Who can know why the Lord blesses some, and stays his hand from blessing others; why he permits hardship for the one, and ease for the other. What do I have? Blessings and hardship both, knit tightly, flowing side by side – some so close that they succeed one another in a single day. I have learned, as Paul wrote, to be content in all things – in plenty and in want, because my earthly portion includes both. Because of this, I have better perspective on Noah, and the particular challenges he faces in light of how he comprehends the world and the nature of God.
I spent two years searching for a medical diagnosis that continued to evade us. It wasn’t uncommon to see 2 or 3 doctors in a single week. We visited specialists all over the state, and it was hinted by some that it might just be “middle class wife syndrome.”
It was very hard not to ask these doctors if they’d heard of “supercilious jerk” syndrome.
I was in daily pain, and continually begging the Lord for answers. My husband stood by my side. He never faltered. At some point, I stopped asking for answers, and started asking for contentment. “Give me strength for the day,” I prayed. “Let me be the best parent and wife I can be.” I reasoned that if the Lord wasn’t going to tell me what this disease was, I needed to come to peace with how to deal with it. I finally received a diagnosis through the N.I.H. My “portion” was a chronic illness, but also a spouse who supported me through it. And after all the searching, contentment became a part of my portion, too.
Noah ran a fever yesterday that continued to climb. He woke up a little “off,” and continued to deteriorate throughout the day. When his fever reached 104, my husband and I packed a bag and headed to the doctor – who, by a great miracle – had one slot remaining for that day at 7:15 pm. Noah moaned and thrashed in the backseat until we reached her office, where she confirmed strep throat.
Children with autism often feel as if their skin has been turned inside out. On any given day, there are noises, and sensations, fabrics and motions that hold the potential to set off reactions of all types. When that same child is sick, those sensations become nearly unbearable. I once lived in fear of Noah contracting anything because his screaming would rock the windows in his bedroom.
But now that my portion has included dealing with an illness of my own, I can better put myself in his position and love him more completely because I know what it is to hurt. His screams no longer frighten me, for they are often my own heart’s cry. Psalm 73:26 – “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Noah and I, our portions include difficulty and blessing; failing flesh, but the power of God. We have plenty of one to deal with the other, and a growing contentment in all things. Our cups overflow.