I CAN'T FIX THIS.
I’m a typical dude... at least from my perspective. I like sports, music, and spending time with my family and friends as much as the next guy. But one glaring stereotype that I believe has legitimacy in my life is this: I like to fix things.
I have workbench (pictured above) in my garage where I strategically organize my tools in a way that is project specific and readily accessible. I like to build, design, renovate, and mend. That is a large reason why my wife and I decided to buy our fixer-upper home that we currently live in (Well, that and the cost of living in Santa Rosa Beach on a pastor’s salary). I am by no means Chip Gaines, but I am a DIY’er through and through. I like to fix things so much that I sometimes catch myself getting frustrated when I don’t have a project to accomplish.
All that said, my desire to fix things isn’t reserved for just physical projects, but also applies to metaphysical circumstances as well. When I get in an argument with my wife, or get into theological debates with my friends, or when my children get crazy emotional, my first instinct is to try and fix it. There have been multiple times when I come home and find that my wife has had a rough day. While she cries, I jump into a mix between Bob the Builder and Dr Phil: “So tell me, what happened to cause this? What set you off this time? Perhaps if you don't _____ then you won’t feel this way.”
I know...I’m still learning.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it is a bad desire to want to help. However, when my desire to fix elevates me to be the hero rather than Christ, the mark is missed. I have found this to be particularly true in our current life season with the passing of our baby boy John-Levi.
The hard reality is this: I can’t fix Trisomy 18. I wish I could, but I can’t. I want to make all this go away and I want to fix the situation so that my son is healed, my wife is happy and my two other kids get to grow up with their brother. But... I can’t. There have been weeks where my helplessness was manifested in deep frustration. Everything in life felt broken, and here I am unable to fix...well... anything. And that both breaks me and frustrates me.
But throughout the last few months, I have found consolation through the words of Christ. In John 14:27 Jesus says, “My Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” While I want to avoid useless platitudes that dilute our experiences down to something pithy, I truly had to learn how to let the Lord lead me. The peace that God promises especially in these moments of trial and grief have been like a winter blanket, heavy and warm.
I am still learning that while I cannot fix this situation, God gives His perfect peace that surpasses understanding. While we are filled with sadness, we do not despair [lose heart; without hope], because because God’s plan for our lives is so much bigger than Trisomy 18. We don’t need to be afraid... the “Great Fixer” is in the business of redeeming things; making beauty from ashes, bringing joy instead of mourning, and bestowing a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair [Isaiah 61:3]. He has done this both in my heart and through the life of John Levi, however brief it was. Praise God.
Now I have the opportunity as a husband to learn the depth of Romans 12:15-18. We are called to weep with those who weep, not fix those who weep. So my prayer as a husband and father is to be present in the pain with my wife and my children. To not try and take control, but to point to the greatness, glory and trustworthiness of God the Father. To place our sorrows at the feet of Jesus, whose own blood is the proof of His love for us. To trust the plans and purposes of the “Great Fixer.” After all, our lives are best left in His hands anyway