Diann and I joined our daughter and her family in distributing sandwiches and cups of soft drinks at the National Pediatric Institute in Mexico City on what would have been our grandson Danny’s eighth birthday. Danny spent the last month of his life in this hospital, the major pediatric hospital in Mexico, where they performed a very complicated surgery to correct several major congenital heart defects. The outcome was that Danny was taken to heaven.
The family got up early that morning, mom, dad, the kids, grandpa and grandma and the staff at Refuge Ranch, to make 200 sandwiches. We then drove the two hours to the other side of Mexico City where the hospital is located: all of this after staying up late the night before to bury the beloved family dog, Goliath, a Saint Bernard, who had died suddenly that evening.
After setting up two tables and putting up signs describing the free food and beverage give-away in honor of Danny, a line quickly formed. One woman came up to our daughter Julie (Danny’s mom) and asked for prayer for her hospitalized child. Julie prayed for her and when our daughter finished praying and opened her eyes the entire extended family had gathered around. While the family munched their sandwiches and sipped their beverages, Julie, with a smile on her face, explained that she knew what they were going through and that she could never have gotten through it without the Lord.
Julie then explained, in simple terms, the good news of Jesus. They hung on every word. She offered to lead in a prayer for any of them who wanted to turn their lives over to the Lord. Several accepted her invitation; we could see their lips quietly move as they prayed to open themselves up to Christ.
As I watched Julie share with this family and observed Danny’s brothers and sisters enthusiastically handing out sandwiches and beverages to the hurting families, my eyes welled up with tears. They were tears of joy at how the Lord was helping us turn our grieving into giving.
The bread was passed, then the cup too. “Take this bread and eat; take this cup and drink,” was the invitation. Though not the bread and cup of Communion, it was a sacrament of something good coming out of something bad.
God designed the world for good, but, to no fault of His, it has turned out to be a fallen and broken world. That brokenness includes a baby boy born eight years earlier with severe birth defects that eventually took his life. Each of us, each day, experiences something of the bad that’s part of this broken world. By the gracious help and miraculous working of God, if we’re open to Him, we can see the best come out of the bad!
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)