I had been sitting there a few minutes when I noticed the sound of a very small little voice far down the hallway coming in my direction. The entrance hallway at St. V’s is very long, some nearly 100 yards. It is then another 100 or so feet to the entrance to the surgery waiting room area. I looked down that long entrance way and saw a very small boy no taller then two feet and around three years of age. He was walking on two crutches, the kind with four feet points on them. The crutch on the right side had a little basket attached to it so that he could carry things while he walked. That told me that he had been on these crutches for some time, probably his entire short life.
My eyes we immediately fixed on him and his slow walk down the hall. Each step he took was only a few inches and the trip took several minutes. I was so drawn to that little boy: I could not take my eyes off of him and his family. He seemed so pitiful, so innocent, so precious, and so fragile. I became concerned about him walking. Shouldn’t someone carry him or push him in a wheel chair? It just looked like such a struggle and he was so little and moving so very slowly in my direction.
I noticed that they passed the point of turning down a different hallway; they were headed for the surgery waiting area. Mom was carrying a small bag and dad was carrying a small backpack, I then realized it was the little boy who was going to have surgery. I felt even more sorrow and concern. That’s when I noticed something wonderful, something so precious, something so heart stirring: I heard him say, in that sweet little voice, “I want to walk with daddy. I like to walk with daddy, mommy.” “I know” the mother said as she walked a little ahead of father and son. I could hear him ask little questions like: “This is a big place isn’t it daddy?” “There are trees outside see ‘em daddy?” “I like to walk don’t you daddy?” The father always responding and never getting more that a few feet from his son. As they got very close to me I heard the following conversation, I will never forget it.
“Here’s where we go honey. This is where we go daddy? Yes, honey, right here. Daddy can we play in here? Can we play in this place daddy? Oh I’m sure we can, they’ll let us play in here. I like to play with you daddy. Mommy we can play in here! Me and daddy can play in here!”
My heart was broken. As tears filled my eyes and I turned so no one could see; I understood two things:
- This little boy, crippled and on crutches, loved being with his father. His father never left his side. The hobbled walk of his son never affected the fathers love, care, concern or how he treated his little boy. Daddy loved his son as much as his son loved him.
- My heavenly father is much the same. My crippled walk I have because of my rotten, sinful life does not effect how close my Father is to me. He does not walk off and leave me. He does not call out for me to keep up. He allows me to walk beside Him while He hears my every question and answers my every prayer.
My heavenly Father hurts when I hurt, knows all about my personal pains as well as failures, but He is always there right by my side even though I may have to walk on Spiritual crutches because of the Spiritually crippled life I have. He still looks on me and smiles, looks at me with love, and looks after me with care. He will never fail me. He will never leave me.
No doubt if that little boy would have ask to be carried daddy would have lifted him up in his big daddy arms, held him tightly, hugged him close, and carried him the rest of the way.
My heavenly Father will stop and carry me at any time and He will carry me all the way if need be.
Is your life a crippled life because of your past or even some things in your present? Do you feel like you are stumbling with every step you take? You have a Father, a heavenly Father, who cares and is there for you; just look to Him He never fails. Repair that relationship today, He is waiting on you to turn to Him. Even if you are walking slowly on Spiritual crutches taking little steps inch by inch. He is waiting, walking slowly right beside you. He has not and will not leave your side “I will never leave you nor forsake you” are His very words. He will not throw you onto the trash heap of life. He will not turn away your cries. He is there with kind and gentle words and loving Daddy arms to lift you up, hold you tight, and hug you close. Don’t turn away from Him he has never turned away from you.
I stepped into the waiting room just before I left the hospital. The little boy and his daddy were piecing together a puzzle at one of the tables. Both were smiling and talking to one another. I smiled and walked out getting the last part of my lesson from God for this morning. Every puzzle of life can be perfectly put together when we are sitting next to our heavenly Daddy.
Heavenly Father I love you. Thank you for being there just for me.
Dr. Jerry Hillenburg
I wrote this story about my experience at St. Vincent’s Hospital, in Indianapolis, Indiana, in February of 2004. Our oldest son, Lance Corporal Eric Dean Hillenburg, was killed in action in Fallujah, Iraq on December 23, 2004. I helped carry him to a little spot at Westridge Park Cemetery where I saluted him as a hero as we tucked him in the ground and covered him with God’s green grass. As his earthly father I went with Eric as far as I could go, I would have gone further if I could have, but he is in the Heavenly Father’s hands now, never, ever alone.
Put yourself in the Father’s hands today let Him carry you all the way.