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!