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My son needed oxygen — and I needed Jesus

Last Friday night, my two-year-old son had a cold that suddenly started getting worse. He began coughing harder and harder, and eventually, he started wheezing.

I normally would’ve deferred to my wife on something like this, but she was out of town, so I decided to wait it out. When his breathing became progressively shallow, I drove him to the emergency room in the middle of the night. They told me that a virus had provoked a severe asthma attack.

He needed oxygen immediately and it was my job to hold the mask to his face for 45 minutes. When I tried to put it on his face, he began screaming and thrashing around, fighting me with all the strength he could muster.

I had to wrap my arms and legs around him to keep him from clawing off the mask as he screamed, “All done!” which is what he says when he’s full. It broke my heart every time he said it but I kept pinning him down and saying, “It’s OK, I’m here,” until finally, he gave up and relaxed in my arms.

As I was sitting there with my exhausted, sweaty son sitting in my lap, I thought about how I’m feeling towards God right now. There are a couple of things I’ve asked Him for – things I definitely need – and I don’t understand why He hasn’t provided them yet.

Deep inside, I’m convinced that if I can get these particular things, they will give me a sense of security that only God is meant to provide. But He’s too good to let that happen to me – He always has been.

Over the years, I’ve desperately sought a number of things: a particular job, certain friendships to compensate for my insecurities, and a precise kind of wife to make me feel complete. Those are just a few things, and while there was nothing wrong with those needs per se, it was the grasping, demanding heart behind them that was the problem.

I eventually did get a good job, make friends and marry a really good woman, but I thank God that in the meantime, He didn’t give me what I was demanding. What He gave me was better for me. Yet, here I am now, and once again, He’s giving me the treatment I really need: His love through the answer “no.”

“All done!” I scream, trying to fight Him off, but He keeps pinning me down, refusing to capitulate. It’s just a matter of time before I give up and rest in His arms, too exhausted to demand my way anymore. Until then, I continue fighting Him off, but it’s no use.

“It’s the child [God] loves that He disciplines; the child He embraces, He also corrects.” Hebrews 12:6 (MSG).

Maybe you feel the same way about your own demands that God is resisting. It’s terrifying and confusing – we feel like if He really loved us, He would give in. So we push back and try to force Him to succumb to our will, heaving in another breath to scream out in agony. When we do, our lungs fill up with life-saving oxygen and in that brief moment of silence, we hear Him in our ear saying, “It’s OK. I’m here.”

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