February 2009 our daughter lay close to death in Sutherland Hospital, diagnosed with Meningococcal Meningitis Sepsis. They’re big words that few of us understand but most people know the implications. We’re not sure where she picked it up. We were just thankful that after a stint in ICU, with blood cleaned and body strengthened, she came home with us. Not everyone has such a good outcome. Next year will be the 10th Anniversary of her struggle for life. I sometimes wonder how that moment in her life impacted her and this week I was reminded of just how significant that event continues to be in her life and the lives of her family.
Her text message began with a quote, author unknown.
I was in Doller Tree last night and there was lady and two kids behind me in the LONG line. One was a big kid, one was a toddler. The bigger one had a pack of glow sticks and the baby was screaming for them, so the Mum opened the pack and gave him one, which stopped his tears. He walked around with it smiling, but then the bigger boy took it and the baby started screaming again.
Just as the mum was about to fuss at the older child, he bent the glow stick and handed it back to the baby.
As we walked outside at the same time, the baby noticed that the stick was now glowing and the brother said “I had to break it so you could get the full affect from it”.
I almost ran because I could hear God saying to me “I had to break you to show you why I created you. You had to go through it so you could fulfil your purpose.”
That little baby was happy just swinging the unbroken glow stick around in the air because he didn’t understand what it was created to do, which was, “glow”.
There are some people who will be content just “being” but some of us that God has chosen, we have to be “broken”. We have to get sick. We go through a divorce. We have to bury a spouse, a parent, best friend or our child, because in those moments of desperation, God is breaking us. But when the breaking is done, then we will be able to see the reason for which we were created.”
I can see why some people might read this and scoff, but my daughter wrote, “This made me think of why I got sick…”
When life becomes so much about the self we can wave ourselves around happily but never see the much bigger and better purpose for our existence. Sometime self has to be broken before we can glow. In an age of materialism and humanism with no reference to God we often view suffering as the great enemy of our existence. C.S. Lewis called it the megaphone of God. It’s not a time to blame God or abandon God but a time when God may just need to break us in order that we might glow.
I don’t see suffering as an enemy. I don’t like it much or wish for more. I certainly don’t want to spend more time in ICU with my children or anyone for that matter. However, while suffering broke us as a family I now stand in awe of the glow God brought to our home and relationships. Our daughter’s illness broke her and brought me to my knees but far from extinguishing the light, our daughter discovered God’s love and I was reminded of it.Suffering may just be God’s way of getting your attention for the promise of something better. In fact the Christmas child, Jesus Christ, suffered and the glow of His mercy, grace and love toward a sinful and broken world is at the very heart of a genuine Christmas celebration.