So I've been noodling this thing for about a year now. I've alluded to it in a past posts. But I think I need to share this, if only to reassure my two dear sisters-in-law after last night's conversation that I haven't completely lost my faith (or my mind, although the jury's probably still out on that last one.)
So here's the thing: Have you ever wondered why God chooses to miraculously heal sometimes and other times not? Have you ever wondered what's the point in praying if God's gonna do what He's gonna do regardless? Have you ever been told by some well-meaning "Christian" that you just have to have faith? As if having the right amount of faith (what would that be?!) or praying the right kinds of prayers will get you the result you want?
Yeah, me too.
Do you know all the "right", Scriptural, theologically-sound answers but it just doesn't satisfy your heart? You know, you believe, you trust that God is good and loving and has our best interest in mind but it doesn't FEEL like He's good or loving right now?
I hope I'm not alone in that one either!
God and I are not on speaking terms right now.
It's ok, really. He's not mad and I'm not mad. I just don't have anything to say to Him right now because my feelings are hurt.
You see, I prayed faithfully, diligently, tearfully, hopefully and unceasingly for Hannah. So did hundreds, if not thousands, of other people all over the world. Now, I know these things to be true: Hannah has been eternally healed. Hannah is with my Jesus. I will see her again someday. I know God will use Hannah's death for His glory, Amen! I know God loves Hannah more than I do.
I also know that God is sovereign. I know God is Almighty. But therein lies my issue...God IS in control and it was completely within His power to miraculously heal Hannah and therefore, the only conclusion I can draw is that He deliberately chose not to. Now, before you go trying to slap "faith band-aids" on me like "We live in a fallen world" and "God moves in mysterious ways" or "You just need to trust Him," or even "God works everything for good for those who love Him," let me hasten to add that I KNOW all of these things. And while they may all be true they don't really help heal that broken part of my heart.
So this is the part where I told the Lord, "Y'know, my feelings are hurt because I feel like you could have prevented this but you didn't even though I begged and pleaded with you. So, I know we need to hash this thing out between us but I don't really feel like it right now. So I'll talk to you later...much later."
Which brings me to today's sermon at my church by Dr. Scott Duvall. Scott, I know you don't read my blog, but that one today was directed right at me!
We're doing a summer series on the Holy Spirit and I really couldn't even tell you what the main point was of today's message. Because I couldn't get past something Scott said...The gist of it was that life is complex and messy. We don't understand why things happen the way they do and God never promised that our lives as His children would be pain-free. But He has promised us that His Spirit will live in us and He will ALWAYS be with us. Even through the painful times. Especially through the painful times. As Glenn Beck said in his show "The Christmas Sweater", "Sometimes God doesn't intend to rescue you from your storm; sometimes He just wants to carry you through it."
Scott told a story about a young man who has had a particularly rough year of jobless-ness. Scott says he asked him what he's learned through this difficult time and he immediately said "Two things: Faith band-aids don't help; they hurt, and what you believe about God makes all the difference."
So I just had to smile in spite of myself. I could feel my Heavenly Father, probably with a tear and a twinkle in His eye, gently nudging me and saying, "Anytime you're ready. I'll be here. Waiting."
So, while I still don't know any of the answers to those troubling questions, I will choose to cling to what I do know: God is good, all the time.
And that makes all the difference.