Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Getting shots

“I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us”
-2Cor. 7:9

Today we have immunizations that many call “miracle drugs.” They are medications that ward off Diphtheria, Tetanus, Polio and other really bad diseases that 100 years ago killed and left many people very sick.

Most doctors are quick to admit the human immunity system is complex and unpredictable. While many diseases respond to these drugs, many do not. Illnesses that relate to the immune system still leave many debilitated and physically sick. But new drugs are being developed every year.

The main problem with a majority of the immunizations is that they don't come in a pill or a patch. They require the dreaded (organ music please)…SHOT. Grown, mature men who have fought in wars and wrestled alligators cringe, roll up in a ball and cry when they are required to get a shot. Why? Because shots hurt. They inflict pain. Whether we’re 80 or 8 months, when the nurse rubs our arm with that alcohol swab and says “this might sting a little," we all get a bit teary eyed and nervous. How odd that it requires an ounce of hurt to avoid a ton of pain.

Our sweet granddaughter Reese just turned 2 months old. That meant it was time for her to get her shots. It was an appointment that her mom, Elizabeth, has been dreading for a while. When a baby gets shots, there is a special cry that is only associated with that event. But Elizabeth reported that the shots went fine today and though Reese was a little fussy, she’s fine.

But imagine if Elizabeth and Mark had decided, “nope, we’re not taking Resse to get shots today because it hurts her and our role as parents is to protect our child and not allow her to be hurt.” Sounds like good rationale at first glance. Frankly, some anti-shot parents choose this route. I’m always amazed at the parents that are willing to risk years of medical research on their own wisdom. But of course, most parents are willing to put their child through momentary pain for the greater good of knowing they are better protected from potential future problems. “No pain, no gain”, our coaches often proclaimed. But that didn't mean we enjoyed the pain. We mostly wanted the gain.

The truth is, Reese is in for a lot more “shots” in her life. And there will be many situations that will be out of the control of mom and dad. It’s not the medication on it’s own that prevents the disease, but the medication interacting with the God-given immune system to ward off disease. In the same way, God uses stinging circumstances in the lives of our kids to help develop and mold them into responsible Godly adults. Let your child get their shots.

It not only hurts the teen, but it hurts us as parents also. It’s just hard to watch someone you love hurt and cry. It’s tempting to push away the nurse, grab the needle and throw it away. It’s tempting to be near-sided as we raise our children into teenagers. I really am near-sighted. That means I see fine close up, but I can't see far away.

Be a parent that sees far away. Let our loving God have his way in the life of your teen. Pray that your teen will make wise, Godly choices. But also pray that if he makes poor, painful choices, that they will be used to make him stronger, full of humility, and teachable.

Don’t shield your child from the shots. Let the difficulty run its course in the life of your teen. Let them bear their own load and they will only grow stronger, not weaker.

Yes, how odd that it requires an ounce of hurt to avoid a ton of pain. But remember, when the sting goes away, there’s peace and healing on the other side.

By Eric Joseph Staples ©

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