In my previous post, I shared five of the lessons the Lord has been teaching me through my three-year-old grandson Chandler’s illness illness and hospitalization with severe pneumonia. These are in no real order—just the raw truths the Lord has been teaching me during one of the most difficult times in our family’s life.
(If you’ve just come across this and are seeing part 2 first, I hope you’ll take a moment to read part 1 which more thoroughly develops those first five lessons with Scripture verses and explanation.) But as a recap, here are the first five:
- God is sovereign. He has a plan and purpose that is greater than ours.
- Mercy may be found. Even in our darkest moments, God gives mercy and grace.
- Remember to be thankful for the little things. There is nothing like great difficulty to remind you of what you have been taking for granted. Give thanks.
- Serving a hurting heart is sowing seeds that bring a great harvest. There is a multiplying effect to service ministered to a broken heart.
- Trials are common to all people. Everyone you encounter needs encouragement and perhaps to see the compassion of Christ in you.
Here are five more truths the Lord has been teaching me:
6. An anointed mother is a miraculous gift.
Over and over, every day, the heroes in Chandler’s hospital room were Mom and Grandma.
I remember the night that three different nurses made seven attempts at getting an IV in little Chandler’s arm. As long as I live, I’ll never forget his cries of pain as each nurse would leave and he’d cry out, “Done? Done?”
Chandler’s dad, Peter, and I stood there feeling so helpless, just willing the nurse to get it in “this time.” But through the whole ordeal, there were Mom and Grandma holding and comforting Chandler.
Godly mothers are a blessing from the Lord.
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.—Proverbs 31:10, 25–28, 30
But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:—1 Thessalonians 2:7
7. Honesty is key to healing.
Early into Chandler’s hospital stay, he began to realize that every time he mentioned he had pain, normally that meant another doctor coming in and more shots or some kind of treatment.
He developed a strategy for this—he started saying that nothing hurt.
But you can’t get well if you won’t admit that something hurts.
And the same is true with us. If there is something between you and another person or between you and the Lord—if you sense your Christian joy is waning—bring it out into the light. Until confession is made or a hurt is brought to the Lord, nothing can be mended. Whether it is between you and the Lord, you and another person, or simply a wound of life, there has to be honesty before there can be healing.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.—1 John 1:9
8. Everyone needs an advocate.
If you’ve ever had a loved one in the hospital, you know that a patient needs someone who will communicate to the medical professionals on their behalf. They need someone to say when an IV has gone bad or the oxygen is low or the medicine has run out or….
Someone has to be an advocate who will speak the needs of the patient. And when you love someone, you advocate fervently on their behalf.
I’m so glad that I have an Advocate who covers my sin.
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:—1 John 2:1
I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit is my Comforter—one who comes alongside, who cares and advocates.
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;—John 14:16
It amazed me that even in pediatrics there were children who had no visitors for twelve and eighteen hours at a time. They had no one to advocate on their behalf.
But there are also people around us every day who are living without Jesus. They need someone to advocate—someone to lead them to the Advocate, Jesus Christ.
9. Evangelism is always a potential.
No matter where you are—even when you find yourself in an unexpected hospital room—there is always the possibility to tell somebody about Jesus. Indeed, the Lord gave us many opportunities to share the gospel with people we never would have met if Chandler had not been in the hospital.
The tendency in these moments, however, is to fail to see the people around us because of the depth of our own pain.
If anyone had a reason to not witness, it was Paul and Silas in prison. They were beaten and had open wounds. They had been mistreated and were in pain. Yet, rather than use their trial as a reason to not witness, they used it as a platform to share the gospel. As a result, the Philippian jailer and his entire family were saved.
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.—Acts 16:31
I don’t know where you’ll be tomorrow or what unexpected turn you may have, but I hope you’ll at least have a gospel tract and will be prepared to speak of Christ to those whom God may divinely bring across your path.
10. Eternity is everyone’s reality.
When you spend days—or even a few hours—in a hospital ICU, you hear a term more frequently than you ever want to hear: “Code blue!” Immediately, those two words bring eternal realities in front of you as you realize that in that very moment someone near you is facing eternity.
Whether they will be pulled back from the threshold or cross it, you do not know. But you remember that everyone needs to know what Jesus told us in John 14:
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also….Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.—John 14:1–3, 6
Whether preceded by the words “code blue” or not, everyone will someday enter eternity. May God help us to be the witnesses Christ would have us be.
I’m so aware that I’m still in the classroom learning these ten lessons. And I’m aware that I never want to stop learning and applying these principles.
I don’t know where your current “classroom” may be—perhaps a sickbed, a hospital room, a court room, a chemo chair, an unemployment office…but wherever it is, I pray that the Lord uses these truths to help and encourage you and to open doors of opportunity for you to both receive and give the compassion and comfort of Christ.
And finally, I ask that you continue to pray for Chandler. We praise the Lord that he is home and resting, but he still has a long road of recovery in front of him. Please pray the Lord would continue to bring healing to his body, that he would regain the weight he lost in the hospital, and that his follow up appointments will confirm progress.