This week, my wife and I had to take my daughter, Luella, to the doctor to get her first set of vaccination shots since leaving the hospital. Originally, we had intended to get half her vaccinations now, and the other half at her next visit - since the thought of giving her all those needles at once, made us feel very uncomfortable. I mean, who likes getting needles...let alone a 7-week old baby?!
When the doctor asked us about the vaccinations, you could see that there was some hesitation from her as she tried to decide which vaccinations she should administer now, versus the ones we should do later.
I asked the doctor, "Should we just do all of her shots now?" to which she immediately replied, "Yes! I think we should give them all to her now."
I looked over at my wife and we reluctantly agreed - if that's what the doctor recommended, then that's what we would do, even though we knew what that would mean for Luella.
There were three shots in total (and an oral medicine).
You'd think the oral medicine would have been the easiest part, but while trying to get her to swallow the medicine, she threw up the 4oz of formula that we had just fed to her - all over my wife and all over the doctor's office floor. Oh, it was a sight to behold! Additionally, she had thrown up on her diaper, so we had to take that off to change her; however, before we got a chance to put on the new diaper, she decided to pee all over the floor we had just cleaned. Seriously, the doctor's office was chaos for a moment there.
Once we finally got the oral vaccination down, it was onto the needles. I prayed that perhaps Luella would be relaxed enough where she wouldn't feel them - PRAYER UNANSWERED!! She bellowed at needle #1...she hollered at needle #2...and just when she probably thought it was all over, she had to endure one more stabbing. Poor little thing :(
As she wailed in pain and shock from the experience, I could tell the difference in her cry. This wasn't an "I'm hungry" cry, or an "I'm uncomfortable" cry, this was an "I've been hurt" cry. It was heartbreaking to hear...and consoling her wasn't so easy. She had been hurt and we had let her be hurt. What she didn't know is that both her mum and I hated the fact that she had to go through this, but at the same time she had to go through this - getting vaccinated was only going to make her stronger to face the world.
This experience made me think - during those times in our lives when we've endured physical, mental and/or emotional pain...was God standing next to us wincing throughout the experience...yet at the same time wishing that we could understand that the ordeal would be for our ultimate good?
In Romans 5:3-5, Paul says, "...we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope."
James 1:3-4 says, "because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing."
The Bible makes it clear that suffering is inevitable in this world, but through suffering, God builds us up - makes us stronger. Furthermore, God shares in our suffering - empathizing with us. While there are many verse that indicate as such, there is one that stands out...
In the story from John 11:1-45, Lazarus had died and was buried. His sisters were upset and when Jesus saw [Mary] weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
Here Jesus is at the funeral of his friend, Lazarus; and even though he knew full well that in only a few minutes he would soon raise Lazarus for the dead, Jesus was able to identify with the grief of Lazarus' friends and family to the point of weeping with them.
Jesus identifies in our suffering and Jesus weeps when we weep too.
Luella eventually got over the soreness from the shots (I mean only a few hours), but up until that point, Christine and I felt bad for having to put her through all that; yet at the same time, we were relieved that she is now more ready to face the big, bad world out there. Of course, in a little over 2 months she'll need to get her 4-month vaccination...oh boy :/
- Timm Chartier
Director of Media & Communications