Children's faith an example for us to completely trust in the Father
by Julie VanSpall
Photo Caption: Not having a schedule or to-do list can make Julie VanSpall feel like she is lost at sea without a life-preserver. Yet, “we all need to seek God and surrender to his will,” especially in challenging situations, she writes. ( designpics.com )
I am a planner and a list-maker. I feel calm when I know that I have some control in my life. I like deadlines and calendars in order to have an idea of what to expect and of how to pace myself in reaching my goals.
Removing lists and timeframes from my life makes me feel a bit like being lost at sea without a life-preserver. I panic, losing my focus, my confidence, and often my patience. As a self-professed “control freak,” I hate to be reminded that I’m really not in control.
We all need to seek God and surrender to his will in our lives. When faced with difficult choices, we must pray for guidance. We must accept the fact that answers might be slower in presenting themselves than we’d like. We also need to realize that God’s answers might not always appear in forms we readily recognize.
When we are involved in painful predicaments, we need to trust in God even more, no matter how difficult this may seem at the time. Recently, a close situation has reminded me of this very reality.
Friends of ours have a young son who has been diagnosed with lymphoma. Prior to his diagnosis, I listened to heart-breaking stories of doubt and fear. Without information, timeframes, or concrete ideas of how to fix the problem, the family looked an array of “what-ifs” in the eye. Not knowing what they were facing, nor knowing where to start, all they could do was be present to their son and trust in prayer and his caregivers.
He was admitted to hospital on Ash Wednesday and the “Lenten” nature of his journey was not lost on me. Thinking of his parents, I thought of Mary, watching her child suffer and not being able to change God’s plan.
Mary knew from the beginning what her son was destined for, but as a human mother, nothing could have prepared her for the agony of watching her son suffer, knowing that all she could do was comfort him from the sidelines and, along with his companions and loved ones, ultimately stand by to let the plan unfold.
Until the diagnosis, I’m sure our friends felt similarly helpless. They had to put their own fears aside to keep their son calm and help him face the poking and prodding of every medical professional who entered his world. They had to shed their own tears in silence, as worry and disbelief loomed. They had to trust, knowing that they were helpless bystanders and that all of this was out of their hands. I know this is part of God’s plan, but honestly, plans such as this are particularly difficult to understand, this side of heaven.
Yet, through all of the trials, the innocence of a four-year-old boy shone through. As his father said, “he … has no idea what cancer is, or that it is scary, or that he is even sick.” He just knows that he trusts his parents. They are with him, so he can face his fears. They are beside him so he can sleep at night. His extended family and friends bring him favourite foods and comfort items. Even through physical pain, love is what he knows. This is full surrender.
Children are perfect models of faith for us. They may not like what they are told to do, but they’ll eventually concede because they trust their parents. They don’t over-examine situations because they leave that up to their parents as well. We are called to do the same.
As adults, we definitely have a responsibility to make choices in our lives, but ultimately we need to trust and give our worries to our parent, so that he can hold our hands as we face life’s battles, so he can bring us comfort when we’re in pain, so we can hear his loving voice when there’s nowhere left to turn.
This Lent, I pray for the ability to surrender control, trust like a child, and seek God’s plan for me. I also pray for the full recovery of our friends’ little boy and ask you, please, to do the same. God bless.