When Problems Come

Today’s devotional is from an article written by my son, Clark Wrather, for his church newsletter. Clark is the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Broken Bow, Oklahoma (He was called to be the Pastor of First Baptist Church of Yukon, Oklahoma in 2012). The title and Scripture were added for the devotional.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. – Jeremiah 17:7-8.

No one really wants to hear that their baby is not perfect.” Those were the words Libby and I heard from a pediatric neurosurgeon at Children’s Hospital in Dallas a few weeks ago. All I could do was nod my head. The doctor continued and said, …we’re most likely looking at surgery.” The phrase hit me like a shot to the belly from Evander Holyfield.

Mason, the newest addition to our family was born with three dimples at the base of his spine. According to his doctors, this could be nothing or it could be something. Sometimes these dimples indicate that there is an underlying problem with the spine. The problem could be several different things and most of them are easily correctable by surgery. Often there is a connection that leads from the dimples on the outside all the way to the spinal cord on the inside.

There could be a microscopic opening from the dimples all the way to the spinal cord. This means any infection that Mason has could enter through these openings and travel to his spinal cord. An infection there could cause paralysis or death. Because of this, the neurosurgeon did not recommend that we wait until Mason was older to do surgery. Because it has the potential to be very dangerous, the doctor said that exploratory surgery should be done even if an MRI does not show anything.

Surgery” – the word just reverberated through me when I heard it. How could they do surgery on such a small baby,” I wondered to myself. Needless to say, Libby and I were dazed and upset during our drive home from Dallas. The upcoming months no longer seemed like a future full of wonderful opportunities waiting to be discovered. Instead, they loomed dark and menacing inspiring the kind of fear that only the great unknown can give.

At times, I have thought about why this happened or that it seemed unfair. A couple of times the thought, how could God do this to my family,” would float across my mind. Usually, another phrase would come to me at these times: they killed my Son (God speaking).” It was a still and quiet voice, but gave the impression of iron beneath velvet. My Lord was right. It could be much, much worse. I should be deeply thankful that Mason’s problem may be correctable with surgery.

I know my Father in heaven did not make this bad thing happen, but he could use it as an opportunity to work creatively in my life. I also know that whatever happens in the dark weeks ahead, my Good Shepherd will be right beside me, leading and guiding me through them.

(As of June 2014, Mason has had three surgeries for this problem.)

(Whatever happens in this life happens in the shadow of life. There should never be any doubt of God’s love for us.)

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