We are new friends with different backgrounds, but we share one thing in common: we both have children with medical issues. Though I have faced emergency medical situations with our son for 10 years (and his genetic condition will continue to present lifelong struggles), this momma is in a new battle with her infant. Someone who knows a little of my story introduced us and thought I might be an encouragement to her as she walks the lonely and fearful road ahead. I gladly entered the conversation, empathizing with her journey. I remember the support and physical presence others had been to me in previous difficult years, and I wanted to give in return to someone in a similar life situation.
After this initial introduction, I visited momma and baby in their apartment a couple of weeks later to learn more about the baby’s background and the current medical concerns. When I left that day, we agreed that she would call if she was ever headed to the ER, and I’d meet her there to sit and wait, to serve as an extra set of ears, to question and listen to the doctors and to help remember medical terms and procedures in the bombardment of information. Two nights later at 1 a.m. I got a text message that she was heading to the ER at the Children’s Hospital, a place we know well. It was time to keep my promise. She was discharged two days later.
Fast-forward two months to a Wednesday morning. I had blocked out the day to finish preparing for my upcoming Friday morning Biblical Hermeneutics class. The lecture was on “The Story of the Word: The Divine Drama of Scripture,” focusing on God’s intention, from creation to consummation, that we bear the image of God in his earthly Kingdom and are called to be Kingdom workers until he comes again.
Ten minutes before ushering the kids off to school and sitting down to study, a text came that the baby was in the hospital again. They had been admitted two days earlier but didn’t tell me until the baby had taken a turn for the worse in the night. She wanted me to come up to the hospital.
Later that morning, I sat next to my friend and her sister in a conference room in the critical unit and listened to the doctor’s retelling of the previous night’s “code red” procedures. The doctor asked this momma questions that no parent should ever have to be asked. In tears and exhaustion, her sister drove her home to rest, and I left the hospital.
As I was leaving the parking garage and driving home, the tears fell. I audibly cried out, “The last thing God that I want to do right now is go home and prepare for this lecture! My heart is grieving for this momma and her baby!” Immediately, these thoughts formed:
“This is exactly the point of the lecture. You are just getting an opportunity to live it out. There is a story to tell, yes, but also a story to live. You are living out the Kingdom as an image-bearer of God. What a privilege.”
Two days later in class, I shared a little of this story at the beginning of the lecture. My teaching on “The Grand Biblical Story” had collided with my life’s story, and it made an impact on me. The good news of Jesus, which we have the responsibility and joy to proclaim, is a story to tell, but it is also a story to live. I got the honor and opportunity to do just that for a friend.
By the way, the baby is still fighting.