July 27, 2020

God’s True Intention

Park Dong-min from Anyang, Korea

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“Min! Can you come home and stay for a few days?”

My mom asked me in a somewhat serious voice. Usually, she hardly mentions anything that could worry my brother and me. So, if she gave us a sudden call like that, it meant that something serious was going on. Sure enough, I found out that she had been taken to the emergency room because her lumbar disc had become worse, but it seemed that she had to stay in the hospital for some time because she was not getting any better. So I took emergency leave and went straight to my parents’ house.

My mom was lying on the bed at the hospital, and her condition was worse than I had thought. As she couldn’t sit or stand up, she had to stay lying. She could neither eat nor use the restroom, without someone’s help. Even her little moves brought her pain. I sighed, seeing her.

I nursed my mom in the daytime and slept curled up on the hospital cot. Whenever I got a chance, I went to my parents’ house to clean, do laundry, and prepare food for my father. While I was there for a week, I could feel that my mom was sorry toward me.

As my mom had to stay in the hospital longer than I expected, my brother and I took turns to go visit her. Mom insisted on staying alone so that we wouldn’t have to come anymore, but who could possibly bear to leave a patient with diabetes and heart disease alone? She couldn’t even stand up by herself.

As she wasn’t getting any better, she tried many different hospitals. In the end, we decided to try a hospital in the metropolitan area, where the doctor recommended that she undergo a surgery. She really wanted to avoid surgery, but she had no other choice. The surgery took one hour longer than expected, but it was successful.

When I saw her wake up from anesthesia, I was relieved for the first time in a few months. However, the phone call took my relief away. It was from my older brother.

“Dad broke his ankle while working in the construction field, and he’s in the hospital now. He can’t move. Can you go see him please? Don’t tell Mom. She’ll be worried.”

In a long leg cast, my father was not able to change his clothes without someone’s help. As he felt too bad to call Mom and let her know what had happened to him, he called my older brother instead. As my brother couldn’t go see him right away, he asked me to go. I had some free time because it was right before the weekends. After I made up an excuse to Mom, I quickly came back home and packed up a bag.

‘Why are all these things happening to my parents?’

I looked out the window, and it was already getting dark. I felt uneasy as I was thinking about Mom and Dad. To be honest, however, it wasn’t only my concern for my parents. What caused me more anxiety was the inconvenience and all the work given to me because of my parents’ illness and accident. It takes three hours to go to my parents’ house by car. It is not a very long distance, but it’s not a short distance, either. It is not that easy to travel that far back and forth that often. While nursing my mom on every weekend despite my tiredness, I had become exhausted in my mind.

While thinking about it for quite a while, I remembered a verse that I had read a while back.

“Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men” La 3:32–33

To help us take off our sins, God put affliction and hardships on the paths of our lives. The hardest thing for parents is probably to see their children suffer. However, God eagerly wants us to change and be born again to become the perfect through temporary hardships.

The situation where I’m put must be a part of that process. When this thought had dawned on me, weariness disappeared from my mind. My father felt uncomfortable at his first hospitalization. However, I was able to comfort him, take care of him, have conversations with him, which we hadn’t done for a long time, and ate delicious snacks such as red bean buns and cabbage pancakes. All parents feel the same for their children; my father was very sorry and thankful to me just as Mom did, though what I did for them was nothing, compared with their devotional work they had done for me.

I prayed wholeheartedly that all the things that happened to my family would not be a meaningless shower, but a spiritual timely rain. As I hoped, everything had God’s will in it. First of all, my mom’s backache that afflicted her for tens of years almost disappeared, and her diabetes also got better as she found the best medicine for it while trying many different doctors. Above all, the most precious gift she received while staying in bed for several months was her realization about God’s love.

“It felt like the whole world was collapsing, though I was sick just for a little while. How much more would Heavenly Mother have injured, working so hard for us? I thought Mother had a good and comfortable life because She always smiled before Her children. I am also a mom, but I had no idea about what She was going through.”

My father’s realization seemed to be as great as my mom’s. He had been proud of his health, but seemed to realize that he was not the healthiest person in the world and that no one can see what’s ahead of him. This realization helped him cut down on habits destructive to his health and go to church more often to be nearer to God.

I also gained many things. I regretted having regarded a little effort that I made for my parents as a burden, and I determined to become a filial son, not only with words but also with actions. While putting my resolution into practice, my relationship with my parents became closer. The change in my viewpoint on hardships and suffering is also God’s grace and blessing for my soul.

I deeply give thanks to God for preparing a process of learning and realization in detail for the children who are lacking in many things. When I face another difficult situation, I will try to fathom what kind of realization I can gain in that situation, because that must be God’s true intention for me.

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