December 3

December 3, 2020
by Suzanne Phelps

Not of this World
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
 -Romans 12:2

Not of this World.  It’s a challenge for most to be in this world…but not to be of it.  Yet God clearly calls us to move above and beyond what the world and culture call us to be. And God will grace us with His perspective when we least expect it.  Our son Dane gave us the gift of perspective. Having a child with a chronic illness or condition will change you. Surrounded by many parents of healthy children worrying about how tall, smart, popular, or talented their children will be, one wonders what hope these children have when their lives are only just beginning, yet so much pressure is already placed upon them…pressure for things that don’t concern God or His plan for each of their lives, but that conform to the world’s definition of a “perfect child.”

When Dane was born, he showed no signs of a medical condition. As a matter of fact, when the doctor handed him to me his exact words were, “They don’t get any healthier than this.”  As our first children (boy/girl twins) were 7 weeks early, this was music to our ears.  “Thank you, Lord, for a healthy baby boy.”

As the weeks passed, however, Dane started to present with his rare skin condition.  What started out looking like a form of eczema or dermatitis, continued to unravel into something much more serious and severe.  After a few cycles of scaling over, he became erythrodermic from head to toe. He lost all of his hair and his skin was so thin in some areas he’d turn blue if cold, red and extremely itchy if too warm. In other areas his skin was much too thick; the soles of his feet would crack into deep fissures that caused great pain. Even his newly erupted baby teeth began to crumble apart.  People would stare at him, so much in fact that our young twins would often grab his hand and shield him from sight in order to protect him.  Yet, despite his pain and discomfort, despite every hardship, he was the most joyful child, radiating God’s love wherever he went. He had a beautiful mind that kept him yearning to learn, while blessing him with the compassion of an adult. And his sense of humor, smile and laughter were contagious.  Eric and I would often tell others that all of his trips to specialists and doctors were not so much for him (as he was not diagnosed until 7 years after his passing) but for every doctor that met him, as so many of them commented how changed they were after meeting him.  Some even contacted us after his passing to let us know how he had led them back to faith. It was the way in which he handled his condition- His peace, trust, obedience, and overall demeanor touched the hearts of all who met him. They saw the power of God in him; this tiny boy with such a broken body, yet people saw God in him! What greater gift could we ask for? The world seeks its definition of perfection, but our Lord does not concern Himself with such things.  He simply seeks each one of our hearts to be opened to His love and to trust in Him. What an amazing God!

So when we move away from living of the world, such terms as the perfect child, the perfect timing, the perfect…. Seem to fade away as we focus on God’s will.  He will take everything we raise up to Him with open hearts and obedience and He will do beautiful things with what we entrust into His care.  The world may not value the broken, but God certainly does.  And HE most definitely values every life…. Just as no two people have the exact same fingerprint, every life carries a “fingerprint” meant to leave an imprint on this earth for the glory of our Creator. We are not our own, we are His, and the moment we accept this truth is the moment we stop missing out on the calling He has for each one of us and the moment we start to live life to the fullest.  May we all find peace in knowing every single life matters…every broken one of us, whether we are given one day or 100 years.
Heavenly Father, thank you for Your Word which teaches us truth. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14   Help the world to see that You are the Creator and Lord of all.  You determine when life begins, You determine the works You will accomplish through each of those lives.  You are the God of hope that gives each parent of a child with health issues the assurance that this child matters to You and Your Kingdom. Help change perspective, Lord, help us to let go of our perceptions and transform our hearts and minds to see the way you see. Bless the healthy children and their parents with Your perspective for each of their lives, blessing them all with unique gifts that they may use to glorify You. And Lord, help those parents who have already lost a child to this life and bless them with the hope of your saving and renewing powers.  They are safe in your loving arms, in the care of the One who created and love them more than we could ever imagine. I thank you Lord for all the children, young and old-for the gift of life and for the gift of perspective. In Your Son’s name we pray, Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen.

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