TODAY'S BREATHING SPACE
After seven weeks, with Johnathan weighing five pounds and breathing on his own, we took our son home, rejoicing in the victory. Many battles still lay ahead: three and a half years of horrendous febrile seizures, as well as almost losing him again on the mission field in an incident when he required mouth to mouth resuscitation. He has since matured, outgrown these seizures, and today is a robust, healthy teenager who is already taller than his dad!
There are probably many answers to the question “Why do people suffer?” but they are seldom simple. It is not enough to say “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taketh away,”4 regardless of the context, nor to ask as Jesus’ disciples did, “Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents?”5 We may not discern why people go through what they do, and unless God clearly shows us, we must be careful not to judge them. Rather, we must pray for them. Because suffering is deeply personal, God normally reveals the reason only to those who seek Him with a vested interest.
At any rate, any explanation of suffering that fails to include satan’s malice is as incomplete as if God’s sovereignty or man’s responsibility were left out. Nowhere is satan’s malicious role in human affairs revealed with greater clarity than in the Old Testament Book of Job.
This piece is from Mark’s and Pat’s book on their 22 years in Zimbabwe, titled My African Dream where they talk about Ethan’s birth, early years, and his being at Wheaton College (2017).
July comes fast and Pat’s due date draws near; a scan shows a shadow on the brain of our unborn child. Serious concerns are voiced at the clinic and more tests are scheduled.
That evening at Grace Church of the Valley, the pastor’s wife, Tish Webb, prays earnestly over Pat and our unborn child.
Pat goes into labor the next day, and Ethan Aaron is born after a short labor on July 12, 1997. To our utter relief, he’s healthy.
Hello ---- my wonderful son!
At three weeks of age, we board a plane with our newborn. Although totally unaware, Ethan has begun a trip that is bound to shape him.
What a trip I’ve just finished - a passage of life. Although I would’ve wished for more time with Dad, I’ll always be grateful for those eight weeks we had together.
Our next rowing trip is all the way to Cape Town by bus. Mark and the boys accompany us. After a visit to the ocean, Ethan tells his dad to stand next to him. He then promptly jumps up on a chair, claiming, “I’m taller than you!”
And quickly gives his dad the sweetest five-year-old kiss, saying, “I’ll never forget you. I’ll never let you die.”
Ethan, our youngest, is now on the launch pad, fuel burning rapidly as he fills up on the Bible at Wheaton University, and plays soccer before he is rocketed God knows where.
Our stories and the stories of our families continue, and they will continue on until Jesus comes; then forever. For in truth, our stories are all one: His coming to save us, your sending us, and our going to share his message of salvation. Together, we are spending ourselves to buy the field wherein we have found the greatest treasure mankind has ever known – unending life and joy in Jesus Christ.
NOTE: This article was originally published in "The Cleansing of the Heavens" by Mark Roser