In my last post, I talked about cancer and how many people are affected by it. It has struck close to home again...this time touching a 3-year-old boy named Jedidiah Harper. His mom, Lori, and I have developed quite a good friendship...even though we've actually only met each other once. She has been so supportive of us through our journey, especially since Hannah went to Heaven. She's probably the most faithful reader of this blog, judging by the frequency of her comments! I even have a link to her blog, "Harper House", from my blog. Yesterday, they found out that Jed has rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive cancer, and tomorrow, they will be at the Oncology Clinic at Arkansas Children's Hospital. I've shared often about how overwhelming that first visit to the oncology clinic is...you're still just barely able to process the fact that your child has cancer, and suddenly you are sitting in a waiting room with all these bald children. You have to sign permission forms that describe in detail the devastating side effects of the very treatments that are designed to save your child's life (including causing different types of cancer in the future). You hear all these medical terms that you've never heard before in your life, and you have to somehow absorb all this information and make rational, life-altering decisions. You realize that whatever control you thought you had over your life is gone, and that you are going to have to place your precious child's care in someone else's hands. And all you really want to do is just take your child home, tuck them into their own bed, and pretend none of this ever happened. Please pray for Jed and his mom and dad as they go through these frightening experiences tomorrow, and join me in praying for complete healing of Jed's cancer.
In these kind of situations, you just want to ask God, "Why?" I've found that rather than asking "Why", it is much more constructive to ask, "For what purpose?" In chapter 9 of John, the story is told of Jesus healing a blind man. Jesus was asked, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" His response: "Neither this man nor His parents sinned...but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life" (John 9:2-3). There is a purpose in suffering, and that is to display the glory of God. It is a huge comfort to me to know that our suffering has a purpose, and it will not go to waste, as long as we are willing to display the glory of God through it. The Harper family is the kind of family who will do that, and I am looking forward to seeing how God will display His work through their lives.