Our first experiences with having a baby and with parenting have been pretty rough. When Leland was born, he had a “click” in his hip, which meant we should go to the pediatrician and have it looked at to see if something might be wrong. Due to all the health issues I suffered from postpartum (which is another blog post entirely), we did not get Leland’s hip checked out until he was almost four months old.
At his appointment at four months old, the pediatrician could slide his hip right in and out of the socket. Which I guess is a really bad thing, because he gave us the number for Children’s Hospital and said we needed to try to get him in to see a pediatric orthopedist as soon as we could.
The orthopedist diagnosed him with hip dysplasia. For Leland that meant the ball of his hip had not been all the way inside the socket. It was forming incredibly shallow, and if not addressed, it would mean that his hip could very easily pop in and out as an adult, and he might not walk properly. After multiple attempts at using a brace to fix it, our little boy had hip surgery at six months old.
It felt a bit like “welcome to parenthood – trial by fire.”
Leland’s surgery went well. We were surrounded by our blood family and our church family that walked with us through it all.
As I would post updates on social media, keeping everyone informed on how things were going, what our next steps would be, and how well Leland was doing, quite a few people would comment things like, “Praise God” or “God is good.”
And God is good! We have been totally showered with grace in having Leland’s surgery go so well and to see his little body developing and improving in the months since the surgery.
But friends. We had to prepare our hearts for if things didn’t go well. Things don’t always go as planned.
Surgeries are unsuccessful. There is no improvement seen. You don’t pass that class. Your friend has cancer. Your daughter is sleeping around. Doctors give bad news. Your son is doing drugs. You’re fired from your job. Your husband is looking at porn. You lose loved ones.
Things. Go. Wrong.
Real people. Real pain. It hurts. Sometimes very badly.
In those situations, people are not so quick to say that God is good.
But may I just say, dear friends, that no matter what horrible things life throws at us, no matter the situations we find ourselves in, and no matter what wounds and scars we come out with…God is always good. Always. And we can always praise Him.
The circumstances of our lives never change the character of God or Who He is! Whether those circumstances are good, and a surgery goes well, or the circumstances are bad, and we feel lost in a sea of deep pain.
God is still good.
Friends. We will go through hardships. It comes with the territory of being a human in a broken world. The question is not if we will go through hard things, but how we will respond when we do. Our view of Who God is, what His character is like, must be greater and more accurate than the circumstances and hard things around us. When we lose sight of Who God is, His sovereignty, His love, His justice, His goodness, we being to sink in the waves of our tough stuff.
One of our most powerful weapons, the time when our testimonies are often the most impacting, is when we are surrounded by pain and grief and grit and unforgiving circumstances…and still we praise Him. We trust Who He is. We lift our arms in worship. We believe Him when He said: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2)
We trust He is good. Always. Even when the world around us is not.
One of my favorite hymns is “It is Well,” mostly because of the powerful story behind it. The author had five children die and was on to his way to see his wife (who had also almost died) when he wrote the hymn. Talk about hard life circumstances.
Here are a couple of my favorite verses that he wrote:
“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.”
Sweet friends, when we encounter the things that are hard, the things that bring us pain or disappointment or heartache, may we cling to the truth of Who God is and remember that He is always, always good. He loves us, He died for us, He will be with us. Always.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)