A scratched cornea is a painful thing to endure. There isn’t much I can do for him, other than the patch and drops every 4-6 hours that ease the pain for a few minutes. If he is awake, he is crying and begging for someone to help him.
All I can do is be with him. All I can do is sit with him in this quiet room with Sandra McCracken buffering the little brother noises floating under the door. All I can offer him is my body to fling his limbs over, sweaty and heavy and oddly comforting to us both. All I have to give him is my steady heart beat and even breathing when his starts to speed up from the panic of the pain. I can only offer my quiet reminder that he will be healed and this is not the end. I whisper in the dark that it won’t always be this way and tomorrow is coming. When tomorrow finally comes, there will be no more pain. All I can do is be with him and promise him over and over that this pain is not the end.
I remember now that Jesus was called Emmanuel, God with us. With us.
I don’t know why little boys have to scratch their corneas. I don’t understand why the suffering of Venezuelans is allowed to endure. I don’t know why cruel, immoral men keep being hoisted into power. I sure don’t know why my sisters and brothers are the ones doing the heavy lifting, setting the worst of us over all of us. I don’t know why God is allowing thousands of brown children to remain separated from their families. I don’t know why good women like Rachel Held Evans just die and leave their work unfinished and their babies unraised. I don’t know why patriarchy won’t just fall, already. I don’t know why women and children still aren’t safe in this world where bad men get joke sentences for their atrocities. I don’t know why black bodies aren’t protected. I don’t know much.
I don’t know why the son of God came riding on a donkey and without a sword.
Maybe I am supposed to know all that by now. But I don’t. I don’t know at all.
I just know that Jesus really is God with us. I know that when my heartbeat races and my breathing gets shallow and panicked, he ever lives to offer his body to me. I know that He has been with me, with me, with me. I can’t prove it to you and I can’t explain it to you. I just know that He is with me.
He is whispering to me again and again that this whole world is going to be healed. This is not the end, even when all I can see around me is death and suffering and rubble. This is not the end even when the pain is overwhelming and the suffering won’t stop and I can’t catch my breath. This is not the end even when our hearts and minds and bodies feel broken and weak and all the treatment plans don’t work like we thought. Tomorrow is coming and the promises are all true and the sting of death doesn’t last forever.
Here we are in the already-not yet kingdom, where new life grows up between the weeds and the thorns. Those flowers we thought were dead for sure just six weeks ago are standing tall in their glory, shouting the promises again.
He is coming to wipe away every tear from every eye and there will be no more death, no crying, no sorrow and no pain. Death itself is passing away and He is coming to make all things new.
Jesus is God with us. Jesus, with us in the suffering and with us when tomorrow finally comes. He will rise with healing in his wings and we will at last be free.