As I think of our lives and the suffering of Christ, I remember that our own suffering cannot compare to His suffering. Often His will can be painful and hard to understand, yet, if we allow our suffering to go through Calvary, then it will bring forth life. Every hurt, every pain, everything in our lives that often seems so unfair to us must come to death at The Cross.
I want to share with you one of the most painful experiences of my life. As a Christian, I believed this was unfair and I could not understand Godís purpose.
Seventeen years ago, our first grandchild came into the world. My husband and I were both in the delivery room at his birth. We thought he was the most precious gift God had ever given to us. At the time, our daughter Sharon was single. Our grandson, Bryan, was the result of a brief affair she had after her divorce. She was living with us through the whole nine months she carried her child. She rededicated her life to Christ and promised The Lord to give her child to Him all the days of his life. We dedicated Bryan to the Lord in church when he was only a few days old.
He was a fussy child and our daughter would sit up many nights just rocking him. We would get up and find them both asleep in the rocking chair in the morning. Whenever you would dress him in the morning and start to put his shirt over his head, he would scream as if you were trying to kill him or something. Several times, he just quit breathing on us.
We would rush to the doctorís office with him. By the time we arrived at the doctors Bryanís breathing would be fine.
When Bryan was three months old, Sharon moved out of our house and moved in with Eddie, a young man she had met before Bryan was born. About three weeks after Sharon moved out, she was on her way to town and Bryan started having a seizure and stopped breathing. Sharon was in a panic. She didnít know what to do so she headed to the hospital. When they arrived at the hospital, Bryan seemed fine. Sharon refused to leave the hospital because she knew something was wrong. They allowed her to stay for a while to make sure his breathing was normal.
About an hour later, Sharon called crying and upset.
. ďBryanís head has started to swell,Ē she sobbed.
They were sending him for some x-rays, so we rushed to the hospital. When the tests were completed, they came to the waiting room with several doctors and announced that they were taking Bryan into protective custody. They believed someone had shaken him severely and we could not even see him without someone else being in the room with us. Sharon a let out a scream that chilled me to the bone and doctors and nurses came running from all over the emergency room. Seconds later a doctor came and gave her a shot to calm her down.
We were all in total shock. How could this happen? Bryan was the joy of our lives. How could anyone think we could ever hurt him?
There was no known history in our family of seizures, so we called a member of his dadís family currently living in our hometown to inquire if there was a history of seizures in their family. The more we tried to figure out what had happened, the more questions we asked the doctors and Department of Social Services, the more convinced they were that we were just trying to find some lie to cover up what had happened to him.
Bryan had to undergo surgery to remove the fluid that was building up around his brain and during this time, several preachers came in to pray for him.
We knew some of them and others we hadnít met. However, all of them proclaimed in their prayers, ďThis child is a prophet of the Lord.Ē
I just knew God would work everything out. I believed that after the court heard Sharonís testimony they would send Bryan home again. For three days, I sat outside that courtroom fasting and praying, pleading with the Lord to let us have Bryan back, but the court gave him to the other grandparents who never wanted anything to do with him. They had moved to Texas when they discovered Sharon was expecting his child. They claimed that their son was not the father of her baby. When Bryan became ill, his Dadís grandparents called the family and told them if they did not return and help Bryan, they would cut every one of them out of his will.
There were many years of court battles as Sharon tried to get Bryan back. However he remained in the custody of his dad. His dad, Larry was not the one raising him though. The responsibility was left to his parents and grandparents. By the time Bryan was twelve, he experienced the death of most of his dadís family. With only his Great-Grandmother still living, his dad was faced with the responsibility of raising Bryan. He moved one woman after another into their home and Bryan was expected to call all of them Mom. On top of this, his Dad was taking and dealing drugs from the same home in which he was raising Bryan. They discovered a meth lab in the house where our grandson lived. Bryanís Dad is now serving twenty-five years in prison and Bryan is without his Dad. His Dadís grandmother was raising him until she too passed away.
Sharon had legal rights to visit Bryan but she saw him only a few times a year on birthdays or special occasions. She was not allowed her to leave their yard with him and she was never allowed to form any lasting bond with him. This was against the court orders which allowed her to take Bryan anywhere during her visits.
When his great-grandmother passed away, Sharon was not informed of her death. When she went to visit him on his birthday in December she discovered all three houses on their property were empty. She had no idea where they had taken her son. Some months later we found him. His aunt, his Dadís twin sister, had come to town and moved off to Texas with Bryan. As soon as we found him, his aunt moved somewhere else and now five years later we do not know where he is. The court has no records of custody papers filed for Bryan. She removed him from the state without informing Sharon of her intentions.
Through much prayer and pain, I had to take this to the cross and let God deal with it. I had to die to my own will and trust God that His will for Bryan is greater then anything I can see and understand. God does know how to prepare His prophets and my trust is in His plan for Bryanís life. If you can let your pain go through the work of the cross then you can lay down your will and trust the will of your Father in heaven.
The Holy Spirit helped me understand this through the story of Hannah and her son Samuel.
As I read the story of Hannah in 1st Samuel 1
I am reminded of Sharon and her desire to give the child to the Lord as soon as he was born.
Hannah also wanted a son and promised to give her son to God all the days of his life. As soon as Samuel was old enough, she gave him into the care of Eli the priest.
As Hannah went up year after year to see Samuel, I wonder what she thought. Eliís sons were wicked they lived faraway from the laws of God. They had no respect for God or His house. Their father, Eli had done nothing to correct their behavior in Godís house. Because of their wicked ways, God was about to clean His house and Eli and his sons were about to die.
Hannah left her son Samuel with these people. I believe this was placing her trust in God.
I think I would be saying, ďHey, God, I think I could do a lot better job than these wicked priests are doing.Ē
Thatís how I felt about Bryan at times.
Like Hannah, Sharon only saw Bryan once or twice a year but she still loved him. I think of the coat, which Hannah took to Samuel each year as representing her love for him as well as a symbol of her prayers covering his life. Because of her prayers and her decision to place Samuel in the hands of God, Samuel grew up to be a mighty prophet of God even in the midst of a wicked priesthood. The one point that speaks to me from this story more than anything else is Hannahís trust in God. With her natural eyes she could see that Samuel was living in the center of a wicked priesthood. How could he find God in such a place?
We need to understand that God is in control, whether it looks like it to us or not. When we are able to let every part of our life experience the death of the cross, when we can say, ďNot my will but Thy will be done,Ē then we will experience the peace of God and realize His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways sometimes are beyond our understanding.
P.S. Bryan's last known address was in
Copyright Kathryn Cartee 3/23/05
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A most powerful moving anointed testimony!
My prayer is that you may find your Grandson Bryan one day soon and witness the Almighty Hand of God at work in Bryan's Life!
May yours and Sharon's heart's prayer be a reality soon!
With Christian Love,
How could you cope were it not for faith that God knows exactly where Bryan is, how he is doing, and has His hand on this young man. I'm sure you'll have another chapter of this story to write at some stage in the future. For your sake, I hope that day isn't too far off. Whatever, though, our same powerful God is still involved. Thanks so much for sharing and may your words continue to be used to strengthen the faith of others too.
Oh, my glorious Savior, how hard this is... how very hard this is. Sister, your story has left me weeping for my own loss. And yet, the day is still so very clear to me... the day that I collapsed to the floor after my son's worst seizure and handed him back to my Father... not knowing that I would have to give him up even more one day... to those I have a hard time believing can do a better job than I can. It's so, so painful. But yes, I believe His will and His thoughts for Daniel are much, much greater than my own. Though I weep, how you have blessed my soul. I love you, Sister.