When you fear bad news, unknowns and other gifts

We always knew that (barring a miracle) (which may still happen) glaucoma would be in Cameron’s future.

If you’re new here:

Cam’s our eldest. He turns ten in April. He was born blind: dense bilateral cataracts and microphthalmia. It’s a long story involving many rocks and as many hard places.

Don’t operate: your kid stays blind. Operate: your kid will almost-definitely-certainly-probably develop glaucoma, which leads to blindness. Operate too soon: glaucoma sets in faster. Delay surgery: drastically reduce his chance of functional visual acuity.

Like I said, long story. But today Cam has about 20% vision, owing largely to the Best Freakin’ Optometrist on Planet Earth, his dad. (Biased? Me?)

To cut short (another) long story of the past two weeks: Cam has developed glaucoma in his left eye. Thank God, there’s no damage to the optic nerve as yet. He’s receiving excellent treatment and there’s hope we can manage the condition well, warding off for a long time yet the slow fade to black.

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But let me be real. This thing flung us straight back to the first months of Cam’s life, sparking all my PTSD triggers. Same numbing fear. Same dark dread that awfulizes a terrifying future in which all the lights have gone out in his world.

Again, the news could have been spectacularly worse. We’re so, so grateful his eyes are still healthy. But the fright we got reminded me of three things –

#1   Bad News is temporary. Good News is everlasting.

When Cam was six weeks old and we got his initial diagnosis, a friend gave me Psalm 112:7:

They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.

It’s always stayed with me. We do not fear bad news. We have a hope that does not disappoint. His name is Jesus. And we do not fear bad news.

Except when the Bad News is fearful and we forget the brave things we’ve read and written, said and sung and mostly believed and suddenly the fear is clinging like white on snow.

Thing is, the psalmist doesn’t say there will be no bad news. He just says we needn’t fear it. And Ann Voskamp rightly says, ‘All fear comes from thinking that somewhere God’s love will end.’

God’s love never ends but eventually the story does. The story ends with the Good News defeating forever the Bad News and until that happens God’s love is strong enough in and through all our Bad News, and underneath are the everlasting arms.

IMG_20180203_103752#2   The agony of the unknown isn’t all bad.

Cam’s situation is fraught with uncertainty. We have no idea, really, how this game will play out – if or when we’ll be called off the pitch because the light’s fading.

But the truth is we’re all caught in the in-between, neither-here-nor-there, midlife-crisis unfairness and joyous expectation of living with eternity in our hearts. Heaven-spun. Body-bound.

Not one of us knows what tomorrow looks like. It’s possible that abundant, on-purpose living only begins when we embrace that.

We needn’t be fatalistic, just intentional: choosing to see all the colours in today, while it’s still today, and while we can still see.

IMG_20180216_121938.jpg#3   Suffering comes with a purpose and a promise.

This is not me getting all Pollyanna on you. This is me with mild panic attacks declaring truth that five minutes from now I might struggle to believe.

No one knows for sure what Paul’s thorn in the flesh was, but there’s lots of evidence that he gradually lost his sight so it could’ve been that. Three times he begged God to take it away.

God said, No.

Not because Paul didn’t have enough faith, but because the thorn was a gift that came with purpose – My power works best in weakness’and promise – ‘My grace is all you need.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Sweating in a garden above a city on the darkest night in human history, Jesus asked His Father to take away His suffering too.

God said, No.

There was purpose and promise in the suffering and I’m so very glad God said No because, man, where would we be if He’d said Yes?

So we believe we’ll see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living and we keep praying for miracles for our boy. But if the Father says No, I’m banking on grace enough to trust that reason and rescue – purpose and promise – are lacing together the strong fabric of the future.

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. . .

I hope the weekend is all it needs to be!

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13 comments

  1. I so appreciate the way you express the faith-fear-faith fluctuations. And the way you help me, as I read your words Dalene, feel better in that ink on paper has expressed things I feel and navigate Thank you. Also I hadnt quite realised the details of your firstborn. Will join with you for trusting for a miracle for him. So much love

    Like

  2. I love how you write, how you inspire not only me but people whose lives you have touched.

    Thank you for your obedience and thank you for sharing a little piece of your heart with each story.

    One day soon, when the moment is right, I too will write and share my story.

    Much love, blessings and strength on your journey.

    With respect

    Sharon Alvarez Port Elizabeth, South Africa

    Like

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