Several days ago I was at a diagnostic clinic having blood work done. Across the hall I could hear a child screaming. I then saw the toddler run out of the room, still crying and looking very frightened. He had probably had this procedure done before and knew what was coming. I felt so sorry for the little fellow because I knew he couldn't possibly understand the reason for the pain that was being inflicted on him.
Later I thought about my mother after she suffered a severe stroke. I had such a wonderful mother, who was so kind and loving throughout her life. After the stroke my husband and I both wanted to keep her in our home even though the other members of the family felt it would be too much for us because my mother had to be turned every few hours, day and night. But we wanted to give it a try. God miraculously equipped us to care for her until the end of her life. She lived about four more months.
One day we were changing mother's bed sheets and it was evident that this was bringing discomfort to her. At one point she looked up at me and with pleading eyes, said, "What did I do to deserve this?" It just about broke my heart. I loved her so much and would never bring unnecessary pain to her. I tried to explain why I needed to change the sheet and knew I had to complete the task, even though she didn't really understand. Just like the little boy that was crying and afraid didn't understand.
When suffering and adversity come to us, we are tempted to look up and say, "Oh, God, Why? Why? What did I do to deserve this?" And yet the pain continues. If we could see the complete picture as God sees, we would then understand His plan and purpose. We would see that something of eternal value is being done through the pain and struggle. But in our limited knowledge and small frame of reference we cannot possibly understand and what seems to us a silence from heaven is actually a time when heaven is very near. How sweet is His promise, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) He is there all the time.
God made this so clear to me when I was reaching out to meet the needs of my precious mother.
Sweet is the promise, "I will not forget thee,"
Nothing can molest or turn my soul away;
E'en though the night be dark within the valley,
Just beyond is shining an eternal day.
Trusting the promise, "I will not forget thee,"
Onward I will go with songs of joy and love,
Though earth despise me,
Though my friends forsake me,
I shall be remembered in my home above.
When at the golden portals I am standing,
All my tribulations, all my sorrows past;
How sweet to hear the blessed proclamation,
"Enter, faithful servant, welcome home at last."
I will not forget thee or leave thee,
In My hands I'll hold thee,
In My arms I'll fold thee,
I will not forget thee or leave thee;
I am thy Redeemer, I will care for thee.
Charles H. Gabriel
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.