Long overdue update on Julia

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Thank you for your prayers for our high school daughter, Julia. As you know, we’ve had a crazy first semester with some undiagnosed illness that landed her in the hospital twice. Many have emailed and tweeted, asking how she’s doing.

I’m joyful to report that she is doing much better. All those absences are (hopefully) behind us. The niggling thing, though, is we still don’t have a WHY. We don’t know WHAT it was. We don’t know HOW she licked it. We don’t know much of anything, really. She was sick. And now she’s feeling better. At least for today.

She still has headaches, just not as severe. She’s learning (as are we) to deal with them, navigating pain’s maze as best we can. Sometimes it seems too much for a fifteen-year-old to bear.

I’m praying that God would use this trial in her life for good. Our pastor said the same thing as he’s prayed for her. Many of you have echoed this too. The anger she’s had over the situation has faded a bit, and she is learning endurance.

But we’re all a frail lot. We understand afresh just how fragile life is, how our health can tilt in a moment. We’re grateful for the now, the moments of lucidity and joy.

We are learning to be content in the tension of not knowing the why, what, how. We are counting blessings. We are sick of sickness. We have a holy longing for that day when all tears will be wiped away and all disease will cease. It’s a world-weary ache.

For those of you walking through health issues with someone you love dearly, hear this:

God has not forsaken you. When you’re at the end of yourself, reach out for His strength. He loves to marry His strength with your smallness. Sometimes the questions will remain unanswered. Sometimes the pain of your loved one will make you feel God is cruel or indifferent. We can’t know His sovereign plan, but someday we will. Now’s the time to rest and trust, though it seems hard or impossible to do. Just know that you are seen. And please, please, please take a break for the sake of you and your loved one who suffers.

For those of you who have an undiagnosed or chronic health issue, hear this:

You grow far more through the trials than the triumphs. It does seem unfair and wrong and arbitrary that you suffer and others seem to be happy and healthy. And yet God promises He has a good plan, even in the midst of your pain. It’s the hope He offers you, the Almighty hand when you feel you can’t walk another step. In the mystery of your condition, lay the need to know everything about it in the hands of Jesus. Ask God to use you to further His kingdom, to do great, amazing things through you. Ask Him to show you that He loves you, by meeting you in small, you-shaped ways. And realize that this life is not all there is. Heaven will be more glorious, more astounding, more healing, more amazing than you can fathom. This present suffering is nothing in comparison to that.

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So we soldier on, trusting God. We live in the tension of the now and not yet. We pray. We trust. We cry. We hope. We ask questions. And we try to love each other well.

Q4u: How about you? Have you struggled with an unknown illness or walked alongside someone who has? Tell us your journey.

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