Discipling Our Children in Their Suffering

As featured at Servants of Grace
 This article originally appeared on Servants of Grace on March 23, 2020. Read the entire article at this link.
It started out with mild inconveniences. Curious sudden rashes, red eyes, and loss of appetite. But it quickly escalated into something we couldn’t put our finger on. Our daughter was experiencing new, painful symptoms on a daily basis, and the doctors could not put their finger on the cause. When it became clear that her body was having a severe medical problem—something more than could be ascribed to a general virus—my husband and I realized we were up against something far more significant. Something life-changing.

Her bloody vomit made that extremely clear.

After a week-long stay at the hospital, our daughter was officially diagnosed with a self-limiting autoimmune disorder—meaning that the disease would eventually run its course and resolve on its own. For some reason doctors don’t fully understand, her body was triggered to attack itself, and the “treatment” was symptom-management. Indeed, she would need to endure the swelling and the rashes and the inability to eat for a period of months. Some days, she couldn’t get herself out of bed. She lost nearly 20 lbs. in a matter of weeks. There was nothing we, as parents, could do. This was a road she was being forced to go down, and we could not make it easier for her.

Her panicked crying made that extremely clear.

It’s disorienting when a child is suffering. Our parental instinct is to come to our children’s rescue and “make it better.” But life lived in a fallen world means that we cannot always protect our children from disease and death. Money and medicine has its limitations. The truth is that our children are not immune to experiencing the effects of the curse on this world, which means they will look to those charged with their care for comfort, hope, and help when suffering strikes.
Parents can take the divinely-ordained opportunity to convey an invaluable truth: the way we courageously face future uncertainties is by trusting the One who offers us a certain future with him.
Discipling Our Children Through their Suffering
Christine M. Chappell
Christine is the author of Clean Home, Messy Heart and Help! My Teen is Depressed. She hosts IBCD's Hope + Help Podcast and is passionate about advocating for biblical one-another care and discipleship in the context of the local church. Her writing has been featured at Desiring God, The Gospel Coalition, Risen Motherhood, Servants of Grace, and other Christian platforms. Christine blogs regularly at christinemchappell.com and lives in South Carolina with her husband and three children. 
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