Last week, Isaiah had his first big fall. With as clumsy as this boy is (he gets that from me), I’m surprised it’s taken 4 years to hit this milestone. Maybe it’s because he’s usually timid and extra cautious. Yes, he’s the kid that’s standing behind the others saying, “Uh, I don’t think this is a good idea.” (Okay, he might have inherited that from me, as well.) Nonetheless I don’t know if I had ever had to bust out the peroxide or Neosporin until that night.
We had decided to go for a little walk as a family between dinner and bed time. Isaiah ran ahead on the sidewalk and wanted his Daddy to chase after him. When Daddy still hadn’t picked up his pace, Isaiah looked back to see where he was. And that’s all it took. He tripped over his own feet and didn’t just fall, but skidded across the hard cement. It was one of those moments that felt like life was in slow motion…until the screaming started.
“Nevertheless, He looked upon their distress, when He heard their cry…and relented according to the abundance of His steadfast love.” – Psalm 106:44
I’m sure it hurt…and the sight of the blood and banged up knees, hands, and elbows made him scared. Daddy rushed to him as he continued to cry hard. His tears only subsided while Adam held him and distracted him by pointing out the scenery around him as we headed home. As we walked, I immediately felt God stirring in me. I knew that, once again, He wanted to use a simple event to bring more healing to my banged up heart.
“For You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. “ – Psalm 116:8
Watching Isaiah in pain, the grief in my heart stirred and my mind went back to the painful 2 1/2years of praying and waiting for a baby, having to say good-bye, and then praying and waiting again. I still miss that baby…and though the wound has healed, there will forever be a scar.
“I was pushed so hard that I was falling, but the Lord helped me.” – Psalm 118:13
As Adam carried Isaiah, I admired his wisdom in distracting Isaiah along the way. He pointed out the trees, counted them, and taught them what they were. God reminded me of His gentle faithfulness along my own journey…pointing out blessings, asking me to count them, and teaching me in spite of, even because of, the pain.
“It was GOOD for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.” – Psalm 119:71
Our short walk back home was a bit of a calm before the storm. Isaiah had stopped crying and had even, for the moment, forgotten about his wounds.
But then Daddy had to clean them out. And it was not a happy sight.
Isaiah insisted that he just needed a band-aid, but his wise Daddy knew that the boo-boos needed cleaned out first. Even though Adam was gentle and careful, washing Isaiah up and cleaning the wounds with peroxide made our little boy scream. In tears, our dramatic guy just kept yelling, “I can’t stop crying! I don’t know what to do! I need something!”
It was hard for me to listen to. Not only because I hate to hear my son in pain, but because I once again heard too much of myself in his cries.
It’s one thing to have your heart broken. But it’s a whole new kind of pain entirely when the cleansing and refining starts.
Sure there were tears when we found out our baby died. There was weeping when the umbilical cord was cut from the tiny body we so desperately wanted. But my heart heaved in the days afterward when reality set in. When I had to decide between just putting a band-aid on my pain…or instead beginning the process of letting my Father clean out the wounds so that I could truly heal.
Wanting to be in Control was my dirt. Pride and Selfishness were my germs. Looking for Satisfaction in the gifts rather than the Giver was my gravel that needed dug out.
“See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.” – Isaiah 48:10
God’s Word. Sorrowful moments of Silence. Fearful days of Waiting. Desperate Prayers. These were my peroxide.
“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” – 1 Peter 1:7
The day after Isaiah’s fall, I was studying through Mark 1 and 2. I was struck by Jesus reaction to the leper asking to be made clean.
“Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, ‘Be clean.'” – Mark 1:41
Pity where there was fear. A touch where there was disease. A cleansing of the body.
But what of the heart?
The verses in Mark that follow tell of Jesus healing a paralytic. He not only tells him to rise, take up his bed and walk, but he addresses the even bigger problem.
“Son, your sins are forgiven.” – Mark 2:5
This is where the real healing takes place.
This is why J.C. Ryle can say, “how great a blessing affliction may prove to a man’s soul.”
The wounds a blessing?
“Who can doubt that to the end of his days this man would thank God for his palsy? Without it he might have lived and died in ignorance and never seen Christ at all…”
Without the wounds would I have ever really seen Christ? See Him for all that He is? See my need for a Savior? For His touch? For His cleansing? For His goodness?
Could these wounds really be good?
Even in the midst of great trial and after his questioning of God, Job said…
“I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye SEES You.” – Job 42:5
“Bereavements have proved mercies. Losses have proved real gains. Sicknesses have led them to the great Physician of souls, sent them to the Bible, shut out the world, shown them their own foolishness, taught them to pray…Every sorrow is a gracious message from God, and is meant to call us nearer to Him. – J.C. Ryle
Sent them to the Bible.
Shut out the world.
Shown them their own foolishness.
Taught them to pray.
This is why I can thank Him for the wounds. They did and continue to force me to grow up. And I’m sure there will be more, as He’s certainly not done refining me yet.
Isaiah’s fall wasn’t the last time he’ll get hurt. The scrapes and bruises will all be part of growing up. But the band-aids from this fall didn’t have to stay on. Because his father had cleaned the wounds, his body is starting to mend. There was genuine excitement in Isaiah’s voice and on his face after taking the band-aids off and seeing that his boo-boos were healing. There are still marks, but the wounds are no longer raw.
While walking home that night after Isaiah’s fall, I noticed our shadows on the ground beside us. How much they have changed over the past few months! You see, not only could I see the outline of Isaiah on his daddy’s shoulders…but now there was a stroller in front of me.
A beautiful baby boy sitting inside.
A gracious gift out of God’s extravagant goodness of which I am certainly not worthy.
A gift I could now grasp tightly on to, fearful of what may lie ahead and wanting to claim as mine.
But, you see, Isaiah’s fall hasn’t made him more timid or fearful or enjoy life less. In fact, it may have made him actually enjoy life more. Now he knows pain, but he also knows that he will heal.
Because of that, I want to hold Toby with open hands. I don’t want to let my past cause me to be fearful of the future or claim my children as my own. I simply want to enjoy the gifts that they are for the time that God allows me to hold them in my arms.
The pain of losing our Heaven baby not only helped refine our hearts, but enlarge them, as well. I’m not sure we could enjoy our Toby quite as much if we hadn’t experienced loss. And we sure are more aware of God’s grace.
The grace that required His own Son to die, so that through His resurrection mine could eternally live.
The grace that forgives and gently cleanses my sinful heart.
The grace that brings true healing…and not just the temporary fix of a band-aid.
“…by HIS wounds you have been HEALED.” – 1 Peter 2:24
Thank you, Jesus.