Josiah Samson why did God make me this way

Mommy, Why Did God Make Me This Way?

“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope”- Romans‬ ‭5:3-4‬.

In July 2015, my family and I were driving through Lancaster, Pennsylvania trying to lull our then 3-year-old son Josiah to take a nap.  He had not been sleeping well at nighttime due to his eczema flaring up all over his body. While Josiah was napping, we drove into the parking lot of Sight and Sound Theatre.  The exterior of the building looked so grand and majestic that I had to go inside to explore.  I went into the theatre while my husband stayed in the car with our son and newborn daughter Hope.

While inside, I was excited to see the live theatre would be producing a show about Samson the following year.  I prayed God would allow me to bring Josiah to the show when he turned four years old and that he would be healed from his eczema by then.  The character Samson had become Josiah’s favorite Bible character, even favored more than his namesake King Josiah.  My son would take his hands and push them up against the doorway and say “God gives me strength!”   

Since he was a newborn, Josiah has suffered from eczema and life-threatening food allergies. His condition was manageable; he was a fairly good sleeper and was able to sleep through the night.  However, when Josiah was two-and-a-half years old and I was pregnant with Hope, Josiah got pneumonia and was diagnosed with asthma.  A few weeks later, my son began developing a poor sleeping pattern waking up once or twice at night.  He was bothered from his eczema and would vigorously scratch his knees, feet, arms- his whole body.  His food allergies and wheezing from the asthma only made his scratching episodes and insomnia worse. My husband and I kept praying that by Hope’s due date in May 2015, Josiah’s condition would improve and he would be able to sleep better at night.  We eliminated more foods from his diet, visiting various doctors (his pediatrician, allergists, dermatologists, etc.) and following doctors’ recommendations. However by April that year, Josiah was waking up several times at night and sometimes up for over an hour each time scratching.

When baby Hope arrived in May, Josiah’s condition worsened as the summer heat came and my attention was divided between him and his younger sister.  He became scratchy not only at night, but during the daytime.  His body was flared up with rashes and he had many cuts on his body from the scratching.  It became difficult to go outside or leave him alone to play without him suddenly starting to itch all over.  He would require someone to hold and stop him from giving himself cuts from the scratching.  Only by God’s grace have we been able to get through these last two years of eczema and sleeplessness.

Lazada Philippines

Exactly a year to date from when I had the dream in Lancaster about bringing my son to see the Samson show, Josiah and I arrive with two tickets to the Sight and Sound Theatre on July 2, 2016.  From the very first scenes to the last, God used the Samson show to captivate my heart and remind me that His ways are higher.

Within the first few minutes of the show, I cried during the first scene when a young Samson was asking his dad why he was different from the kids. This connected with me since I often ask God why He has allowed Josiah to go through these physical ailments.  Why is he different from other children?  Like Samson, why has God given Josiah certain restrictions?

Samson’s father replied that he did not know, but there was an assurance that God’s glory would one day be revealed.

I was surprised to see that one of the Bible verses applied to the show is the same one I have been meditating on for this particular season in my life.  “He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest in me” 2 Corinthians 12:9.

Seemingly strong, Samson had many weaknesses that eventually led to his downfall.  Though Samson seems like an unlikely hero and had his weaknesses, God used him to accomplish His purposes and reveal His glory.   We also see Samson listed as one of the heroes of faith in Hebrews chapter 11.

My prayer is that by sharing with you my family’s struggles and weaknesses, we can be used as a testimony of God’s grace and power.  These last two years have been the most difficult and tiring times of my life.  It has been a struggle caring for my kids day and night.

While Josiah’s condition is not completely healed, there has been improvement.   As I’m writing this now in February 2017, Josiah’s skin and sleep has made significant improvement from when this trial first began.   It has been a journey.  Through it all, God has been with me and my family everyday.  He is gracious and gives us the strength needed to do our job in caring for the children He entrusts to us.
Let us remind one another not to focus on the circumstances but to keep our eyes on Jesus.  “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” – ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:17-18‬.

Throughout his life, Samson may not have understood why he had this strength that made him different from those around him.  But we see how he sacrificed his life to kill all the Philistines in the temple that day, and thus, achieving eternal glory in heaven.

I don’t know when Josiah will be completely healed from his ailments.  I do know that God is in control and that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” – Romans 8:28.

I cling to the promise that God’s grace is sufficient for me, for my son, for my family.  

Instead of succumbing to our weaknesses and having an attitude of defeat, my family and I give our weaknesses, burdens, and anxieties to God.  May He turn our weaknesses into His strength, our sufferings into perseverance.

May we grow in perseverance, develop in character, be a beacon of hope in this world.  Just as Samson’s story blessed me and countless others, may God use our story to bless those around us.

I pray my Josiah will know early in his life what Samson realized towards the end of his life.  May he learn the lessons of his human frailty, his need for God and trust God to be his strength.  May he become a hero of faith like Samson.

During a moment of physical discomfort last year, Josiah cried out, “why did God give me food allergies?”. Just like what Samson’s dad told his son in the show, I told Josiah we may not know all the reasons until a later time in the future.  We did come up with two possible reasons:

1) my son is going to help others especially those who have a similar condition to his,
2) God is making Josiah physically and spiritually stronger.

Josiah then asked me “Is God making you stronger, too?”  

This season I am learning more about food allergies, eczema and asthma.  I have been researching more on health and nutrition, and cooking creative, healthy recipes to feed my children.  I have grown empathetic to people suffering from similar and other ailments.  During restless nights, I use the time to pray for people in my community and around the world.  I have cried out to God for healing, drawing closer to him by praying more fervently and frequently.  I am learning to rely on His strength.  I am becoming weaker so that His strength is more evident in me.

Lazada PhilippinesSo, yes, my son.  Yes, God is making me stronger.  We are both getting stronger.  I have hope that our sufferings will be used for His glory.  God is turning our weaknesses into strength.  You and I are becoming like Samson.

Christina Wu is a homeschooling mom, Sunday School teacher, and event coordinator in Bergen County, NJ. 

If you like this story, you’ll love this too → Lessons for Life: A Letter to My Beloved Son

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