Nearly eighty thousand people have followed the story of little Lincoln Arrow Schrock. Two years ago, Lincoln was diagnosed with stage four Neuroblastoma at the age of three. This past Thursday, September 19, he slipped into the arms of his Jesus.
I too have followed their journey from afar. I've quietly traced the rollercoaster life they have lived. I have wept with them when they wept and rejoiced when they rejoiced. I didn't know them personally, but across the many miles from Wisconsin to Ohio, their story touched mine.
As parents, it's impossible to hear stories like Lincoln's without being impacted in some way. You can't hear about a three year old being diagnosed with cancer without looking around at your own four year old and imagining "what if". It's only natural to wonder, What would we do? How would we respond? How would something like this impact our lives? It's impossible to imagine the agony of decisions, the physical weariness, the brutal ups and downs, the intense pain of your heart.
I don't pretend to know exactly how we would handle a diagnosis like little Lincoln's. I doubt that we would do everything like Matt and Kaitlyn but I'm not here to talk about any of that. What I'm here to talk about is the most important part of any story: God's Glory.
I am in awe of the impact of Lincoln's story.
You couldn't be on social media this past week without seeing his name pop up somewhere. More than one blog has mentioned his story; many individuals have talked about his influence; a group of over two hundred moms has formed to keep each other accountable to treasure their children because of Lincoln... and more. And everywhere his name is mentioned, you hear people who have seen Jesus. This is the part of following along with Lincoln's story that gives me goosebumps.
A three year old diagnosed with cancer and battling a monster for two long, grueling years is heartbreaking. Everything within us cries out at the unfairness; the awfulness; the anguish and sadness. I don't know a parent who wouldn't be willing to trade places, rather than watch their child go through so much pain. Nothing about such a story is pretty. It is hard, dark; something we would go to great lengths to avoid. No, nothing about it is pretty. Nothing except the beautiful redemption of Jesus.
Lincoln loved his Jesus.
Lincoln's family loved his Jesus.
The light of Jesus shone forth in every tiny detail of Lincoln's story. Not one of those eighty thousand people following his story could help but see it. That one detail takes a story with so much pain and heartache and turns it into a beautiful one. Does that take away the pain? No. Does that make us glad for the heartache? No. But oh, the glory Jesus has received from the story of little Lincoln Arrow! I am in awe of what God can do when we hand Him our stories, ashes and all.
"Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God's story never ends with ashes."
~Elizabeth Elliot, These Strange Ashes