My baby was diagnosed with RSV this week. It’s a respiratory virus that causes infection of the lungs and breathing passages in young children. After discussing treatment and symptoms with me, the doctor forgot, possibly on purpose, to explain the potential side effects on the mother. So, while I was adequately prepared for the baby’s illness, I was completely unprepared for my part in this journey.
As the home health care van pulled up to my house to deliver the torture machine, a.k.a. nebulizer, my insides started to quake. We were instructed to administer breathing treatments every four hours for one to two weeks to baby. The directions should have said, place gas mask on the child and brace yourself, because the baby will morph into a feral cat as soon as she sees the machine…a biting scratching little creature fighting for her life.
One week into this illness, I understood on a much deeper level, how God must feel when He watches His children suffer for their own good. Our baby fears and despises the very treatment that will help heal her. Over and over, her screams rip into my heart as she stares at us with eyes full of distrust and betrayal.
My husband and I sound like broken records, repeating how very much we love her in our best soothing voice. But it’s not enough. Our baby is mad and angry. She even howls at the machine, as if to rage against the symbol of her supposed injustice.
Of course, only a baby would doubt a loving father and mother’s intentions, right? I mean, we would never question our Heavenly Father, even when he leads us into the desert that borders the Promised Land…or would we cry and fight, every single time, just like a little child?
After eight nights of little to no sleep, fretting over each toss and turn, and straining to hear any variation to my beloved baby’s labored breathing, I have pretty much reached the end of my own strength. Her desert has become my desert, and the Promised Land but a memory I cling to in exhaustion.
This desert has no sense of humor, limited grace, and very little patience for my spouse. We bicker and pick at each other, ridiculously fighting over who is more tired (me, of course), until we remember who the real enemy is. And so last night, I prayed and cried out to God, to see Him more clearly in this dark night of the soul, on what has become a dry and barren road of nebulizers and endless mucus.
As I closed my eyes, long before my head hit the pillow; I sensed God’s comfort in this rest, more than the usual catatonic crash as of late. I felt drawn into His warmth, as though I were beckoned with waves of restorative manna for both my body and soul. And though I awoke on the hour, it was enough sleep to sustain me for one more day.
Today the baby actually relaxed in her treatment, closed her eyes and leaned into her wee mask. She opened her small mouth and deeply breathed in the medication that allows her find the air she so desperately seeks.
For this mother and child, God’s manna is rest. His provision is air to breathe. And his sustenance is not only for us, but for for all the weary sojourners traveling through the deserts of life.