I wake up with a wild, questioning heart. Half awake, half asleep, I dream? think? and it’s all about a little girl and cancer scans and scary words like lesions and low counts. It’s about her mama, her brothers and sisters, a road already walked and so many questions. It’s about doubt and grace.
I believe that God allows suffering into our lives that we might grow, that He might be magnified. That’s all great when it’s me suffering. But a child?
My heart recoils in horror at the thought of a God who allows children to have cancer so that He might have glory. I can’t help it– it is a gut reaction, a fleshly cry against a God I love. A God I can’t understand.
In the last several months, I have learned to love my Savior more deeply than I ever expected, and I know He is good and loving and merciful and faithful and I know these things in the depths of my soul and so when I see something that doesn’t fit into my understanding of Him my heart reels and kicks against it.
I am reminded of Job, who blessed God but questioned Him, who came face to face with the Lord of the universe and was given no answers– just a glimpse of Who exactly it was he was talking to. And Job repented in dust and ashes. I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. . . . I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Who am I to put the God of the universe in a box? To expect the Creator of all, infinite and holy and so far beyond me that I can’t even begin to comprehend Him, to fit into the neat and tidy package, tied up with a pretty little bow?
I am reminded of Peter and the Twelve, after many disciples had left Jesus because of His hard-to-understand, controversial teaching. He asked if they also wanted to leave, but Peter knew the truth– Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
Job walked through unspeakable suffering and did not sin, and he was given the privilege of seeing God. The Apostles, when faced with teaching they surely did not understand, recognized that though they were conflicted, they must stay near to Jesus because He alone had the words of life.
And this is what I understand, though I understand so little about my God. I understand that nowhere else will I find what I need. He is breath and life itself. I can do nothing– I am nothing— without Him.
I understand that I see dimly, through a darkened glass, with eyes that are far too small to really see and a mind that is far too simple to truly understand the great God of the universe.
I understand that my God has never failed me and that He has proven Himself faithful and true though trials and storms and all the doubts of my feeble mind, my old nature, my wild heart.
I understand that the Creator of the universe, who upholds it all with just a word, who juggles galaxies and nurtures the tiniest of living organisms, is worthy of all praise and glory forever.
I understand that my Savior loves me, though I am entirely unworthy– though I never would have turned to Him on my own. I understand the language of the cross– the unspeakable horror and pain and rejection my Savior endured, all for me. I understand that there is nowhere else I can go to find life.
And because I understand these things, I can believe that God is good, even when friends die, even when children are laid in the ground, even when I see so much fear and brokenness around me. I can believe that there is a plan, and it is a good plan, and that my Father will not start failing now after an eternity of never failing.
I can say Yes, Lord, You are good and Your way is best. I can live a life of joy and gratitude even in a world of anger and fear and sorrow.
I can surrender my doubts and my questions and submit to His perfect way and I can know that in the darkest places of loss and suffering– that is where we see God, because He is always present there, and the light of His glory shines out brighter in the darkness of our pain, our fear, our grief.
In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Friends, will you pray for my friends’ daughter Taylor? She beat neuroblastoma a few years ago, but her scans yesterday showed lesions on her spleen and low counts that have the doctor concerned. Let’s lift her before the throne of grace, along with her parents, Randy and Julie, and her siblings and extended family.