I have this habit. At 25 years old, I still can’t decide if I think it’s a good habit, or if it’s even healthy.
My brain turns at like a 1,000 miles an hour and it’s constantly, desperately trying to process and retain everything. Sometimes it just can’t handle it all, and it forces me to eject it all out of my head and out onto paper in words. Words, for me, are what my brain can’t handle holding onto.
Today, my brain is so full, that this poor keyboard underneath my fingertips is about to take one heck of a beating. I literally cannot even comprehend the stuff going on in my life right now.
I have this friend. She’s amazing. She’s incredible. She’s beautiful, talented, and hilariously sassy. She just turned 12. And you know what is garbage? She’s fighting for her 12 year old life in a hospital bed in a children’s hospital because of cancer.
Can we just touch on everything wrong in that sentence? A TWELVE year old fighting cancer. A cancer that is trying everything in its inanimate power to pull the life away from this 12 year old.
Now Children’s hospitals. Isn’t that some garbage right there? Why do we have to have hospitals for little innocents fighting for their lives!? Why is any of this FAIR!? Why do these institutions have to exist? Can’t we all just live to a ripe old age and then get sick and die? Why do these little people, who have never done anything wrong have to suffer because of cancer? Because of disease? Because of nobody’s fault?
IT’S SO UNFAIR.
I just want to shake someone and say, “HOW DOES ANY OF THIS MAKE A LICK OF SENSE!?”
This is just a little of what is currently imploding inside my head. I can’t wrap my brain around it.
You walk into this children’s hospital and the place looks like Wonderland. It’s fun, there are fish tanks, there are lollipops in the waiting rooms, there are stores with giant stuffed animals, there are super nice nurses and doctors who adore children…. And then there are tiny sick people.
This place is meant to be welcoming to children. It’s meant to put parents at ease. They know their children are going to be well taken care of. But what is really hard to comprehend, is that someone had to design this fun space to be welcoming for children who may not walk back out of its doors. I know they try, and they do the MOST incredible job, but the whole concept is heart wrenching. No. It’s morbid.
My 12 year old friend didn’t do anything to deserve what she is going through. Her family didn’t expect this when they gave birth to her. Nobody does. Nobody asks for catastrophe… it is the unfair, despicable, filth that was brought upon us from the presence of sin. And it stinks.
There is literally no way else to put it. It’s filthy, rotten, detestable, garbage. There it is: Cancer stinks. Kids getting cancer stinks. The fact that children’s hospitals have to exist, stinks.
You hear all of these clichés and perhaps you’ve used them, but you have to use your best, “bless your heart” voice.
“God’s going to get the glory for this”
“If its God’s will…”
“We’re praying for you…”
“This will make you stronger”
“God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle”
We say these things out of the goodness of our hearts, but peaches and cream, people… it still doesn’t make sense!
We say these things in hopes of rationalizing what cannot be comprehended. We use empty words because we literally cannot even begin to understand.
Thank you for trying, really, I know you care…. But let’s be human for like 2 seconds. ALL OF THIS STINKS!
We can say that. We have the right to do that.
We can turn to the Father and we can question him till the cows come home, but the truth of the matter is, we’re never going to fully understand.
We can throw questions at the sky, we can shake our fists, we can scream, cry, rant, hoop ‘n holler, but it’s not going to do a bit of good.
The other day, my kid told me she didn’t like me. Good. Because sometimes I really don’t like her either. But it’s a good thing I love her to death. I love her more than I love my own life.
It is this feeling, of being a mother, that has me weeping over coffee. I cannot even imagine my baby having cancer. It is unfathomable.
We are foolish to think that God doesn’t look at us in the same way. He understands us more than we give Him credit for. He dwelt among us! If He cried, you can bet He laughed, and if He laughed, you can bet He was mad. Actually, there are times I wish I could drive people out of my house with whips too.
Here’s my point. It’s not going to do you a bit of good to sit and get mad at God. He’s got that. You don’t have to tell Him anything. He already knows! What takes strength is to ask Him to reveal to you what on earth is going on.
And if you’re still and if you’re quiet and if you believe that God is who He says He is, then He’ll bring it to the forefront of your mind.
We’re all going to die.
It is not how we leave this world -- it is how we have LIVED in this world.
And you say, “Catherine, what in the tarnation does that even mean!?”
What that means is that from dust we have come, and to dust we will return. It’s up to us to make something of those days in between birth and death.
My friend did that something. She accepted Christ as her savior and when she does pass away, and she will eventually, because we all will, she’ll bask in the Light of our savior and praise His name forever. Which, frankly, sounds amazing and morbid at the same time.
People talk about rejoicing in times of death. But let’s be real, honest, and real honest here: there is NOTHING to rejoice about when a child dies. And if you do, then you’re sick and should seek professional help.
If and when my 12 year old sister in Christ passes, my soul – the part of me that will live forever – will be happy for her, but every ounce of my flesh will miss her beautiful smile.
So let’s review:
But being mad at God isn’t going to get you anywhere.
That’s not going to help at all, however, getting to know Him a little better, will help a whole lot.
He’s not doing it to be mean and cruel. Jesus loves children. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all recount Jesus saying (in one way or another), “Let the Children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”
So why would a good God let cancer happen? Why would a good God let children die? Why would a good God let there be children’s hospitals?
He’s not focused on how you leave this world, he’s concerned with how you’re living in it right now.
Death is not perceived as loss to God. God sees death as an opportunity to finally meet you and love on you for the rest of eternity. If you deny God in this world, then guess what? You’ll still get the privilege of meeting your creator, but you’ll be eternally separated from him. And THAT will royally stink.
When children die, they go home to a God who loves them.
When cancer patients die, they meet their maker.
It’s up to all of us to be ready to leave this world one way or another.
Make decisions daily that will determine what will happen when you die… because it WILL happen. You can bet your bottom dollar on it.
SO… what do we do for our friends who are suffering? What do we do for our people who are angry at their circumstances? What do we do to overcome what stinks?
We go through it with them. Not face to face, but shoulder to shoulder. Be present, be understanding, don’t say cliché things when you don’t know what to say. ACTUALLY pray for them. Make them baked goods and be there with and for them. Nothing is going to make it stink any less, but your presence and your prayers will be felt, and that is comforting.
Get through it together, and all those clichés that sound horrible will actually start making sense. You WILL be stronger. It actually IS God’s will (for all of us to die). God SHOULD get the glory because he gave us the Holy Spirit as a comforter because He loves us:
“Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, but God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirt who has been given to us.” –Romans 3-5.
And on the other side of trials, you do realize that God really doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle. Although, that’s not even correct scripture (see 1 Corinthians 10:13 if I just confused you).
Now that I’ve got all that down on paper, I feel better.
Sometimes I just have to work out my feelings.
I hope this has helped you to work through some things as well. I’ve had enough stink. I’m going to get some fresh air. I’d recommend the same for you. They say it’s awfully good for you.