Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
By Gary Sims
I stood alone in the dark looking down upon his bed as he quietly slept. Peace had finally come after several weeks of anger, rage and pain. It had been years since I had made this visit to his room in the middle of the night. When he was younger and when an entrance into his domain would not cause strife and rejection, I would quietly enter the darkness and listen to his steady breathing while he slept. Being near him always had filled me with a sense of awe and wonder. Simply being near enough to hear each breath and to smell his presence had always lifted me from whatever gloom or anxiety that had invaded my sleep that evening.
From the moment he was born I had been filled with a sense of wonder for my son. Everything about him, from his dimpled smile to his uncanny ability to imitate noises, brought joy into my heart. He was a creation of God destined to bring love and glory into the world.
His heart is huge. It has the natural capacity to love in a way that very few hearts ever attain. Even as a little child his ability to reach out and embrace those in need was almost uncanny. He has always understood when others were in need and with hurts to heal. In all situations, he has defended the underdog. He has also been quick to push aside friendships if they intended harm towards others.
This was my son – a gift from God to the world, in which I was blessed with a front row seat. Each step of his life revealed a new wonder to behold like an onion unwrapping its layers. A musical gift evolved from the ear that could imitate any sound. French Horns, trombones and all types of guitars came into his hands and all those around were blessed by his music. Teachers were in awe and fellow students were inspired. The future brightened with each musical opportunity. Marching bands, brass ensembles, jazz bands, church praise bands and hard-core rock bands were his canvas. The brush strokes of his genius revealed the glory of God to all who listened.
And then came the anger...
Darkness permeated his abundantly large heart and the world began to cave in like a cascading waterfall. Pain replaced joy. Suffering replaced love. He was able to hide his pain from us for awhile, the size of his heart holding him erect even as the foundation of life crumbled under his feet. But when it completely filled with pain it brought him crashing down like a teeter-totter suddenly over weighted at one end. Crashing to the ground and filled with agony and pain, he found, for the first time in his life, that he could not rebound. The darkness was too heavy and the pain too deep. Violent fits of anger suddenly gave way to silence. As far as he could tell, it was over. Life's journey had ceased and inspiration had run dry. Nothing could reach through the darkness to shed light or ease the pain.
Our lives were suddenly filled with ambulances, emergency rooms and doctors; too many doctors. The hours stretched into days and the darkness continued to hold its grip on his heart. Prayers were lifted from around the world while all sense of life for us involved seemed to end.
And with it, the diagnosis…
How could this be? Why would God allow His wonderful gift to the world to become so damaged? Couldn't He see what he was capable of becoming? Shouldn't He help unleash the good that would come? Isn't His plan for us supposed to be good? And who better to reveal His glory than through the wonderful heart of this beautiful boy?
It didn't make sense and the darkness began to reach out and grasp the hearts of all those around. Sadness gained hold of our world. Fear and doubt established beach heads on our hearts. Songs of praise were replaced with prayers of pain. The glory of a bright and promising future was hidden by the dark, overcast skies of disappointment and worry.
But now I stand here in this dark room where peace has once again washed upon the shore. His breathing is steady and quiet sleep has found its way into his heart. With the diagnosis that struck fear in our hearts also came the medical treatments that began to instill hope. Our lives have changed and the memory of these dark days will always be with us. More darkness is sure to come, but so will joy. The music is still there and his heart is as big as ever. His smile, though not quite as freely given, still shows itself as though breaking through a mask that can't quite contain the love within.
As I reach down and adjust the covers that had come loose, I whisper a quiet prayer of thanksgiving. The words of the psalmist quietly seep into my thoughts and acceptance of God's will is reestablished. Yes, we are all fearfully and wonderfully made – especially my son, a special gift from God.
Gary Sims is a husband, and father of two teens. He is a Lay Worship Leader and Teacher at First United Methodist Church, Albuquerque, NM. Gary writes a Lectionary-based daily devotional entitled "Reflections of the Spirit", which can be found at http://www.faithwriters.com/member-profile.php?id=2297
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