I lie there in bed and ask Him, “Why is this happening to us?”
His answer: “I’m strengthening you.”
It’s now 4:30 a.m. The little girl lies directly on top of me with her arms wrapped tightly around me; it’s the only place she wants to be. In the darkness I stroke her golden hair and gently shush her, telling her I’m here and that it’s going to be okay. I get up and carry her into the next room. I fill the syringe once again with cherry red liquid and put it into her mouth, knowing she’ll get at least a little comfort from it. We lay back down and as she moans I cry out, “Jesus! Please help us. Jesus. Please help.”
We arrived in the jungle 3 days ago. That “Honeymoon Period” they promised us- it’s not happening. Since we landed on this island we have watched our daughter suffer. We have laid beneath mosquito nets, us gripped with fear, she as hot as fire. We have called out to Jesus and prayed in the Spirit and pleaded with him to have mercy on her.
Satan, he always plays dirty, hits us below the belt, where it really hurts. And I can’t think of anything more excruciating to a parent than to watch their child in pain. After four days of fever and with no ER up the street we admit that we’re afraid. “But remember,” Kevin tells me, “He can only go as far as God will allow him.”
I recall the prayer I prayed in the car when I was alone, just six days before we got on that plane. “Lord, give me strength.” So I know the Father’s hand in is this and that He is for us. I see glimpses of us telling this story in the future. And I know this isn’t nearly the last time that pain may knock. But God is near when it hurts.
I know we weren’t meant to live pain-free on this Earth; I’m learning that pain isn’t bad because we are meant to groan for His returning. For we were designed to need Him and we’re destined to grow even needier still.
And so when the honeymoon ends, I can rest assured that love does not. It matures, grows deeper, and yes, is sometimes painful. This love affair between us and God, this journey we’re on with Him, it leads to unexpected places. But at the end of the day I still say that He can be trusted. He called us to this jungle, and He’ll care for us here too.
Today the little girl tells three-year-old jokes and giggles and plays with her sister. The color has returned to her cheeks. The Joyful one, my daughter, she has a destiny in this place too. And she will walk it out.