Monday, October 26, 2009

Making the Most of Every Opportunity

A couple days ago a friend asked on Facebook if anyone had any advice for her toddler who has to be sedated for an endoscopy (a camera thing is put down his throat into his G.I. tract I think to find out why he eats so little). If I'm wrong, correct me in the comment section.
Anyway - he has to be sedated so her question was how to comfort him and prepare for the anesthesia and how to get her mind around the sedation.
I began to reflect on my experience with Jordan (8 sedated surgeries in two years with one of the surgeries resulting in nearly a week of sedation with a breathing tube which can make people so crazy that they typically keep them full of anti-anxiety medication the entire time). I relish the few times that our challenging experiences can actually prove useful for other families in similar situations, facing the same feelings and needing practical advice.
Often the first thing that comes to mind is the basic practical advice such as, try to enjoy the time in the waiting room with a cup of coffee, a book, undivided time to read your Bible, etc. This time my mind very quickly went to "making the most of every opportunity."
Ephesians 5:15-16
"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil."
As Christians (those who put their trust in Christ) we are promised trials and it does matter how we face those trials. We should anticipate these times and see them as fantastic opportunities to "train our children in the way they should go so that when they are old they will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 My sugestions to Kim were to use this as a time to put her words into action and show her son what it really means to trust God. It is a chance for her to pray with him, to explain (in 2 year old language) the sovereignty of God, the directive that we are to "be anxious about nothing but in everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present [our] requests to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Phil 4:6-7 She can be self-controlled and strong for her son as he looks to her for a reaction and response.
I have prayed so much with Jordan over the past three years that she has come to rely upon prayer (as much as she can really get her little mind around it) as a source of comfort and strength. With eight surgeries she has had literally countless doctors visits, pokes, prods, needles, tests, x-rays, pin removals and of course her all-time favorite the cast removals using the handsaw. I can't count the times I've had to hold her down and she still talks about cast removals with her screaming and me covering her mouth with my hand. She would know it was coming so while we waited for the doctor to come in she would literally CLING to me while I prayed with her. After her last big surgery she was in pain, uncomfortable and literally all she wanted was for me to pray. She would cry non-stop, "Pray Mama, PLEASE!" This reliance on prayer (at a very basic level for comfort) came from me purposing, as scripture commands, to make the most of every opportunity. As John MacArthur states in his commentary, "We are to make the most of our time on this evil earth in fulfilling God's purposes, lining up every opportunity for useful worship and service."
Everything in our lives, as Christians, should be used to "redeem the time" (MacArthur states that this refers to one's lifetime as a believer) so what better opportunity than to show your children directly how to do well in trials. I hope that Kim will make the most of this trial with her son to practically show him God's plan for us during the trials in our lives.
I LOVE this picture for the post because it captures the image I have in my mind that I've seen countless daughter - my baby - staring at me, unable to say anything, watching and waiting for my response in order to gauge how she should respond. By God's grace and through MUCH prayer I can look back and say that much of the time I made the most of those opportunities.

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