“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2¬–4 ESV).
One of my sons has Type 1 Diabetes. Because holidays — like Thanksgiving — are celebrated around food, they’re difficult for him. But the day-to-day routine is sometimes even harder, as is any condition that can be unpredictable or hard to manage, especially as it impacts a child.
No Rest for the Weary
This week, when my boy had two especially difficult overnights in a row, my heart went out to the many parents who go through much worse than we do on a more regular basis. It seems like the world should pause temporarily so caregivers can catch up on sleep and be equipped to function again. But this never happens. Some caregivers, especially parents caring for young children, simply never catch up.
I would like to put this in a more pleasant or faith-inspiring way, but it’s difficult to find gratitude in the midst of diabetes. It’s an unending trial, one that we never get a Sabbath from. My son never gets a day where he can just give into the normal temptation and excitement to eat a cookie or a treat without thinking or preparing for it with the appropriate injection of insulin. My boy doesn’t get to just be a “regular kid” when treats are passed around the classroom or even when a well-intended relative or friend provides him with a bag of goodies. His excitement is all there, but his limitations are as well. It makes me angry. There’s no break from it, and yet the One who has the very cure sees fit to withhold it from my son. My human heart can’t understand that.
After such an awful night of disrupted sleep and difficulty managing his blood sugar, I went into the living room and opened my mouth to let out a silent scream. I didn’t want to wake the rest of the household, but I had to let it out. Why wasn’t God giving us a break?
The Heart Behind the Scream
The last thing I want to admit to you is the good I see in it. Part of me feels like if I admit the good and even “consider it all joy” that this trial and suffering will not be taken from us. After all, who prays for “good things” to be taken? The silent scream isn’t entirely about righteous anger about my son, though, and that’s the hardest part to admit. If I’m honest, I’m mad about the things God is doing in me in this trial. God has required that my husband and I show our son the joy of carrying a cross. I’m angry because He is waiting for me to show my boy the joy in the trial and I’m not there yet. Instead, I’m stumbling.
The silent scream is more about what needs to be fixed in me rather than what needs to be fixed in my boy. And so I’ve decided to make it not so silent and own what is broken here today; it’s my trust and obedience to the Savior in the midst of this trial.
But, God. There isn’t any other way to put it because there is no other way to process it all. I don’t love diabetes but I love the God who allowed it in our lives to conform us. God, please help me to truly give You thanks and not an angry heart. Help me not to stumble, Lord. My boy is watching.
Joanna Sanders is a graduate of Villanova University and Moody Theological Seminary. She’s the author of Fire Women: Sexual Purity & Submission for the Passionate Woman and the co-author of DiscipleTrip by Dr. Joey Cook. She’s also the founder and head writer of Colossians46.com, which provides biblical content support, writing, and editing. Most importantly, she is wife to Geoff and mom to three godly men-in-training. Her blog name “The Landing” comes from the account of the Ark resting on the mountain, creating a settled place — a landing — for man to start over, which echoes her new life in Christ.