I must have been gone on the day in parenting class that we discussed febrile convulsions, but we got an up-close lesson in it last night. Our three-year-old started running a fever in the afternoon that didn’t subside with medicine. After a bath, my wife noticed him on the floor wrapped up in his towel shaking more than usual. She picked him up and his face was blue and he was obviously having a seizure. After dialing 911 she handed him off to me, limp as a wet noodle with unresponsive eyes. After laying him on his side, per the dispatcher’s instructions, I lay next to him trying somehow to get him to respond to me (which he didn’t).
If I could tell a story about flashing back to the day he was born, or watching him walk for the first time, I would, but I guess I’m too analytical for that. My main thoughts were to make sure he was breathing and to check his pulse (not that I really knew what I was doing). It’s weird looking into someone’s eyes and knowing that they aren’t all there; certainly verifies the notion that we are not just lumps of sophisticated matter.
Long story short, he became more coherent, especially after the EMTs got here, and was mildly interested in riding in an ambulance to the hospital. When he was sitting in the hospital bed, laughing about firing Angry Birds the wrong way on my phone, I figured he was in the clear.
Nonbelievers make fun of God by wondering why He would allow suffering; presumably if He is all-powerful then He could stop it but He doesn’t, which makes them wonder whether He enjoys our suffering.
But thankfully the Christian revelation of God as Father, as Abba, helps us see more clearly. All suffering, whether coming from willful human activity or not, is a result of the fallen world in which sin entered by humanity’s own free choice. God allows suffering to happen, but the despair it must cause Him when it does is infinitely greater than the incredible despair I felt watching my son lay on the floor listless and unresponsive.
It’s a decent picture of sin itself; while God is calling us to look at Him, to respond to His call, sin prevents us from hearing. Our bodies lie listless, a faint shadow of what they were created to do.
In this sinful state, when we may feel completely alone and removed from God’s presence, He is there, caressing us and calling us back to be the people we were created to be.