When Your Child Hurts

painful There's very little that's worse for a parent than to watch their child when they are in pain. The pain can be physical or emotional. It doesn't matter; it still hurts to watch.

To see your child struggle and to know that there's nothing you can offer except a hug and a prayer leaves you feeling helpless and heartsick.

If you've been reading the blog this week, you know that my older daughter injured her knee in soccer the other day. It doesn't seem like it's a tweak or a strain. There's something pretty seriously wrong with her knee. We're headed for an MRI on Monday, and the waiting is awful.

I've been watching my daughter run the gamut of emotions from "This isn't fair" to "It will be OK" to "What if I can't play soccer again?" And I feel completely inadequate. She comes home from school with a grimace on her face because her knee hurts. She walks in the door with a pain in her heart from the friends at school who ask "What's the big deal?" And I can do nothing but hug her and pray for her and assure her that God is in control. Even as my heart breaks for her.

You see, there's nothing I can do. This isn't an injury a kiss and a pat on the back will heal. It's not something that I can wave my magic wand over and fix. All I can do is watch her struggle and place her in the care of the One who can heal her. All I can do is gather her in my arms and hug her while the tears fall. All I can do is hide my own tears and heartbreak from her.

But even in the midst of the pain and the heartbreak, I recognize this: It's in the most painful moments of life that we see God the most. It's in those moments when we're at our lowest, that we tend to look up the most. And when we do, we see God. We are reminded that He doesn't waste a hurt. We know that he doesn't forget about us. We are reminded that we are loved beyond measure.

So, while I hate to see my daughter hurt, while I hate to see her struggle, I would never take the painful moments away from her. Because even in the midst of this particular difficult situation, she's been able to see God at work. She has friends that have lifted her up in ways that I can't, and she recognizes that those friends weren't in her life in the way they are now nine months ago. She knows that God gave her exactly the friends she would need for this moment. She's been able to see that a soccer coaching change a couple of months ago, which was traumatic at the time, may be the best thing for her during this time. She's watching, and she's seeing God's hand in her life.

Without the painful moments, our kids may never recognize how amazing God is. They'll never know the peace that comes with letting God take the lead. They may never truly see how God works in their lives.

So, while this road we walk with our kids is going to have periods of pain and sorrow, we can still be thankful for how God shows up in them. We can take comfort in the promise  that "weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).

In the midst of the hurt, we can look forward to the rejoicing, even as we weep with our kids in the night.