In the Back 9 of life one thing has become very apparent to me–the “fixing to” rule. You are either fixing to come out of a storm or you are fixing to head into one. Having traveled all over with golf I realize I need to take a moment to define a very southern term, “fixing to”. It means “getting ready to”.
Some of us learn the “fixing to” rule at a very young age and some of us become adults before this rule resonates with us. I hate storms while I am in the middle of one, but God has always been faithful to teach, shape, and mature me through each storm. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few storms I would change. I brought them on myself but, in God’s mercy, He forgives. He refines and teaches many lessons that grow me despite any responsibility I may have had for the storm.
Whether your storm is one that you caused or not, God still seeks to teach us, refine us, and grow us as a result of them all. Remember, He takes all things and works them for the good (Romans 8:28) whether we witness it all the time or not. I live by total FAITH, hoping to see the good. He has allowed me to see it lived out many times. I have realized time and again that I am on God’s time, not mine.
Recently, I received an inbox from a dear friend asking me how I would explain the recent storms in Oklahoma and the devastation that occurred. Her young children were asking questions. Since I have older children, she figured I would be a good person to ask how to respond. I prayed a lot about this answer. I especially felt the weight of responsibility because my answer was going to be relayed to impressionable young children. It was very hard for me. Trying to explain some of the harsh realties of life to naive young children can be challenging. I’m not sure I did such a great job but this is what I know and believe with all my heart.
God loves everyone more than we can wrap our minds around. He gave up His one and only Son to pay for our sins on the cross. He did this because of our sin. EVE’s sin in the garden represents fallen man and our pride, trying to be like God. Sin is what brought death and destruction into the world. It is our original sin that interrupted God’s plan for perfection. He didn’t create sin or destruction. We did.
With that being said, I cannot explain all occurrences in this world. I can’t explain why our son, Thomas, at age 5 got a chronic illness. But I can say, why not Thomas or the Bradshaws? Why would we be so special that bad things wouldn’t happen to us? We are NOT any more special than anyone else walking the face of the earth. God doesn’t play favorites like we humans do. He is a God of love, grace and forgiveness. Storms that come in life that are not related to our choices are not a respecter of who you are or what you have done or haven’t done. Matthew 5:45 tells us, “…He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends the rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”
This is what I believe and have experienced personally. There are going to be storms in our lives. The ones we bring on ourselves, like getting a speeding ticket. The Bible speaks about that, the law of sowing and reaping. Galatians 6:7-8, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” The verse that follows, verse 9, is key. It keeps me going when storms come, whether I am responsible or not. Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”
Lesson? DO NOT GIVE UP!! I realize there are degrees of storms like there are with hurricanes. Perseverance and faith (trusting without seeing) are two lessons we can learn, drawing close to God and feeling His presence in the midst of horrible circumstances. Remember, when we are weak, God is made strong.
I can say over and over again with a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, I have seen God’s strength countless times. When I was learning about the disease but had little knowledge of diabetes management, I had to make judgment calls. I saw God’s faithfulness repeatedly.
God was there when we were in a movie line at Christmas when Thomas was five. It was a sold out crowd for the first night release of a new Disney movie. Thomas was experiencing a sudden, dangerously low blood sugar. We couldn’t move because there were so many people everywhere. We didn’t have juice to give him to drink to help bring his sugar up. He needed to drink because his sugar was so low he didn’t have the strength to chew. He laid his head on Bill’s shoulder and seemed to be passing out. Just as I started to shake and panic a man in front of us, a complete stranger, said, “Here, take this Coke. My older brother is a Type 1.” We took the Coke, pushed the straw in Thomas’ mouth, and he started drinking the Coke. I turned to thank the stranger but he was gone.
I know that I know that I know, God provided through that man and it prevented Thomas from having a seizure. Unfortunately, Thomas has had 4 seizures in his life. The first one was 3 weeks prior to the movie episode. It took Thomas 3 days to get over that one and he was very sick. No one really knows what long-term effects a seizure has on the body. Studies have not been done because no one wants to put someone into a seizure just to study the effects.
What experts do know is, if you have a seizure, you are very susceptible to having another one shortly after. The body is weak and takes weeks to return to normal. As I sat down at the movie theater with weak legs and held Thomas in my lap, fighting tears of relief, I felt a rush of comfort and peace like a warm blanket wrapped around my shoulders. It is a feeling I have felt many times in storms.
WE can chose not to see God here but I don’t. You see, I can’t tell you how many other times in the last 15 years “God things” have happened. Care for Thomas that I did not orchestrate. God has shown me over and over again that He is in Control and has Thomas in His hands. As recent as this year a stranger helped Thomas by giving him a drink. He was experiencing a low on the interstate and had to pull off the road while driving. He called to tell me about it afterwards. I cried because I was so far away but I also cried because Thomas got to experience God through a stranger when he was in trouble and couldn’t help himself.
WE hate diabetes, but none of us, especially not Thomas, would trade the ways in which having this illness has allowed us to experience God’s presence in the midst of a storm. It has strengthened our faith and our TRUST!