Sunday, February 26, 2012

Week of Illness

It's been a long, long week. Liana and I haven't felt well, but were we sick enough to go to the doctor? I wish I didn't have to make all the health care decisons. After 10 days of a raging sore throat, I finally gave in.

It was an interesting doctor's visit. I always bring a book to read while I wait. The doctor walked in and I started to put my book in my bag. "What are you reading? I'm nosy," she said.

She is German and I was reading Bonhoeffer. She was curious and picked up the book and wanted to know what it was. I told her it was about a German pastor in World War II who was executed for his involvement in a plot to kill Hitler. It explores the question of whether Christians are ever justified to murder someone. I value my doctor's ideas on this topic. Her sister died in the 9/11 attacks. How did she feel when Osama bin Laden was killed? We had an interesting discussion before she even looked down my throat.

Liana was next. She had a cough all week, which she tends to get with every cold. No fever, but she felt lousy and the cough increased until she was coughing almost non-stop. I felt so bad for her because she couldn't get a moment's rest. She kept looking to me for relief. Nothing I tried worked. Every bark of her cough was an indictment against me. Why couldn't I relieve her suffering? This is the very worst part of parenting. With new babies in our family, I think of how the parents will be in anguish as they worry about the many illnesses that come along. Even though my baby is 12, the worry never ends. Just as she looks to me for healing, I look to God and cry out to him. "By his stripes, we are healed." (Isaiah 53) Medicine, doctors, they are just the means he uses to heal. Lord, have mercy on my daughter hacking without relief. Her cries to me are the same as my cries to him.

So Liana saw the doctor on Saturday. Bronchitis. Now we wait for her antibiotic to work. Still she coughs. I give her codeine at night and then worry about the sedation. How much is too much? Liana asks, "Will you check me in the night?" She wants assurance that I am looking out for her, making sure she is okay. Of course, I will. I ask God to look out for her too. I can't be awake all night. But he is. "Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? ...Even the darkness is not dark to you. The night is as bright as the day." (Psalm 139) I need to trust more.

Our faith comes as we remember God's words and his faithfulness to us. Jesus says, "Do not be anxious for anything." He uses the word "anxious" six times in one brief passage in Matthew 6! He knows we are a worrying people, especially when it comes to our children. I remember that "the one who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, 'My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'" (Psalm 91)

My number two son and his wife travel to India this week. Will I be anxious? Of course, I am the mother and it is in my nature. We worry about bigger things as our kids grow up. But I will choose to trust God, who has always been faithful to my son.

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