They were any other family. Active, loving, playful. They, the mom and the dad, were beautiful examples of all that God expects of those that he makes husband and wife, mother and father. Their bond was strong, their love even stronger. Their children, siblings, bicker and squabble, but their bonds, too, were growing stronger and stronger. Sisters, leading, following. Brother, teaching, learning. They worshiped together, prayed together, lived together, love together. This family that God created. This family that embraced all that God offered; their love, their each other. She was any other child. She shined with the joy of play, the shimmer of love and the brightness of childhood. Her eyes sparkled, bright blue, full of wonder, amazement and curiosity. She embraced life, although at her tender age she couldn’t know that’s what she was doing. She was the reflection of God’s pure love. A love that doesn’t go untested.
If you saw her, you wouldn’t know. You wouldn’t know the evil that lurked just beneath the surface, right in the heart of all that makes her go. The growing, changing evil, bent on taking her life. If you saw them, you wouldn’t think that anything was different or special about them. You wouldn’t think that they would soon be spending their days encouraging, loving, comforting this little one, the one in the middle, the one with the sparkle in her eyes. You wouldn’t think that they would soon be spending their nights in silent, tearful prayer for the life of their daughter, knees red, swollen, sore. But they are. And she is. As mother and father reach out to those who know, love and care for them, they unwittingly tap into a well of prayers and love so deep that only God knows. No, they are not alone. Not alone in prayer for their daughter, not alone in sorrow for what she has already lost, not alone in compassion for what she has to endure. Not alone in their battle for her life. Not alone.
We are the ones they don’t know. Our names are hidden from them. We are any other people. We are any other families, with husbands and wives and children. We are beautiful examples of all that God expects of those who call him Father. By his grace we are not praying for the lives of our children, laying silently in hospital beds while drops of poison are forced into already weakened bodies. By his mercy we go to soccer games, baseball games, end of summer picnics. We buy school supplies and agonize for our children about the expectations in school. We bring them instead, to ballet lessons, piano lessons, Sunday school.
But God hears our prayers. God hears us cry out for the innocent children who suffer daily from the evil of cancer. Take a look, here. This is any other child. Her name is Kate. She is 5. She has a brain tumor. Now, please, take a few moments and pray for her. By His mercy and grace she is not my child. But my tears are real, and my heart aches as if she were mine.