Practicing Theology in the Emergency Room

His Protection & Our Pain

The day Audrey’s teacher discussed Fire Safety, she came home with lots of questions; questions that revealed the fear stirred up by the safety lessons.

Where is our meeting spot?

Will there ever be a fire in our house?

Do people really die from breathing smoke?

After answering her questions with honesty, she had several nights that she called me upstairs with whimpers–rather than reading her books and falling asleep, she was spinning thoughts & fears about fires around in that little mind.

So, my husband and I encouraged her that she gets to choose what she thinks about.  We told her God did not give her fearful thoughts, and she could replace the fears with God’s ideas & His Word.  So, the next night when she went to bed she found a notecard I had placed on her pillow.  It read,

” God will cover me with his wings; I will be safe in his care; his faithfulness will protect and defend me.  I don’t fear any dangers nights or day.” (From Psalm 91:4-5)

It was great to see her read the Word aloud, declaring it over herself.  She imagined God covering her with big wings, protecting her from dangers.

And then, a few days later she fell at recess and broke her arm.

As her and I sat in the ER (while my super-hubby cooked dinner & held down the fort with two other hungry littles), she asked me, “Mommy, did God plan for this to happen to me?”

Ouch. I shifted on the stretcher we sat on and heard the waterproof mattress crinkle.

Mommas, what do we do when we tell our babies God is big enough to protect them and they get hurt? How do we respond when they pray for healing & see no change?

Let us begin with what we won’t do–we won’t ask, “Why?” We will never be comforted in a quest to answer that question because I will never know.

What we do know provides comfort.  We know who God is–love, gracious, compassionate, kind-hearted, slow to anger, a giver of good gifts–and what He can do–protect, heal, comfort, redeem.

“Well, honey, He did allow this to happen; I don’t know why.  What I do know is His love for you is even bigger than my love for you.  I do know He promises that He uses everything-whether it feels good or bad–to work into His good plan for us.” Those were hard words as my baby girl’s arm was being wrapped in a splint and tears streamed down her cheeks.

They are even tougher for parents sitting beside beds of seriously ill children, or holding the hand of a broken-hearted child.  His covering & protection may look different than we would envision–but, that makes Him no less capable or loving.  It is simply evidence that we live in a fallen world & His thoughts are higher than our own.

“If we question God’s goodness and love every time he acts in a way that is unexpected, we will end up concluding that he is not good. If we refuse to rest when we don’t understand, we will end up living lives of distress…You rest not because you know, but because the One who knows it all is the definition of what is wise and what is good.”

(Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies)

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