Hurting or Helping?


Over and over, Cobi screamed, "No! No!" As the nurse and I held him down. He sobbed in pain and begged for my help, but all I could do was push him down onto the table with all my might as he kicked at me. The look of fear on his face burned a hole into my heart. As he struggled to get away, he kept his terror-filled eyes locked on mine as if to ask, "I thought I could trust you. Why are you hurting me?" I cried along with him, knowing that he depended upon me to protect him, but I could not free him.

Cobi, my grandson, was eighteen months old. He had third degree burns on his hand. Daily, the pediatrician had to "debride" the damaged tissue. That meant two people had to hold the screaming toddler down while the doctor ripped the skin from his hand so that it would heal properly. I would have given anything to trade places with Cobi, but I was helpless to stop his pain.

If youíre a parent, you know how heart breaking it is to watch your children suffer. Yet, sometimes you must do just that, for their own good.

I can only imagine how painful debriding must be or how terrifying it is to be held down and subjected to such torture. But it was necessary for Cobiís healing. Without this treatment, he might have grown up without use of his hand, and his fingers may have permanently curled into his palm.

He didnít understand any of that, of course. All he knew was that strangers were hurting him and he couldnít get away. And someone he loved and trusted was helping these strangers to hurt him. He thought we were being cruel. It broke my heart to watch his suffering. Holding him down for it was the toughest thing Iíve ever done, but I had to do it. I know he was wondering, "If you love me, why wonít you help me?"

Donít we ask the same question when God doesnít step in and rescue us from pain? Have you wondered, "Why is God punishing me? Why does He refuse to help me?" Itís natural to ask, "Why?" But Godís not going to send a telegram explaining His motives.

God is a loving parent who wants whatís best for us. He cares about what we need, rather than what we want. He demonstrated how much He cares by sacrificing His son for us. Since He was willing to do that, I trust Him to do whatís best for me in any situation.

Just as we parents must sometimes practice "tough love" with our kids, God is the same way with His children.

Even if I donít understand what Heís doing or why, I can trust God. Heís proven to be worthy of my trust. He has information thatís not revealed to me. I canít figure it out, but I can focus on Godís words.

Weíre like the passengers in the middle car of a long train. God is the engineer who sees the train from beginning to end and knows where itís going. Only He can look ahead to see how current problems may benefit us in the long run.

God allows challenges for reasons I will probably never understand. I do know itís not because He enjoys seeing me suffer. He may want to teach me to depend upon Him more, He may want to stretch my faith, or He might just want to wake me up.

He may allow suffering to soften and open my heart. He wants me to be still and listen to Him. Hardships remind me that I canít control everything.

No matter how abandoned I feel, I need to cling to the promise Jesus made when he said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:4-6)

Romans 8:28 says, "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." This doesnít say that only good things will happen. It says that God can somehow bring something good out of even the worst situations, for those who love and serve Him.

When I see bad things happening and I canít understand why, I cling to my heavenly Father. It doesnít surprise me that I donít understand everything about Him or His word. Why shouldnít He write something more grand than what I can understand with my pinto bean brain?

When life doesnít go the way I plan, I take one day -- and sometimes one moment -- at a time, trusting Godís wisdom. I rely on Him to carry me through.

I think thatís the kind of trust and surrender He wants from all of us.

Marsha Jordan hugsandhope@gmail.com

Author of Hugs, Hope, and Peanut Butter Laugh out loud, inspirational essays Illustrated by critically ill children

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