A Resolution from Peanuts
“Mom! Mom! I’m so scared. Please start praying!” Then frantic sobs choked her.
I tried to speak calmly into the phone, wishing we were face to face. “Take some deep breaths, honey. Calm down and tell me what’s wrong”
This child, now a mother herself, had always been prone to anxiety. But as the story tumbled out, I realized, this time, we could be facing a true crisis.
Deborah was enjoying a girls’ night out dinner, while her husband was spending daddy time with their 13-month-old daughter, when her cell phone rang. The details were jumbled. Something about letting Megan try a little peanut butter and a possible allergic reaction. Deborah had left the restaurant and was on her way to the emergency room, hoping to get there about the same time Jeff arrived with Megan.
As my husband and I set out for the hospital, he commented, “If it were Deborah rushing to the e.r., I would probably assume she had over-reacted. But Jeff is usually so calm. This could be serious.”
When we got there, Megan was already on heart and oxygen monitors and had been injected with antihistamines and steroids. I would scarcely have recognized her as my beautiful little granddaughter. Her face was nearly twice its normal size, rippled by scarlet welts overtaking one another in deep purple valleys. The shockingly swollen lips and eyelids were medically less significant than the unseen tongue. If it continued to swell, blocking her air passage, a tracheotomy might become necessary. All this from a dab of peanut butter introduced on the end of a spoon! And she had loved its taste and wanted more!
Of course Megan was utterly miserable and confused. She reached for me immediately and I was able to comfort her briefly. Then she reached for her mother again. Then her daddy. Grandpa. Back to me. She would restlessly reach for us one after the other, even reaching for strangers, the doctors and nurses parading in and out.
But none of us could offer much beyond the support of being there as we all waited for the antidote to get into her bloodstream and do its work. I was impressed with one of the nurses in particular, who calmly, convincingly told her she was a beautiful little girl. Even with all the distortions, she rightly observed, “I think you look like you daddy, even though you have dark hair like your mommy.”
Hours later she was sufficiently stable for us to take her home. We adults were instructed to keep watch carefully for the next few days and to protect her from hidden sources of peanut products until she matures enough to take necessary precautions herself.
Riding home I thought of how we had been blessed with a visual illustration of salvation coming to the spiritually lost, and of Christian responsibility.
Megan never saw herself in a mirror. She didn’t realize how her genetic beauty had been altered. She knew she was sick and miserable, but had no comprehension of any connection between her misery and the yummy peanut butter. The spiritually lost are a lot like that.
Megan reached out to the people who loved her. When they were unable to help, she was quick to reach out to strangers. The spiritually lost are a lot like that.
Megan’s physical ugliness was only a symptom of an invisible inner poison. The cure would only come when her organs received an invisible inner antidote. The spiritually lost are a lot like that.
Fortunately, Megan had loving adults around her. Someone had to see the urgency of her situation. Someone had to introduce the correct antidote. And through it all, she was blessed by a stranger, who saw beyond the ugly symptoms of her life-threatening condition to recognize that she was the very image of her father.
I pray that the spiritually lost among us will be blessed by followers of Christ, who recognize the urgency of being lost, are willing to introduce the gospel as antidote, and can see beyond the symptoms of sin to the underlying image of the Father.
My first resolution for the New Year is based on that prayer.
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