“But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
~ Luke 18:16
I was listening to the radio this morning after dropping my children off at school. The show hosts were talking about someone who’s have a rough go of it, and asked if we knew anyone that seemed to be getting hit with a lot. My first thought was of one of the ladies here in town (her whole family, really). Her son lost his home in a house fire two weeks ago. Her daughter has cancer and is suppose to go in for surgery this week or next. And her grandchildren (her daughters 3 kids) were in a car wreck last weekend. The funeral for their 8 year old little girl is today.
And then I thought Bethany. I use to babysit her when she was a spunky little 4 year old. She was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012 – just a sophomore in high school. Her tumor (who she jokingly named “Phillip”) is inoperable. She’s already outlived her life expectancy, but had to stop taking the medicine that helped keep it contained. I found out on Friday that it’s spread. A lot. There’s nothing the doctors can do for her. And I remembered that Bethany has always been a miracle child. The doctors told her mom and dad that she would be born with autism. That they would be better off having an abortion. Bethany doesn’t have autism – but even if she did, she’d still be wonderful in every way. Doctor’s don’t know everything.
Then I thought of another of my friends. Her 2 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with brain cancer. Her tumor was operable. They got a lot of it, but she’s still going through chemo. Her fight isn’t over – it’s just beginning.
And then I realized, that all three of these tragedies involve children. Which brought me to Jesus’ words in Luke 18, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (v. 16). I don’t know that I’ll ever read that verse again without thinking of the message our pastor preached this past Sunday. He walked us through Scriptures that showed why he believed that the 8 year old little girl I mentioned in the beginning of this post is in heaven with God today. She hadn’t outright accepted Christ as her Savior. But she did come to church every Wednesday night, Bible in hand, and she asked questions. She was hungry for more of Christ, even thought she didn’t fully grasp the scope of the Gospel from what he could tell.
We all sin and fall short the glory of God, even little children. But Jesus welcomes children with open arms. They might not understand everything God has done for them yet, but they don’t reject it either. It’s hard to lose a child – or even think there is a possibility of it. Yet we can know that Jesus is waiting with open arms.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
~ John 16:33
I’d like to close this post by asking you to pray. Pray for this family that is going through so much. Pray for Bethany and this other little two year old girl that are fighting brain cancer. I don’t know God’s plans. But I know Jesus is waiting with open arms. Bethany already knows and loves Christ. The two year old girl I mentioned is part of a Christian family and their faith is what’s getting them through. Jesus is carrying them. But they all still need prayers (the girls and all three families). Prayers for strength. Prayers for healing (both physical and emotional). And prayers for the non-believers in their lives who don’t have hope through these trials. Prayers for peace.
If you’re in a spot where life seems to be throwing more at you then you can handle, here are a few books that I recommend:
Prayers for Emotional Healing by Stormie Omartian
The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering by Randy Alcorn
If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil by Randy Alcorn
If God Is Good: Why Do We Hurt? by Randy Alcorn
Ninety Days of God’s Goodness: Daily Reflections That Shine Light on Personal Darkness by Randy Alcorn
Trusting God When Bad Things Happen by Shelley Hitz
Healing for the Broken Hearted by Shelley Hitz