A few days ago,11-7-16, I gathered Levi from school and we picked up some lunch for he and I and Alex. As we were sitting in the kitchen eating, The following took place…out of the blue…
Levi…Uncle Alex, have you always been sick and hurting?
Alex…No, Buddy, I always had bad headaches even when I was a little boy like you. But, I got really sick when I was about 14 years old.
Levi…Well, did you tell your Mother.
Alex… Yes, I told her.
Levi…Did she do something for you?
Alex…She took me to a doctor…then another doctor…then another doctor…and we went to lots and lots of doctors…all over the place.
Levi…You couldn’t find one to fix you?
Alex…No, we haven’t. But, they do give me medicine to help me feel better.
Levi…Why can’t they fix you, Uncle Alex?
Here’s where I stepped in.
Tonja…Levi, all kinds of people get sick…all kinds of sick…and all over the world. Sometimes there is medicine to help people get well. But, sometimes there is not any medicine. Some times medicine just helps you feel better…but not get well. And, there are times that God chooses to heal people that are sick. But, there are also times that He doesn’t heal them.
Alex…That’s right, Levi, sometimes even with medicine you still don’t get well or you could get sicker.
Levi…Why did God say Alex couldn’t get healed?
Alex…Levi, God has a plan for everyone that lives. But, we don’t always know His plan. I just know that God has a plan for me. He loves me and He doesn’t plan for me to be healed right now.
Levi…But, do you have to stay sick and hurt?
Alex…yes, I do…unless God changes his mind and heals me.
Levi…then we have to pray for you everyday. Do you pray for you everyday, Uncle Alex?
Alex…yes, Levi, I ask God every day to heal me if He thinks it is a good idea.
Levi… I love you, Uncle Alex, I want you to be well. I will ask God every day. You do to, OK?
Alex…I will, Levi. I will.
I share this with you, my friends, to tell you of the absolute positiveness I have in my heart of hearts that God is working every hour of every day…in you and me…and in little 5 year old boys and their 34 year old uncles.
Levi has heard about Jesus forever. He was prayed over at conception. He was bathed in prayer as he developed within his Mother. He was sick and nearly died the first two weeks of His life. But, God stepped in. And he has learned at church and learned at school and he has learned from his parents and both sets of grandparents, and his extended family. He has been wrapped up in the love and stories of God the whole time he has been in this world. He has heard and learned. And, today, this question came. Alex and I answered him as honestly and as plainly as we could. Telling him truth in words he could understand.
May, I step out here and make a quick observation…
There will be other questions along the way. But, a child needs to have an atmosphere around him where he can ask any questions, about anything, at anytime. No question is frivolous. No question is silly. And, I don’t think any subject is taboo. I raised my own boys with this idea…and they took me at my word.
If a child or even an older child has questions…about anything at all…there should be adults around to answer that question then and there with no hesitation or embarrassment. Because, they will get the information somewhere. And, who better than you?
This exchange today at once made my heart soar with proudness as well as break with sadness. I felt proud of the way Alex was so gentle and careful answering Levi’s questions. And, I am proud of the man that Alex has grown into. He lives the life God planned for him with kindness and gentleness and grace. But, I am overcome with sadness at what the reality of the situation of his life is. I break in two when I think of what Alex lives with every day…what he has endured all his life…and the prognosis of the future. I’ll tell you straight out…I’m no saint. I hate it! I don’t want to shoulder it and I don’t want him to suffer. It awful for anyone to live like this. I can say it’s not fair…but I’m not in charge of the fairness of the world.
But, if I believe that God is who He says He is…then I believe that He does what He says He will do. My faith is not what I am feeling in the minute. I’m human…I’m weak. And, above my whining and complaining….I know He knows what he is doing. He created this beautiful blond little boy to carry out a plan in our world. I make a conscious decision to trust in His life course for Alex…even if I don’t like. His plan for my son has everything to do with His goodness and wisdom…it does not depend on whether Alex or Don or I agree or not.
Perhaps his job is to be an example to all of his family. Perhaps his job is to be near to answer honest questions from his nephew. Perhaps his job is to be an encourager to the rest of our family. He lifts me up and is always ready to help me when I’m having a particularly bad day. He gets out of his sanctuary to see about me. He treats me with kindness and respect and gentleness.
Today is his birthday. He turns 35. He is my middle son. He is my hero. He is my example. He is my sunshine.