This week's Real Talk is about suffering. There are many types of suffering that people experience. Why do some people suffer and others do not? Why do some suffer more than others? I do not know if anyone can really answer these questions.
But I do know that God provides for us in the midst of our suffering.
My oldest son has a form of MD (muscular dystrophy). My youngest son also has some symptoms of it, and struggles some, but his is a milder form. My middle son was blessed with very good health and not a trace of the MD. For that we are thankful, but I think sometimes he gets called on more than his fair share. He is very patient and understanding of his brothers and helps where he can. The one I want to talk about here is my oldest son.
He will soon be 24 years old and lives day in, day out with pain and achiness. When he sits down he just has to fall into the seat. Then he struggles to get back up. He struggles to walk. It is getting harder and harder to go up and down stairs. He has to be very careful around children or pets because just bumping up against him could cause him to fall. On uneven ground especially he has a hard time, but using a walking stick helps. When he goes out somewhere he uses a cane and lately a wheelchair, because it's a little safer for him.
Sometimes he accepts his disability and handles it very well. Other times he gets depressed. It can be hard for him to see others doing things he cannot do. Often I feel like I have failed him because maybe I didn't do enough when he was smaller. I know it isn't my fault, but I just wonder why he had to have this problem.
My mother heart aches for him. I wish I could make it all better.
It does help me to write about it. I am so thankful for him and know that he tries so hard. I wish I could help him more, but I'm not always sure what he needs. Sometimes I resent that he has to have so much help, but I try not to show that. I don't resent him. I resent the fact that he struggles. I ask God for courage and strength to be able to smile and help him realize his worth and his importance and to be able to encourage him. Why does he have to suffer so much? I don't have the answer.
He is a writer. When he was younger, he used to tell me that he thought God allowed him to have MD so that he would take time to write, because if he didn't have it he probably would be doing something else. He's been working for several years on a fantasy series, changing and improving it. I'm looking forward to seeing him have the first book ready for publishing. He has joined a local writing group, which includes some published writers and an editor. They have been very encouraging to him and love his work. He really looks forward to the monthly meetings. These are good things, but we all still struggle. I want more for him and I don't know how to go about it.
So I ask the question, “Why?” I don't understand.
I know all the pat answers - “God must have allowed it for a reason.” “You haven't done anything wrong to cause this.” “Maybe one day he will be healed.” We hope for healing but that is not always God's answer. He has promised strength in weakness and often chooses the weak to accomplish His purposes.
There are times when he is feeling very encouraged and is so upbeat and happy. He encourages me. He makes cups of tea for me and helps with some of the cooking. During those times he tries to bring a sense of joy to our family and does it very well.
Despite his condition, he has two nephews who absolutely adore him. He will sit on the couch and they will bring dinosaurs and other toys and he will be so imaginative with them as they act out stories together. Just recently one of them said he was his favorite uncle, because he was so much fun to be with.
But he still suffers.
I still wonder why.
I still don't have the answers.
I had him read this, because I didn't want to write about it without his permission. After reading he said that he doesn't really think the same as he did when a child. What he told me was that he believes the MD is a way that he can take part in the sufferings of Christ, and is what God is using to teach him humility, since a child of God must be humbled before they are exalted, and must suffer with Christ before they are raised with him.
It reminds me of the thorn in the flesh that the apostle Paul asked three times to be removed, but look at God's answer found in in II Corinthians 12:9. He says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
There will be a day when my son will be healed. It may not be during his life here on earth, but one day he will be made whole.
This is Day 21 in my 31 Days of Love, Faith and Creativity.