Our family is having quite the day today.
It was kickoff Sunday, one of the “bigger” sundays of the year.
It was also my first time back in the pulpit since I injured by throat more than a month ago. I wasn’t sure if I could handle it, so it was a little nerve-wracking.
It was also Noah’s big football game at McMahon Stadium, a little thrill they give the peewee kids mid season so they can say they’ve played where the pros play.
It was also Kidz Church launch Sunday. Shauna leads that ministry so she was up to her eyeballs in prep, planning, teachers, and curriculum this morning.
So five minutes before the morning service started, Shauna found me in the foyer and said,
“Got a message. Noah is on his way to Children’s Hospital. I’m going to meet them there.” I gave her a hug, stepped back, and stood there, stunned. How was I supposed to preach knowing my son was injured, but without any idea how badly? And yet I knew I was supposed to follow through, to preach my heart out.
I laid my heart out for God in a fresh way, then stepped up and preached. Not preached my heart out, I’d already given it to God. But talking about a mixed bag of emotions.
Right after the service I snagged my younger two and drove to Children’s Hospital. We found Noah and Shauna in a waiting room and after one look, I knew his leg was broken. Shauna gave me his football gear, which I proceeded to take back to the car.
But the car wasn’t in the spot I’d left it in. It had rolled down the hill in the parkade and crunched the back of another vehicle. In my haste I’d forgotten to yank the parking brake. An officer was there, taking pictures and taking notes.
Did I mention that I didn’t have my vehicle registration with me?
Or that when it came time for the x-ray, I was the one to lift his leg while the tech lady slid the film under it? That I, to love him, had to cause him star-spangled pain in the process? Not pretty.
It’s been one of those days. A Sunday from hell? No. Not from Hell. I’m clinging to the goodness of God in this, accepting my brokenness as a necessary condition and embracing what God has for us in this difficult time. Jesus is gently teaching, graciously offering his peace and presence. Oh, I love him.
And this wonderful, battered, bruised, and broken son who cried out during the x-rays, “Why is this happening to me?”
I had to be honest.
“I don’t know, son. But I love you.”
“I just want this to be over. I just want to go home,” he sobbed.
I squeezed his hand tight, offering an iron grip that held him with my left hand on one plane, and the hand of Jesus with my right. But it won’t be over today, or tomorrow, although he is home now, reclined in the living room. He’s got a long haul ahead of him, unless Jesus does a miracle or five.
Oh, it hurts me to watch my son in pain. But life is hard. And the only way to make our way through it well is to hold Jesus’ hand. I resolve that if nothing else, we’re going to learn that lesson through our valley.