“Daddy, why do I have to go through so much pain?”
“It is for the greater good.”
When my son Nicolas was 11 months old, my wife and I noticed that his development was not on par with other children. It was then that he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. I was shocked and rendered helpless. As Nicolas was born prematurely, we spent a long time in the hospital and did not foresee that we would continue to frequent the hospital in the months and…years to come. Although the circumstances were undesirable, God used it to bring me back to Him.
I did not have a happy childhood. My parents were separated and I was raised by my grandmother. I often felt neglected by my own father; he was never there for me. While my grandma remained faithful to God, I grew distant towards religion and eventually fell away. I trusted in my own knowledge and growing up with an absent father formed the reality I lived in. I became a self-centered person; always seeking to be in control of every situation in my life. All of that changed when Nicolas came into my world.
“This is karma. It must be because of what you had done previously.”
Superstitious beliefs forced me to believe that my son’s ailment was God’s punishment for my wrongdoings. I did not know what to do and every word of discouragement rubbed salt into the wound. But one day, I decided to read the Bible again, and a passage from the book of John comforted me. As Jesus healed a man born blind (John 9),
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened
so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
people questioned if this man’s blindness was because of sin. Jesus responded with words on the contrary that gave me strength and courage in trying times. God no longer seemed so distant anymore.
– John 9:3
At the tender age of five, Nicolas had to go for a surgery to lengthen his muscles. It was a difficult yet necessary step to assist Nicolas’ development. After the surgery, Nicolas was in great pain despite taking painkillers. More than the physical pain he was going through, what broke my heart greatly was the emotional distress that came with it. At one point, he sobbed and asked, “why God allow me to suffer so much pain?” I had no answers. All I could provide my son was comfort and assurance that God has a plan.
“Miracles start to happen when you look to God.”
In times of helplessness, my wife and I prayed and God provided. We managed to enrol Nicolas into a special program designed for children with cerebral palsy. Seeing my child making progress day by day and achieving little milestones is an affirmation of God’s hand at work.
God gave me Nicolas for His glory to be shown. He taught me how to be patient with my child, understanding towards his needs and grateful for the help we have received thus far. I have become a better person and father, no longer the self-centred individual that I used to be. My perspective on life changed completely as I began to see how God could use a despairing situation for the greater good.
“What do you think of me as a father?”
This is something that I often ask my children because valuing my their opinions helps me to become a better father to them. Loving my children means spending time talking and listening to them. I want to be present in their life and ultimately point them to the greatest Father of all, whose abundant love will never run out for them.
Watch David's story (shortened) with Chinese subtitles
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