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A Different Dream for My Child - Chapter 56

This excerpt is devotion #56 from A Different Dream for My Child by Jolene Philo:

We Rejoiced to Hear Him Cry

My eyes are blind with tears, my stomach in a knot.
My insides have turned to jelly over my people’s fate.
Babies and children are fainting all over the place,
Calling to their mothers, “I’m hungry! I’m thirsty!”
Lamentations 2:11–12


Parents take the blessings of life with a healthy child for granted. While a child is very ill, the priceless value of good health comes into sharp focus. But when life regains a semblance of normalcy, appreciation for God’s daily blessings often fades away.
     Dave and Christy regained their appreciation for those blessings soon after their son AJ was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. AJ wasn’t responding to treatment, and the new doctor on the case ordered another colonoscopy for the little boy. Because of a hospital remodeling project, the colonoscopy had to be performed in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
     Dave and Christy walked up to the PICU and passed a room packed with people, so full that many spilled into the hallway. But Dave’s thoughts were focused on his son, so he didn’t pay much attention when they walked by the crowded room. “AJ’s got to go through this again,” he worried. “He’s not feeling well. His Crohn’s is flaring up again. He’s got to have another colonoscopy.” 
     The parents’ waiting area was close to the room where the colonoscopy was performed. AJ was partially sedated, and though he didn’t know what was going on, he talked and whimpered during the procedure. Dave and Christy heard him cry out, “Mommy, Mommy!” several times.
     “It was a horrible feeling for us,” Dave says. “So unsettling.” To get away from the sound, they walked down the hall. As they went by the crowded hospital room they had barely noticed earlier, they saw nurses crying as they left it. “There was a child dying in there,” Dave says. “This was the last hour of this child’s life. I tell you, it hit us hard.”
     Christy nods. “We realized those parents would have given anything to hear their child cry.”
     Subdued, they returned to the waiting area. They thought of the parents in the other room, watching the life ebb from their child’s body. Suddenly the inconveniences that blocked their appreciation of the daily blessings in their lives—AJ’s frequent tummy aches, inconvenient doctor visits, and his regime of medicines—faded away. They listened to their son’s plaintive weeping with a new outlook. “We knew that if those parents in the other room could trade places with us, they would,” Dave says. “And we rejoiced to hear our boy cry.”
     If life is settling into a comfortable routine now that your child’s health has improved, your appreciation of God’s daily blessings in your life may begin to fade away. You’ll be tempted to overlook the priceless value of your child’s good health.
     As everyday life presses down, you’ll be tempted to grumble about how much the grocery bill has gone up now that your child has an appetite again. You’ll be tempted to complain about how your kid outgrew an expensive, new dress shirt in a month, and tore a pair of blue jeans during a flag football game. You’ll be tempted to grouse about the cost and inconvenience of the annual well-child visit at the doctor’s office. And you’ll be tempted to walk away and feel sorry for yourself when your child is irrationally upset about some stupid little thing and won’t stop crying, “Mommy! Daddy!”
     When those temptations arise, close your eyes. Picture your child in the hospital, fighting for life. Think about the children down the hall who didn’t survive, and the grieving parents who lost them. Count your child’s sobs and whimpers as blessings. Rejoice when your child cries.

Dear Father, my child’s illness showed me the value of life and health. Forgive me for overlooking today’s daily blessings. Teach me to appreciate all of life, including the cries of my child.

Take Time to Reflect
How did your child’s illness and recovery make you more aware of daily blessings? When are you tempted to take them for granted? How can you keep that from happening?