Long before “Son of God”, before even “The Passion of the Christ”, there was a great movie with a very deep philosophical theme included. Yes, you knew it, “City Slickers.” In it, Curly was a gritty tough and scary old cowboy named Curly. He told the boys that there was one thing in life that really mattered.
I was thinking about everything we’ve learned about having a child with cancer/handling a crisis/living with a loved one with a terminally diagnosed disease/whatever you want to call it or are experiencing yourself. Many have said that we should write a book about how to deal with it. “Jay, even though you didn’t want advice or guidance or to hear from anyone who has walked before you down this path, some people would want to know what you know/have learned” they have said to me. Perhaps we will write that book, you know, after I finish the first one.
There is a lot, I’ve realized that I would put into that book. Make the most of the resources you have (not everyone has the same resources but we all have something…hopefully. Be open, honest, and vulnerable with where you are and how you feel. Clearly identify the role each caregiver has in moving forward. Make sure that the needs of all loved ones (not just the sick one) are being met. Be willing to and enable those who want to love you to be able to do that. These are all pieces of crucial advice that I would give anyone in a similar circumstance as ours. However, it’s not the “one thing” that I believe is the most important. No, that is something else that entails the least doing and yet is probably the hardest to accomplish.
I had it in mind and ran it past Rachel. She agreed. What is the “one thing” that you need more than anything else? It is simply this. Your child/loved one/spouse/whoever is afflicted…is not your own. Again, they don’t belong to you. They belong to God. He created them. He watches over them. He is their Father (whether you or they recognize that fact or not). Trey is not mine…first, but His. God has graciously called me to raise him, to love him, to care for him, but Trey is not mine/ours but His…first.
You are more than welcome to not accept it or abjectly disagree with that, but it is true. The bible is very clear that each of us were carefully and wonderfully made. It says that before we were born God knew the number of hairs on our head. Now, don’t forget, God so loved(s) them that He sent His one and only Son to die for him…and you. He isn’t some grand puppeteer just toying with you and your emotions. No, He is love, He is the author and perfecter of our faith, He (though it seems very unlikely at times) is in control.
So, in our case, if God calls Trey to be with Him…that’s His call, not ours. If He chooses to have him live, unbelievable bonus for us. Either way, it’s up to Him. Trey belongs to Him…first, not us.
We can get mad. We can get angry. We can take our ball and go home. We can even say that God is not doing a good job of loving him by letting him have cancer (or insert your tragedy/story here). However, it’s just not up to us. He is not ours. If we were to begrudge God…who would win? Pragmatically it doesn’t make any sense to do that. It won’t make Trey better, it can’t cure him, and all that would happen is that someday I would come weakly to the Lord and apologize for throwing a fit. I don’t have the mental or emotional energy for that. Worse yet, I could dig in and never come back to Him. What would I gain from this? I’ll tell you, bitterness. No thank you.
Rachel and I have seen good solid people go down this path. People on message boards/social media just thinking, “If I pray hard enough, if I pray the right way, if I just do x,y,z then God will do what I want.” No, there is no guarantee of that at all. Then, their loved one passes.
It’s the one thing. Trey is not ours. He belongs to God and I praise God for that. He cares more for him than I/we ever could. Do we want him for every moment possible? Absolutely. Do we trust God that He will do what is best? Absolutely. Is it easy? No. Should you do the same with your loved ones “healthy” or not? Well, that’s up to you now isn’t it?