I have always thought my Son to be an intelligent little guy. He is marching, not running, not walking or skipping but marching toward 8. He seems to really enjoy life with most of his or our serious moments compartmentalized so he can deal with them later. He has two things on his mind and that is how to have fun and the second is how to have more fun. It is wonderful to watch a child who is bright, work at perfecting his skills in reaching his two goals in life. The other night we were drawing and my boy asked me a question that he had been putting off until the right moment. He wanted to know why God would not answer his prayer. He wanted to know why God had not healed me.
As a result of a diving accident at the age of 16, I was paralyzed just below the mid chest down with some limited damage to my arms and hands. Since my injury I have used a wheelchair for mobility. One could say my disability is substantial. My son has only known me with my disability and he has grown up adjusting to what I could and couldn’t do. He is probably much more surprised at what I can do than what I can’t do and since the day we brought him home from the hospital, I have been surprised at what I can do as a father. I never thought I could be a real father given my disability. Since my son has no other role models and knows no other children with a parent who has a disability, he really has no one to talk to with the exception of asking me and his mother questions.
We were drawing and looking up from his coloring he asked me, ”why does the God we worship and the God that has the power to create everything not heal you” and with that statement he started listing off our Lord’s accomplishments. He then told me that he keeps praying for my healing. My son does not like reading just yet but he listens to Gods word and has taken advantage of a Christian education. I made the attempt to let him know that he was God’s greatest creation and my healing. I did my best to explain that there were times in my life that I absolutely believed God provided a physical healing saving my life for some purpose. I told my son that I felt my disability was a catalyst for my spiritual healing that is to know and follow Jesus Christ as my Savior. I could tell that he understood portions of my explanation but he wasn’t buying all it.
As we talked and laughed and as he tried to sneak the cartoons on he noticed that I had drawn a cross and a rough sketch of my wheelchair. I represented myself as a tall mouselike cartoon figure standing facing the cross as if in prayer. The drawing represented my feelings at the time and that the cross represented my healing. I decided to show him my drawing to help explain God’s effort and healing in our lives. He began crying uncontrollably which was not exactly the response I was looking for. I called for reinforcements and before I could say “Special Forces” Mom was in the room holding our son.
I wasn’t sure if he was crying because he was happy and that we would all share in God’s mercy or if he was crying because the picture reminded him of what he and I didn’t have given my disability. As things calmed down I found myself wishing that my son would compartmentalized our discussion until later. It was obvious he wanted a better explanation. I began to think that the father and son talk he and I would have some day would be a piece of cake compared to this.
I began by telling him the truth. I told him that I did not know why God had not healed me. I explained I had given my life to the Lord and that I study, pray, give my time, give financially, live under his grace and share Christ with anybody in the community that will listen. I said that I try to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit realizing failure and success is not up to me, only effort. I told my son God would use our efforts for his perfect will. I went to Genesis and explained sin had come into the world and death was a consequence of sin. I told my little guy that I and I alone was responsible for my accident. I shared that through all the hurt and suffering caused by my disability this suffering gave me the emotional, physical and intellectual strength to look at who I was and where I was heading in life. I said for some reason God had given or allowed me to have my disability as a tool to serve others and a means to find his mercy. We agreed to talk again.