The words kept echoing in my mind, “Why do you honor your sons more than me?” (I Sam. 2:29) This was a question the Lord was asking Eli, a priest, about not being firm enough with his sons who didn’t honor God. God had planned for Eli’s family line to minister to him forever but since the sons ignored the reprimand from their father and acted wickedly, He changed his mind. They would die in a battle the next day.
Perhaps I deserved the same warning Eli received. After experiencing a miracle in my oldest son’s life when he came back from a near death coma experience, escaping possible brain damage at three months old, I was facing another crisis. I had been shopping and running a bit late to meet Spencer’s Montessouri class for a field trip to MacDonald’s. When I arrived, Spencer was slumped down in his booth having a mild seizure. We rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.
I wondered if Spencer’s seizure was a result of my own lack of discipline of my sons. Even though everyone in my Bible study did not make this connection at all, I felt very convicted. Because of my own rejection issues at the time and need to be loved, I knew I had been very lenient with my sons and tried to do most anything for them. I also knew I had most likely honored or adored them even over God at times. The lesson seemed to be a warning to discipline them now or risk losing them because God had a plan for their life. I didn’t want to mess that up!
After extensive tests and MRI’s in the hospital, we found out Spencer who was only four years old would have to have a life threatening surgery to remove a carrot size pancreatic tumor. The surgery would involve cutting him at the waistline all the way around to his back to access the tumor on the pancreas. Spencer remained upbeat and would actually say to me, “Don’t worry, Mommy, God is going to heal me!”
In the meantime, we took Spencer home to rest a few weeks and await the scheduled surgery. Alan stayed home one morning with the boys and insisted I attend my next Bible study.
The theme in Bible study that day was on suffering and loss and how God sometimes used it to shape our character to be more like Him. The lesson spoke of Abraham offering Isaac on the altar. I was learning that sometimes the things or people we love the most may need to be dedicated or surrendered back to God to prove our faithfulness. Although Abraham’s heart had been tested as he obeyed, we know at the last minute God had not required the ultimate sacrifice of his beloved Isaac. He sent an angel to stop his hand and provided a ram in the thicket for the sacrifice. I hoped for the same grace with Spencer.
As I was jogging and praying for Spencer that day, I told God how I had appreciated having him for four years. He had been such a joy and gift and I hadn’t deserved him. I confessed my neglect of reprimanding my boys at times and thanked God for this illustration to help me to be attentive to this important area of their lives.
After expressing my gratitude for the privilege of having him for awhile, I relinquished him on the altar to God, knowing He knew best. I further stated that if this is what it took for me to get that dedicated character and to become more Christlike, I was willing. However, if He would give me another chance to parent and watch over my sons, I pledged to try my best to discipline them and bring them up honoring the Lord.
The impression that came immediately to mind was, “Peace I leave with you…” I later found the scripture to be John 14:27 which continued, “My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.” What a relief to have that peace and hope that all would turn out all right. I then composed a poem before going to bed that night.
Rest well, my son
And don’t you cry,
An angel told me you would not die.
Don’t worry in your little head
Especially when it’s time for bed
But snuggle up real close to me
I’ll be the pillow on which you flee.
And when you wake
You’ll find me there,
I’ll have my hand upon your hair,
And oh so comforting to know
Your heavenly Father loves you so.
Through trouble and suffering we persevere
Until we feel His Presence near.
For God who made such little boys,
I pray he remains with all his joys.
So now I ask so selfishly
That this be only a test for me!
And spare him from some other task
And let us realize how much we’re blessed.
The words of “Peace I leave with you,” came to mind-
And I knew the miracle completely Thine.
The day of surgery came and Spencer had an arteriogram to see where the surgeon was to begin cutting. I remember signing the papers and being told of all the dangers of this test on his young body and possible adverse effects. When the test came back, it was inconclusive. The surgeons took some time to carefully study the results and detect the large tumor. Finally, the thick silence was broken in the waiting room filled with tense relatives. The doctor, who was almost apologetic, explained that they could not find the tumor and didn’t understand why it wasn’t showing up on the x-ray! The surgery was terminated until further investigation. In other words, the test was negative; there was NO TUMOR! The tumor had completely disappeared! The ram was provided and we rejoiced! The doctors were baffled having seen the before and after x-rays. They would not give the x-rays out because they were fearful of a lawsuit. We only wanted the x-rays to prove his testimony! We knew exactly what had happened and were not upset! Spencer was right. God had healed him and given me another chance at parenting.
As a young mother, I know I sometimes took my toddlers for granted and wanted time to myself. God taught me valuable character building lessons of responsibility and stewardship of these precious gifts He had given me. He challenged my heart to trust Him with my sons even in crisis and surrender them back to him. The moment of my greatest sacrifice became the precise moment of my greatest miraculous blessing.
(In Gen. 22:16-18 the Lord swears that because Abraham had not withheld his only son, he would bless him and multiply his seed as the stars of heaven and that seed would possess the gate of his enemies.)