE), will help us grow and bring us closer into His loving arms and bless us as well as glorify Him.

Please feel free to comment and share your own experiences with learning lessons from God through your own pains and struggles. If you have questions or need to talk, you can share here or email me at acmaxwell@live.com. I hope you have a blessed day!

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