A Hard Question from a Young Child

As some of you know, I have been following the story of Kate McRay, a six year old with brain cancer. Here’s the journal update her mom posted the other day:

So the question inevitably came today. ‘If we don’t get rid of this tumor, will I die?’ My heart stopped and tears immediately filled our eyes. Kate had now processed this cancer journey to the point of wondering about outcomes. Would not getting rid of the tumor mean she died. It was chilling to hear those word pass through her lips. And so the conversation began, one I had hoped to avoid for years. But the time had come and there was no putting it off, she wanted an answer. Never would I have imagined that we would be having these talks with Kate at the mere age of 6. But we were.

Aaron quickly responded while I tried to catch the breathe that had been knocked out of me. She wasn’t satisfied with generalities, she wanted to know if we didn’t kill it first, could this brain tumor kill her. She really didn’t need an answer, our eyes spoke volumes. She softly began to cry. And so did we.

Through the tears we began to talk about why we were doing the treatments we were, why we were encouraging her to eat healthier foods, and why we were so desperate to have the world praying. Her response surprised us as much as the initial question. ‘But that just means I would be with Jesus, right? And that’s not bad, right?’ We assurred her that being with Jesus would be wonderful and that at some point, everyone dies. We however, really wanted her to fight hard because we would really like to keep her around here, for a really long time. She smiled, took a bite of banana and said, ‘I feel better already!’ She then lightened the conversation by saying in heaven she thought she would jump on a trampoline with Jesus, and she decided, she would call him “Jeez”. We were all grateful that laughter had returned to our conversation.

Richard Baxter, the puritan pastor (born 1615 in Rowland, England) advised  that we help each other prepare for a “safe and happy death”. How are you doing with that responsibility – with your spouse, your kids, and your friends?

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us”, Romans 8:18.

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