Better Not Bitter, A Child’s Response to Chronic Illness

Compassion & Action, The Fruit of Illness

Have you stopped and considered that the real purpose of your struggles, at a given moment, might be the heart of compassion that God is building within you? Smooth sailing doesn’t develop such a thing, you know. Trials develop our humility, and humility opens our eyes to the needs of others. If we look to do His service during tough times, we will come out better rather than bitter.”
– David Jeremiah, Living With Confidence in A Chaotic World

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One of my greatest ongoing concerns is how my chronic illness will affect my children. My mind often goes to the negative things that illness brings instead of the good that it can work in a soul.

The last 24 hours have been a reminder of the latter.

Yesterday evening I was slumped in a recliner, very weak and unable to respond with words or movement. That’s when I felt slight pressure moving across my forehead with high-pitch beeping sounds. It was a digital thermometer.

My 4-year-old son knew I wasn’t feeling well, so he wanted to help. It was his arm of compassion guiding the thermometer across my still forehead. He hunted the thermometer down and applied it all on his own. It was his idea.

He also spent 15 minutes searching a nearby remedy bag to find something that would help me. He located a help and gave it to Christy who then administered it to me.

This morning as he was headed out the door to school, he stopped and said, “Dad, if you don’t feel good today, just lay down and rest.”

How refreshing! My son is learning compassion and how to take action to help others. God is using hardship in his life to make him better, not bitter. For this I am deeply grateful and pray for the same fruit in my own life.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

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