I find it ironic that many of life’s most profound lessons are often revealed in the most mundane of places. At least, that’s how it works for me. I’ll be minding my own business when all of a sudden, BAM! A new revelation; a deep, my-life’s-never-gonna-be-the-same-again-if-I-take-this-seriously nugget of wisdom. I discovered one such treasure almost 20 years ago in a bathtub.
Yep, a bathtub. How’s that for mundane?
When Joshua, our second son, was still a little bitty thing he was a germ magnet. That kid seemed to be sick every time we turned around. And almost every single time he was sick, his fever would sky-rocket. Randy & I were still pretty new at the whole parenting thing and the way Joshie’s temp would soar would scare us slap to death. I made many frantic, but very unnecessary trips to the emergency room; convinced that getting him timely medical help would surely save his sweet little life. After one late night hospital visit at which Joshua was again diagnosed with some common childhood ailment, Randy and I decided that, maybe next time, we should try following the medical staff’s advice for handling a spiking temp at home.
Soon we had the opportunity to give that advice a try. First, we followed our usual protocol of giving him Tylenol at the onset of the fever. And, as usual, his body showed no response to the medicine and his temp continued its rise. Next, we gave him a dose of Ibuprofen, waited another 20 minutes, and then checked his temp again. Still, the fever was climbing. Past experience had taught us that it was just a matter of minutes before the mercury would pass 103 degrees. It was time to implement the nurse’s instructions: Place Joshua into a tub of tepid water. Pour water over his little, fevered body. Wait for it to evaporate. Repeat this process for 20 minutes or until his fever started to come down. Sounded easy enough.
Unfortunately, few things are as easy as they sound. The ‘cool, but not too cool water’ felt like ice to his fevered skin. Joshua wasted no time in letting us know that this wasn’t going down without a fight. To say he resisted would be a gross understatement. Lord have mercy! Who knew a 20 lb, fevered toddler could raise such a fuss? Randy and I were doing our best to keep him calm; talking softly to him, telling him we loved him, promising him it wouldn’t be much longer. He was not at all interested in what we had to say. The tears streaming down his chubby, red cheeks, the confusion in his big blue eyes, and the ruckus he was raising clearly conveyed the wordless message, “Why the heck won’t somebody just pick me up?!”
I tried to explain to him that his fighting was only making the situation harder and was actually working against the good we were trying to accomplish in his body. But my explanations were useless; my words were beyond his ability to understand.
And here’s where the life-changing lesson comes in:
I remember as vividly as if it were yesterday the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart and letting me see that I had so often done the same thing with Him. When I had faced uncomfortable, painful situations I had fought and questioned, furious that the God who could easily “pick me up” would choose not to do so. Instead of trusting Him, believing that He was allowing ALL things to work for my good, I would assume that He didn’t care. In that moment I realized that just as I was longing for Joshua to trust that we would never allow him to face such discomfort if there wasn’t a very needful purpose, I needed to trust that my heavenly Father would never allow me to endure what would not ultimately bring about my good. I understood with startling clarity that He who is infinitely more wise and loving than any earthly parent would never leave me in a dark, uncomfortable place any longer than was absolutely necessary.
What a difference that simple truth has made in my life! I’m not gonna lie and say that battling cancer or watching one of my precious children suffer from a debilitating illness was easy or that I e.v.e.r. want to go there again.
But I can say with confidence that facing battles such as those would have been impossible for me if I had not chosen to trust that when God says He’s working ALL things for my good – He really is.
Note: If you liked this post, you might want to read the rest of Candy’s book Who Turned Out the Lights? She outlines how God revealed Himself to her and her family through life-threatening illness, and brought them all to victory. Read more about it and purchase the book on Amazon.