There is so much pain in the world, all the time.
But sometimes the deep pain touches closer to home than others.
RIGHT NOW, my mother-in-law is lying in a hospital room in the cancer center of a major regional hospital. This past Friday, she became unresponsive right in front of my eyes, the eyes of my husband, and the eyes of our five-year-old son. Though she is now out of that particular area of the woods, she is very tired of fighting a 4-and-a-half-year battle with an uncurable disease. But she's only 62 years old, and she needs to see her grandchildren all graduate from high school and college!
RIGHT NOW, our second son (who will turn 3 on October 4) is waiting for us to return for him. He is in a "baby house" in Russia with 89 or so other children under the age of four. He has a picture book of our family, a toy phone to "call us" on, and the promises of his caregivers that we are coming back for him. But we can't get to him, because the U.S. government (Citizenship and Immigration Services) has declared that they have until the end of July to process our application and issue their approval for us to adopt this child. They've also said that there's nothing we can do to speed that process up, even though we first submitted our application to them in December. And all we want is to go to Russia and pick up our child, love on him, introduce him to his big brother, and bring him home. RIGHT NOW.
RIGHT NOW, my sister in Christ, friend, and clergy colleague Narcie (a 30-year-old campus minister, wife, daughter, sister, and mother to a 1.5-year-old and a just-now-3-year old) is preparing to have brain surgery to remove a tumor that was found a week and a half ago. She will go in for this surgery on Friday.
You can read Narcie's journey, and share your prayers with her and her father, by following their blogs here and here. I hope you will join me in praying for them.
These, among a few other painful situations for those I know and love, are the soil from which most of my prayers are growing right now.
Or maybe the word is not growing, but "groaning," which is (I believe) one way of interpreting what the Holy Spirit does within us since, or when, we "don't know how to pray as we ought." Come to think of it, there's a lot of stuff I need to hear in Romans 8, which is a passage another dear friend of mine from divinity school used to pray in its entirety, from memory, when her Chron's Disease or Multiple Sclerosis would have her doubled over in pain.
It seems like there's a lot of stuff from Paul in that particular part of that particular letter about suffering and "waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies." And there's something else about groaning in labor pains while we wait for the revealing of glory and God's children in there, too, isn't there? Perhaps I'll go read Romans 8 one more time. Maybe you'll join me in that, and in prayer...