“Children are the hands by which we take hold of heaven.” –Henry Ward Beecher
Every now and then, I’ll post something off topic on this blog—usually, it’s about some insignificant random thought or football-related news item.
Today is a bit different. Though this is a niche blog about golf, I hope you’ll stay with me today as I post about life, not golf.
About six weeks ago, my cousin’s four-year-old son, Josiah Herring, was diagnosed with a malignant and highly aggressive brain tumor.
Because of the location and nature of this particular type of tumor, the pediatric neurosurgeons say it is inoperable. Using radiation and chemotherapy treatment, doctors have given Josiah anywhere from six to 12 months to live.
Last week, Make A Wish flew Josiah and his family—Jason, Suzanne, and Jason, Jr.—to Disney World in Orlando. They received VIP treatment during the whole week.
The trip gave the family a chance to get away for a week before Josiah’s treatment started, while also fulfilling one of the boys’ ultimate wishes: to go to Disney.
But on Monday morning—their last day at the park—the trip took a difficult turn. Josiah went into a comatose state because of some bleeding and fluid buildup in his brain. Five days later, he’s yet to come out of a coma.
All that’s left for the Herrings is hope. Doctors have told them there is no chance. Past cases indicate there is no chance. But the same God who brought Josiah into this world has the power to keep him here. Faith.
God only knows why these things happen—how a four-year-old innocent child can be stricken with such a detestable disease, how the life of a family can dramatically and tragically change in the few moments that it takes for a doctor to utter the words every parent fears.
No one knows why. Those who claim to understand are either misguided, ignorant, or both. All we do know is that somewhere in this muddy mess—a world in which beauty and tragedy live on every street—God has a purpose. To our simple minds, sometimes it seems so screwed up, so chaotic and fraught with senseless heartbreak.
But if I didn’t believe in a God that makes all things work together, then I couldn’t believe at all. All of this tragedy would have no point. No meaning. Just an endless cycle of despair without a promise of hope or redemption. The day begins. The day ends. Lives come and go. And that’s it. Nothing else.
But that’s not it. There is more. Though we live in a world rife with sickness, Romans 8:28 says all of this will work out for God’s glory.
Josiah is one story. There are millions more; the circumstances may be different, but the stories have the same underlying thread: children who suffer from a fate they don’t deserve. But their lives, though too brief, have just as much meaning to the Creator as ours. His imprint is on us all.
It’s difficult to understand, but God is with Josiah, with every child who suffers. Without a God, how hopeless and pointless would this life be?
If you are a Christian—even if you are not—I simply ask you to say a prayer for little Josiah Herring and his family today. In a time like this, prayer is one of the few comforts.
* If you are a member of Facebook and would like to read more about Josiah’s situation, join the group “Praying for little Josiah Herring.”