It’s been almost 21 years ago now. Our little Jessica was only four years old, and yet on this day, the Lord would use her to paint a spiritual picture for me that I pray I will never forget.

The day started early. The alarm was set for 5am, and we were to be at the hospital at 6. There was pre-op; then we’d meet with the anesthesiologist. Jessica would get her gown (and a fuzzy teddy bear from the nurse), and then we’d meet with the surgeon. We sat in the pediatric waiting room and watched as Jessie played happily with the hospital toys. She seemed the picture of health. Why were we doing this? If there were only another way. But the doctors had explained that the recurrent infections and high fevers could be dealt with in only one way, and it would require major surgery. They would make an incision in the abdomen, cut the bladder, lay it open and work from the inside out. The surgery would repair the problem, but recovery would be painful. We looked at the clock and then glanced at each other. Reggie called Jessie to come sit on his lap. “Now darling,” his voice sounded calm, “the nurse will be here in a minute, and then we’ll get you all ready, just like we talked about.” “Okay, Daddy,” her tone was quiet and serious. Reggie bowed his head, “Let’s have a word of prayer…” … “Daddy?” …“Yes, Darlin’?”… “Will it hurt when I wake up?”…“Yes, it will, Darlin’”… she paused… “A lot?” … He pulled her in closer, …“Yes, Darlin’”… We sat still and quiet.

Within minutes the preparations were finished, and Jessie was being wheeled toward the operating room on a gurney. We walked along side— Reggie on one side holding her left hand, and me on the other holding her right. As we approached a large set of double doors the nurse paused, “I’m sorry, but this is as far as you can go.” Jessie looked at her Daddy with fear in her eyes. Reggie leaned down close. “It will be okay, Honey. You go with the nurse now, and we’ll be right here waiting for you.” She hesitated and then gave one short nod of her chin. We stepped to the side, and the nurse hit a button on the wall to open the doors. Jessie tilted her head for one last look back. I’ll never forget the look in her eyes…if I had to describe it in one word…I would choose the word…”trusting.”

We stood there arm in arm and watched the doors close. I can’t really describe the deep ache that we felt, but it was as real as any physical pain.

Hours later we found ourselves at the bedside of a different little girl. Her face was swollen and pale, her brow was furrowed, her hair was wet with sweat, and her eyes were glazed over, as if it took all of her concentration to cope with the pain. She whimpered quietly, almost like she wanted to cry, but was afraid it would make it hurt more.

This was far worse than I had imagined. What must she think of our love? This little girl trusted us, and look what we’ve done to her. How, in the midst of this pain could we tell her that it was for her good? How could she understand why?

Reggie took her hand and bent over to kiss her brow. “I’m right here, Darlin’,” he whispered. She looked up at him and her furrowed expression melted. She smiled sweetly and looked into Reggie’s face lovingly. “I know, Daddy.”

I looked on in wonder as I realized that she didn’t need to understand why. I was amazed at the simple childlike trust that was displayed before me. And then it hit me. As a Father pitieth his children…and except YE become as little children. I suddenly saw the picture before me so clearly. How our hearts pitied our little one…but the ache that seemed overwhelming was but a shadow of the deep love and compassion our Lord has for us in our times of pain. And what of the example of my own little child? If she can trust us with no understanding of why we would hurt her so, how much more (infinitely more) does my heavenly Father deserve my trust. Oh dear, kind Father, give me the faith of a child. Help me to trust You even when I don’t understand why. Give me grace in times of pain to hear your voice, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” and may I gaze lovingly into Your face and with confidence of heart reply, “I know.”

Categories: Faith & Trust