I have never been an optimist. I say I am a realist, and when you’re real in a fallen world, you turn into a pessimist. It’s good that you know this about me; it will help you fully appreciate what I’m about to tell you.
Last Sunday my husband taught in our Sunday School class. He focused on the book of James. Chapter 1, verses 2-4 say, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
It’s no coincidence that we had the kind of week we had right before Elian was scheduled to teach on these verses. Having a child unexpectedly hospitalized with a severe illness is certainly a trial. It was a perfect opportunity for me to scrutinize through my realist glasses. But as I look back over the four days Allie was in the hospital, I am filled with pure joy.
You see, just before she got sick, I was lamenting the fact that Allie isn’t a very cuddly baby. She has never been one to snuggle up to our chests or lay her head on our shoulders when she is tired. She much prefers to be set down, left to herself to drift off to sleep. And as she gets more and more active, she wants her time on the floor to explore. As much as my mommy heart wants to scoop her up and rock her in my arms, the girl just doesn’t care for that.
Most of the time her independent spirit is a good thing. I certainly have my hands full with Lexi, and I can’t usually cater to every whimper Allie makes. The sad fact is, when you have more than one child, neither gets your undivided attention very often. Not even when they are sick.
Unless they are hospitalized.
During her four day stay at Baptist Memorial Hospital, Allie clearly didn’t feel well. She was exhausted, seriously ill, and emotionally spent. Because of all the tubes and wires, she was confined to ten square feet of space. But she didn’t fuss. She just laid in my arms and let me rock her. She slept on my lap, with her head against my chest, calmed by my heartbeat. She got my undivided attention and care in her weakest hours, which I most certainly would not have been able to give her had she not been hospitalized.
In the midst of our trial, the Lord gave me precious moments to share with my baby. The sweet time I had with Allie encouraged me to persevere through these circumstances. God was showing me His presence and His goodness, reminding me that He could be trusted to use this trial to deepen my relationship with Him even more. And that is what I consider pure joy!