This post gets bumped to the top. I have 3 or 4 in draft form, all waiting for the rest of the words to be put to page. But today, I learned something new. Something I didn't want to. I didn't want to know this truth. But I can't un-know it, so now, what do I do with it? Proverbs 24:12 tells us that "Once our eyes are opened we cannot pretend we do not know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls knows we know and holds us responsible to act."
Today I was bringing lunch, praying with and visiting a friend. She is in the hospital with her precious 3 year old boy battling ALL (leukemia). There have been some complications with his body from treatment and she's frustrated at day 10 of being an inpatient with few answers. I tried to encouraged, I listened, I prayed. Silently, while we chatted, out loud the drive up there, quietly when she went to put food in the fridge and little L was in and out of sleep. Prayed over that boy, the family, the nurses, doctors, etc. This boy is surrounded by prayer, you can feel it.
The nurse came in to change out some medicines. My friend and I began chatting with her about how all of the nurses looked in their 20s and 30s. She said it's a hard, busy floor and most others can't keep up. We chatted about a few things, and then she began the stories I wanted to unhear.
A story about a 18 year old. He's been a patient since he was 16 and when he's inpatient, a lot of times he'll just leave and go to the zoo or the museum. They text him and he comes back just in time for chemo. They can't control him, so they're glad he at least tells them where he's going now. Then the hard part: "His parents aren't involved." What do you mean his parents aren't involved? Her response, only "it's a long, sad story."
My friend and I couldn't believe it. We started asking questions and the nurse mentioned it's more common than we think. She said, "It's really sad when it's babies. This isn't an ICU, we aren't supposed to do all care, but some parents just don't show up." Me, "Babies...that have cancer?" Yes, once a 5 day old. Born with neuroblastoma. The parents 'didn't want to get attached' and so the nurses took turns carrying the baby around in a Bjorn. Can you imagine? My friends with kids, can you EVER imagine?? The nurse said what I thought: "It's not a PUPPY! It's a baby!"
Even worse, the baby that was there 18 months and never ONCE had a parent visit. Can you imagine?????? I think of the orphanages. Different countries have different types. I've heard of EE and C8inese orphanages (not all) that you walk in and it's silent. The babies don't get needs met when they cry, so they learn not to. This was NOT the case at the few Ugandan orphanages I visited and helped. It was boisterous, loud, playing, a little fighting amongst the toddlers, loving 'aunties.' Touch. Food. Diaper changes. Things children need. It breaks my heart to think of children in the other type of orphanges.
Just like it broke my heart today. To think of children, going through cancer, with no touch (besides pokes and prods and pressure cuffs), no love, no parent crying, grieving with them, worrying for them, praying for them. No family and friends surrounding them, meeting needs, lifting them up. Just a baby in a bed that doesn't, most likely, even have a foster family. Heart broken. But, then I remember the truth. As I'm working through my current book/bible study, I learned last night that no matter what I feel, I must know the truth. So, in these hard circumstances, what do I know as truth? That God sees these children, that they are created in His image, that He has a plan and purpose for their life, not to harm but to prosper them. I know that man is sinful and selfish, and all I can do (about that specifically) is pray and repent when I see it in my own life.
So will you join me? Praying, for these unseen children that are fighting for their lives alone, some of them not even able to walk or talk yet. Pray for their parents, that they will come to know the saving grace of our Lord Jesus, and seek redemption and forgiveness in Him. Pray for the nurses and doctors that treat these children, that their hands would be kind and hearts open. Lord Jesus, be near!