Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thinking..

It hardly seems possible that only two short weeks have passed since I sat down to write the first post for this blog. I’ve easily learned more in these past two weeks than in the months or possibly years preceding this news, but that is only confirmation to me that Jesus is using this in my life, and for that I am grateful. One thing I have been doing a lot of in the past weeks is thinking. I feel like I think and think and think until sometimes I wish I could stop thinking. I know that the extra thinking just comes with the territory, but at the same time I’m facing the struggle of “taking every thought captive” as my 12th grade Bible teacher stressed so regularly. I know thinking in of it self isn’t bad, yet I know that it can also lead to anger and frustration as I try and understand God and fail. I can remember my grandfather saying that he wouldn’t want to serve a God he could understand because then that would put God on our level. I believe that with all my heart, and I want to continue walk in the knowledge that I won’t ever be able to comprehend or work out logically in my mind all of the ways of God, and that’s just the way it should be.

That being said, what has been most prevalent in my thoughts, not surprisingly, is suffering. I’ve kind of categorized it into three broad groups: 1) suffering brought on by your own sin 2) suffering brought on by other people’s sin 3) suffering that is apart from human control. God allows them all, and I don’t think any kind is easier to deal with than another, but I feel like I at least understand the suffering from the first group. It makes sense in my mind that actions have consequences, even if they are devastating. The second group has always been harder for me. I know that I will never be able to understand events like the Holocaust, the Crusades, or the terrible genocides that plague history. My heart aches when I think of the suffering that humans have endured at the hands of other humans, and so much of me wants to question how God can allow it. But whenever my mind wanders to this point, I remember that above all else, it breaks God’s heart. What comfort there is to know that Jesus knows more than any person who has ever walked the earth what it means to suffer, and He cries and hurts with His children when they suffer at the hands of evil.

The third group is where I find myself right now. I know that God chose to allow Poppy to be created with an extra 18th chromosome, and that is hard. There is no one to blame or point a finger at but God, and I know that is what Satan is tempting me to do each and every day. If just for a second I start walking in my own strength and wisdom, I can see so clearly where the path will lead: straight to bitterness, anger, and depression. But, thank you Jesus, I am not bound to that path! God has been so clearly impressing the depth of His love for me in this situation that I am getting to the point where I can truly say “Thank you for the suffering!” because I know it is not without purpose.

Illustrations have always helped me grasp difficult to understand concepts, and I feel like God gave me one the other day to help me get my mind around the kind of suffering we are going through right now. He showed me that it is similar to me taking Marianna into the doctor for her vaccinations. I know that there is no way that I can explain to her ahead of time why the pain of the shot is necessary to keep her healthy and safe, so I don’t even try. All I do is hold her tight while the nurse stabs the needle into her soft skin, and then comfort her until the sting of the shot goes away. When we walk out of the office together, I know that she doesn’t understand why I let the nurse hurt her, but she doesn’t dwell on it. She just knows that she is safe and that I love her. I know it must be the same way with God. My mind cannot understand the “why” behind the hurt, and so God doesn’t tell me what I couldn’t possibly comprehend. Instead, He loves me and puts His arms around me and gives me strength that I don’t have on my own. Just like Marianna, I want to be able to say in my heart, “It is enough, Jesus, to know that you love me, and that I am safe in Your hands.” Psalm 55:22 says "Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken." Amen!

12 comments:

joycerogers1933 said...

Dear Angie:
Yes, we try to understand God's ways, but cannot.
Elizabeth Eliott, who suffered so many losses, said that she looked into the black abyss of her circumstances and saw nothing. But she gave that nothing to God and in return He gave her the gift of Himself." I have been there and know that this is true. At the time it is a great step of faith. I sense that you are taking that step. He will help you., I love you dearly, Grammy

jeweljannie said...

Dearest Angie,
One of my favorite verses says, " When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Thy comforts delight my soul." I know that it is so hard not to let anxious thoughts multiply. The God of all comfort surely knows and will give you great joy and peace. As Papa used to always tell me : " Don't take counsel with your fears."
Today I will pray for you and Nathn that You would indeed cast all your cares upon HIm, for he cares for you. You are so special to me. Love, Mom

Mandy said...

Praying for you each day.

Mandy Hopkins
GA
www.madelinegracehopkins.blogspot.com

Jana said...

Angie, I can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate your honest words - I read every new post and find new ways to pray for you and for Nathan as you journey down this road. I am so joyful that you are allowing God's hand to remain on you during this time and that you are trusting, rather than questioning, His almighty and perfect plan.

jeanne said...

Your words bless me so much. It encourages my walk even though I know your walk is so tough. I don't know what you are going through but He is teaching me through you. Seeing your Grammy's words...she has gone before you down a dark path and she is calling you from ahead telling you God is still so faithful. That makes me smile - not for the dark path but that God proves Himself to us especially on those dark paths. I love you!!

Laurin said...

Angie, each time I see you and Nathan, I see the strength of our Lord surrounding your presence. He is indeed carrying you and He is indeed faithful!

Joanna Young said...

Angie,

I am terribly sorry to hear of this news. I have been praying for you and Nathan since I heard. I wanted to leave you with one of the many truths that helped me get through some of my darkest valleys: "When you can't trace God's hand, trust His heart." I think you know who said those wise words. Blessings to you! Joanna Young Isaiah 49:16

trustinginHim said...

Dear Angie and Nathan:
With tears in my eyes, I read your blog yesterday regarding your current trial, and am greatly shocked and sadddened by it, but also truly awed and blessed by your great faith and courage. It's impossible to know how you must be feeling -- I can only imagine --and my heart goes out to you. Rest assured that many people across this community will be praying for you during this journey. Every time I pass your house,which is often, I will whisper a prayer to our Heavenly Father to encourage, stengthen and comfort you. I know that when you come out on the other side of this trial that you will have a marvelous testimony of God's faithfulness, love and grace that will bless many people and bring glory to His Name.
Your neighbors Margie & Bob

Patrick Clough said...

May you continue to accept God's bounty of grace and mercy and tenderness. You most surely are pleasing to your Heavenly Father and a marvelous example of one who deeply and truly loves Jesus.

You and your family are so dearly loved and we are petitioning for you before the throne.

David Rogers said...

Angie & Nathan,

I finally got a link to your blog, and have begun to read from the start. As others have already stated, your openness and honesty is really a blessing.

Anyone who has thought much about anything important at all has given a good bit of thought to the subject of suffering. Not that it necessarily makes things any easier, but you appear to really be doing some first-rate thinking about suffering. I think your analogy about Marianna in the doctor's office is an incredible insight.

Yes, it is true, you, nor I, nor anyone else understands right now just why God is allowing you to go through this. But, in the meantime, He is allowing you to bless others through what He is teaching you. And for that, I am thankful.

Uncle David

Anonymous said...

I am experiencing a very different type of suffering, but nonetheless, I hurt deeply. I want you to know that God is teaching me something amazing through your words & unwavering faith. Be confident that this trial is not in vain. That Dear Poppy's life and the circumstances surrounding it, God is using, and will continue to use for HIS glory. And that's what it's all about.

Anonymous said...

I found the link to you from Copeland's blog.I will start praying for you and your family. I just wanted you to know that you have put things into perspective for me in my life. Your analogy was so moving. I had never thought of it like that before. Just know that as you go down this difficult road, you have changed my life.Thank you.