Watching a child suffer with cancer is one of the most difficult parts of our human existence. We can shake our heads or shake our fists, asking why a good God would allow a child to suffer in this way. Or we can use that trial to display God’s grace and kindness.That’s what my friend, Karen, chose to do. Shortly after I moved to another state, I heard the news that Justin, a ten year old boy in the Junior church class I taught at my previous church, had contracted a rare form of leukemia. He had already spent weeks in Children’s Hospital and was scheduled to receive a painful bone marrow transplant.
Karen was my assistant in Junior Church. Since I am all thumbs when it comes to anything looking like a craft project, Karen, a former art teacher, led the class in a variety of art and craft projects that correlated with the Bible stories I taught. Justin was a typical boy – not listening very well and exchanging air punches with the other rowdy boys. But when Karen got out the art supplies, Justin’s eyes glowed and he would work diligently and carefully on whatever she gave him to do.
So, when Karen heard Justin was in the hospital, she knew what she wanted to do. Purchasing a set of drawing pencils, drawing paper and a art book, she gave it to Justin’s mom to take to the hospital for Justin.
When I expressed my delight over her choice of gift, Karen shrugged away my praise. “It seemed like such an obvious thing to me,” she said. “Isn’t that something anyone would do for Justin?”
The difference was Karen took the time to observe Justin’s interests and talents. She felt compassion for the lonely, boring hours this ten-year-old boy had to spend in the hospital. Finally, she acted on her compassion by making the effort to purchase the art supplies and deliver them to the family. Through her actions and the loving kindnesses of many other people in that church, Justin’s family found the strength to keep trusting in God’s goodness and love.