The tears streamed down my cheeks in anger and sorrow one day last week as I drove home from picking up my daughter Carly at school. My feelings were both justified and unreasonable. Yet again, disability was wreaking havoc with my plans and delights while causing our precious Carly more discomfort and robbing her quality of life.
I prayed through those tears: “Why can’t I just have all the blessings of disability without all the hassles?”
Why is it so easy for me to have confident faith in the bigger picture of disability but such small faith when it comes to the details — those tedious, daily, monotonous, messy details that make parenting in disability such a slog? I can have such total assurance that God’s sovereign Kingdom purposes are at work in the broader issue of disability yet struggle so much sometimes keeping my chin up through the minutia and seemingly perpetual drip of “little” challenges that face us each and every day.
I tend to throw up my hands and say, “What are you doing here, God? What are you thinking?”
I am not alone. Caregivers all around the world wake up every morning (if they’re lucky enough to have had an uninterrupted night’s sleep) only to hit the ground running with a new day of navigating complex lives and emotions. There’s the 76-year-old husband who goes unrecognized by his confabulating wife with dementia. There’s the bedraggled couple feeling overwhelmed and alone because they can’t sit peacefully through a church service with their wriggling son who has autism. There’s the mom in Belize praying for calm seas so she can give her daughter with brittle bones some gentle swim therapy today. And then there are those who are getting the “break” they didn’t want — like the family in Iowa still tender from the loss of their 4 year old son and brother who had cerebral palsy and passed away of pneumonia last year.
When I’ve spent another hour supporting the weight of my 115 pound girl who tremors through a bowel movement that just won’t come; when I’ve spent another hour washing clothes, carpeting and upholstery to the point where I want to give up on cleaning and just fanaticize about the makeover people coming with new flooring and furniture; when my husband has spent precious hours on telephones again this week (yes sometimes both landline and cell phone at the same time) and on computers with insurance companies, pharmacies, government websites, social workers — that’s when I sometimes struggle to feel God’s goodness. I know it but I don’t always feel it.
Nobody likes waiting.
It was in the midst of this kind of self-absorbed wallowing that I opened my Bible study lesson to Matthew 15 and read about the Canaanite woman who begged Jesus to heal her daughter (see verses 21-28). Despite the fact that the woman wasn’t part of the “chosen people,” she was desperate and refused to leave without the blessing of Jesus whom she acknowledged as the Messiah calling Him, “Lord, Son of David.”
But Jesus didn’t respond right away. In fact, he initially appeared to have ignored her altogether. I was reminded that His hesitation was not a lack of compassion or ability to heal. A careful and historical reading of this woman’s experience with Jesus shows that he was allowing their conversation to unfold slowly for a couple of reasons. First, He was watching her faith in Him awaken to deeper and unshakable levels. It was as if she was saying like Jacob did while wresting with God (Genesis 32:26), “I will not let you go until you bless me!”
All the while she knelt before him, the Canaanite woman expressed reverent anticipation. And while her conversation with Jesus caught more attention, the faith and understanding among the onlookers must also have grown. Jesus made the most of this encounter to bring the faith of several people to greater heights.
Ultimately, Jesus commended this woman’s great faith in front of His disciples. Those onlookers experienced many lessons even as the woman was being richly rewarded with the affections of God and a deep peace as well as a daughter who was instantly healed.
I want to be that kind of woman. I want to be the humble, patient, expectant woman who grabs hold of God’s promises and clings to Jesus on behalf of my family. I want the rewards of His affection, peace and power!
I’m quick to get busy DOING but not always persistent in CLINGING. My Heavenly Father delights in my clinging to Him.
Once again, Jesus asks me to BE STILL AND KNOW…
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Come and see what the Lord has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.