"My son, Jackson, had surgery this week to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. Because he is only 2, he could not comprehend what was going to happen. Even though I tried to tell him, he just could not understand what was about to take place and the pain he would feel afterwards. The day of the surgery, we arrived at the hospital at 8:00 am and he was transferred to pre-op. He seemed a little apprehensive, like he could sense something that he was not going to appreciate was going to occur. The staff did the best to calm him. Around 10:00, it was time for surgery. Tears fell as I watched them take his little body on the big bed back to surgery. He seemed so helpless. I wanted to be with him. Surgery was complete around 10:45 and the doctor came and spoke with us. She said that the surgery was successful and told what to expect afterwards. It was not long afterwards that we were told Jackson was awake! When I walked into the post-op recovery room, I heard a cry I know very well. My Jackson was screaming and crying in pain! He had come out of the anesthesia rather quickly. When he awoke, he was scared, hurting, and angry. He was inconsolable. For 3-4 hours several nurses, my mother-in-law, and I tried to calm him down. The wires and the IVs bothered him greatly. He cried without ever opening his eyes. He looked so frail and confused. It broke my heart and once again, tears fell. I wanted terribly to make things better for my baby, but I could do nothing. He needed to calm down before he could be transferred to a room. When nothing else worked, I leaned down with tears falling and quietly sang him worship songs and hymns in his ears. I sang My Jesus I Love Thee, Great is Thy Faithfulness, All I have is Christ, Jesus Loves Me, Amazing Grace, How Deep The Father’s Love and whatever else I could think of. Amazingly, he calmed down in my arms. It even calmed my spirit. When I stopped, because the nurses had to get him to lie down, he cried again. And so did I. He reached out for me like he expected me to take him out of that place, but taking him at that point would have done more harm than good. It was the wrong time. But he did not understand. He did not understand that this suffering was going to result in good for him. He did not understand that I only allowed this surgery because I loved him and wanted the best for him. But he was comforted that I was there. He eventually did fall asleep and was transferred to his room. When he awoke, he wanted mom to stay with him in his bed. He did not want me to get up. So I stayed with him all night and held him each time a nurse or doctor came to check on him. I held him while he slept and prayed over him.
It is quite accurate to say that Jackson went through pain and affliction. It was probably the biggest affliction that he has had in his short life even though he is not new to doctors poking and prodding him. As I reflected upon Jackson’s situation, I could see several spiritual parallels to our seasons of pain and affliction--even my own recent season. I could see how many of my reactions to the Lord were very similar to Jackson’s. And a lot of it stems from just not understanding. As we grow in faith, we often do not react in such ways, but often that is only learned by walking through those seasons of affliction.
One of the first things I noticed was that often before going through a trial, God tries to prepare us. Our spirits can sense something is about to happen. I recall this before my Dad died. The entire week before he passed, I sensed the Lord’s comfort in an amazing way. I was kind of confused because I was on a mission trip and expected to sense a calling for my life. Who knew the calling was about to walk through a huge season of affliction? Jackson knew going into surgery and I was there to comfort him during the process but he was still confused. God is very gracious in not only walking through a trial with us, but He walks before and He walks after. It is during those times that He whispers “For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’ Isaiah 41:13
The next thing I noticed about trials was the emotions that we go through--just like Jackson. I noticed fear, pain, and anger. And reason often does not help these emotions. We writhe and lash out at God. We just don’t understand this sudden onset of pain. We often sound like David in Psalm 22 O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest.
Have you ever felt like that? That because you are in pain and it doesn’t stop, that He is just not answering? I have. In the midst of our suffering, it doesn’t make sense and if we are not grounded in His Word, we stop there and do not believe that our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison 2 Corinthians 4:17
A beautiful thing I noticed about the Lord is when I calmed Jackson with worship. Normally, I would not think my voice could calm anything! But I was reminded that the Lord sings over us with song
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
As I calmed Jackson, so does the Lord in the midst of our trials sing over us and more than that, He still takes delight. He sings for joy! In the midst of our rash of emotions, He strongly sings over us with all intents to save. He is with us. The peace of the Lord during those times is nothing that I could even claim to compete with but I think the Lord was actually using those songs to sing over both Jackson and I. He is good. The songs did not take away the pain, but brought peace to both of us.
I also noticed God’s timing. Jackson seemed to question why I just didn’t take him from the situation that appeared to be causing him so much pain. That seemed to be the answer in his little mind. He clung to me as if to say “Mommy get me out of here!” I have to say that I have cried out to the Lord that way in not the too distant past. “Lord, you have the power to change the situation! Why don’t you?!” As a mother, I realized in the end that would actually cause Jackson more pain. Maybe God is leaving me in the situation that I keep begging Him to take because in the end the wrong timing might cause more pain. Could I have taken Jackson? Yes but it would not have been wise or loving. And because God is both wise and loving, His timing is the best. He takes no pleasure in our pain, but our healing and sanctification.
Just as I stayed with Jackson during his recovery, God never leaves our side. He never leaves nor forsakes and in the end we become closer. I bonded with my son in the hospital as he quieted and leaned upon me. God bonds with us as we lean and quiet ourselves and trust Him. It is comforting to know that He is with us before, during, and after our afflictions and trials. And in the end, we will know it was worth it all."