There are so many questions that have hard, life-altering answers. They’re the ones that atheists and agnostics ask, the ones that they use to keep God at a distance. Because when you really look the answers, they seem so wrong.
Why do babies die? Why does God allow cancer, HIV, poverty, hunger? Why does God let children die of preventable diseases? Why does a faithful man get rewarded with an unfaithful wife? Why does God let bad things happen to good people?
Well, there’s the obvious. There is sin in the world, and we are an imperfect people. There must be a curse because there is evil.
But when it’s you, when these things happen to you, those answers seem hollow. They are hollow. There’s not real substance in them, and they leave hurt feelings. Why would God allow such things to happen to His people?
I’m reminded of something that Francis Chan said. In Isaiah 55, God says that His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so are His thoughts higher than our thoughts. Francis said that to say, “I wouldn’t believe in a God who…” means that we are making His thoughts submissive to our reasoning.
I actually came back to those verses a lot after my miscarriages. I had desperately wanted to be a mother. My mind was so set on it, my heart was preparing early on for this huge responsibility. I helped to raise my sisters (5 and 11 years younger than me), so I had already thought long and hard about how I wanted to parent and discipline.
After I married Drew, it seemed a natural progression to have children. When we finally found out that we were pregnant, I was ecstatic. No matter that I still had at least a year left of college; I could make it work. And then I miscarried. I was devastated, but I had hope for another child. When I miscarried the second baby, I was brought face to face with the reality that I might not have children the way that I originally thought. And I was brought very low with that reality.
After all, wasn’t that the very thing I felt called to do? Wasn’t motherhood something good? How could motherhood be a bad thing? It didn’t make sense at all, especially when I had known for sure that God had called me to be a mother.
What I didn’t realize that He was whittling away at my self-absorbed soul. He saw my imperfections and loved me enough to continue working in me. Because I am sinful. I am so very imperfect, even though I try so hard to be perfect. I am a perfectionist by nature, and I daily put myself down for not being enough or doing enough instead of leaning hard on Him who saved me by His grace.
I had to come face to face with the reality that I did not need to be a mother to be satisfied. I had to come to the point where I could fully tell God that He had all of me…all of my heart and all of my life. Fully, completely, no if’s, no and’s, no but’s, and no strings attached. After all, He graciously gives me all I need. He graciously gives me life, breath, and I have no right to claim anything that He gives.
I have mentioned before how I have to give Him everything, all. “I Surrender All” is no longer just a song; it’s a way of life. Even my daughter’s life, as much as I adore her and want her to live for as long as possible, is not mine. I cannot claim it. It’s His gift, and all I can do is thank Him for every moment I have with her. I’m pretty sure that this is what keeps me sane on the nights when she wakes up every 2 hours and I desperately need at least 4 more hours of sleep but she’s wide awake.
Do I claim to know the mind of God? May it never be! I have no clue what God’s ultimate purpose for any tragedy is. All I know is how God has worked in my life through this one hardship, and I don’t even see all of the ways He changed me through that! There are ripples, and my experience has touched other lives in ways that only God knows. Even how I treat people in everyday life has changed. And looking back, I can see good in it. I can see His grace in it. But only in hindsight. And only by…His grace.