I stepped into the Green Room and stopped short. She didn’t look as sick as I’d expected. She sat on the chair next to Grandma Joyce, snuggled against her side. She was a beautiful child, smooth cheeks, large, dark eyes. She didn’t look like she was dying. How did her family cope?
My eyes burned with unshed tears. Swallowing hard, I met the family, then knelt in front of little Grace’s* chair. “It’s nice to meet you, sweetie. So glad you came to 3ABN.” She looked at me, eyes intelligent, even though she was unable to speak.
My mind traveled back to the email we’d first received from Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization focused on making the last wish come true for a critically ill child. We were thrilled that Grace had chosen 3ABN. She loved Grandma’s House, a program that aired on 3ABN Kids Network, and Make-A-Wish had sponsored her trip to southern Illinois to meet Aunt Francine and Grandma Joyce. We’d been told this wish was urgent, as Grace didn’t have much time left. Sometimes life is measured in decades or years, sometimes in days or weeks. Life is uncertain at best, but even more so when looking at a little girl who should have her whole life still ahead of her.
Grace was fed, then carried out on set, ready to record. I slipped into the control room, looking at her face on the screen, haunted by the pain in the family’s eyes. Pain, strangely combined with joy, even amid such a diagnosis. My mind pondered the unfairness of this world of sin.
Some couples long for a child they can not have, while others have a child they don’t want.
Some children die much too young, while others struggle on, lost in addiction and pain.
Others lose their parents somehow, through misunderstandings or a clash of wills.
What thoughts have gone through little Grace’s mind? Did she understand that, without a miracle from Jesus, she was close to the end? How does a child understand death? How does a parent cope with such a loss?
The thoughts swirled through my mind: the uncertainty of life, the unfairness of this world of sin, yet the preciousness of her last wish. She didn’t wish for Disney World or Mickey Mouse, for a Hollywood actor or sports figure. She wanted to hear more about Jesus, from the lips of someone who had encouraged her toward Him.
What truly matters in life? Is it our jobs or our ability to provide for our families? Is it our status in church or the number of friends we possess? Somehow, when all the mist clears and the dust settles, when I pause to actually take a breath, I’m reminded of my heart’s desire, my only wish.
My wish, my last and only wish, is to see Jesus—really, truly for who He is—and then to reveal that Jesus to others.
Nothing else really matters.
* Not her real name.