Friday, February 1, 2008

Enigma


Have you ever taken one of those personality tests? There are several different types out there. Some try to liken you to one of four animals, while others prefer to narrow you down to your primary personality characteristic. But regardless of the specific test, the concept behind each is generally the same. The goal is to give some measure of predictability to your personality type, in hopes that knowing which category you fall in will help you understand yourself a little bit better and possibly shed light on likely behavior patterns in the future.

When I was in high school I ate these up. I thought I wanted to be a psychologist, so these little test thingys were right down my alley. I figured it was best to know myself up and down before attempting to psycho analyze anyone else! Well, over time the dreams of me as psychologist drifted by the wayside, and my fervor for test taking fizzled out, but what has remained with me is a desire to feel like people, especially those I am close to, maintain some basic levels of predictability.

I'm as keen on spontaneity as the next person when it involves a surprise trip for my birthday or flowers on some ho-hum day of the week when I wasn't expecting them, but when it comes to most behaviors, I want to be able to know what to expect. I know Nathan through and through, his patterns, his reactions, his moods, and any big deviation from his normal sphere of “usual” would unnerve me. I think this is one of the biggest reasons I sometimes have a problem with God.

What started me thinking about this was a verse I read the other day from Psalm 77:19. It says, “Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and Thy footsteps are not known.” I know that God’s character is unchangeable. That His love, wisdom, mercy, and grace are the foundation I can build my life upon. But this verse also tells me that while He is the Rock of Ages, the ways He chooses to act are beyond predictability. Just as the sea leaves no trail to follow, God’s actions are untraceable. There is no formula to plug in or test to predict the works and ways of our Father. That can be a lot to swallow sometimes, especially when my concepts of what is “fair” sneak in and set up camp in my mind.

As I’ve watched the many girls in my life go through the process of losing their babies, the truth of this verse has been confirmed. No one’s story is exactly the same, despite the shared diagnosis of Trisomy 18. I am left without any explanation as to why I had Poppy 3 hours, while Copeland spent 8 days, Maddox just moments, Tristan 56 days, and Mary Grace 7 hours. Who could have predicted, much less make sense of the way God chose to work?

Hebrews 11 is a chapter that highlights the unpredictability factor in the works and ways of God. In these verses, the great heroes of the faith are listed. Many of these were witness to the miracles of God. Noah was delivered from the earth altering flood, Moses was saved from death at the hand of Pharoah, and Enoch was spared physical death as he was whisked straight form this world to heaven.

But then as the chapter progresses you get to a verse that begins, “but others.” With these words, the chapter segues into a long list of the people whose faith was just as great, but who did not experience the same kind of miracles from God. These saints of the faith were tortured, mocked, stoned, cut in two, starved, and the list goes on. God allowed these to suffer tremendously even though their faith was great. What does this say? Does God love them less than those He chose to save?

No!

I can’t explain it, but I know it’s true. I know that God’s actions are not an indicator of his level of love for His children. Why He allows what He allows will always be a mystery because His ways are beyond human prediction. He is an enigma. Yet His character is unchanging and His promises are true. That is what I will hold on to.

ps: this picture is of my Papa with poppies in Switzerland. Grammy just found it today, and I loved it so much I wanted to share it with you.

15 comments:

Kenzie Stanfield said...

Angie-

What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for reminding me of the "unpredictability" of this life through our Lord. Through these last several months, I've known it with my head, but now I am experiencing it so greatly with my heart. You are so right... He doesn't love us less... nor did He love any of those who were persecuted for Him less either. It's hard to comprehend sometimes, but you expressed it perfectly. All of our journeys have been so similar, yet so incredibly different. Amazing.

Love you and praying,
Kenzie

jena baker said...

Angie,

This was a good reminder to me. The last 3 weeks I have been going through a miscarriage.While I know that all things are in God's plan, it is good to be reminded that God loves me just the same as before the miscarriage and that losing a baby is not a form of punishment for some sin. Thanks for continuing to share your thoughts. Still praying for your family.

Laurie said...

Boy Angie,

This one speaks to my heart so much today as I have wondered back over the past few months and thought about all "my T-18 girls" and the journeys you have all traveled. No two exactly alike and yet the common thread for all of you is T-18 and the Lord. Each precious baby's hours and days numbered differently. Each one loved unconditionally by each of your families, each loved by God. I do trust Him in each of these journeys, but my heart also hurts along side of each of you. His ways and His will will always be a mystery to me.
What a great picture of your Papa and Poppies, two of your treasures.

Love you Angie,
Laurie in Ca.

Dee Dee said...

That's where I heard your Grampa preach - in Switzerland.
And what a blessing to see him with the poppies. Such a perfect illustration of those two you so love, safe together, although further away than Switzerland, in a place of even more breathtaking beauty than the majestic Alps. With the One Who loves us all best. Wow. Thanks for sharing that!

Mary Lou said...

Angie, you write
so beautifully. You express yourself so well. That is a gift from God...He is using you to encourage so many. Thank you for all you wrote in this post.It encouraged this Nana's heart. The picture of your Papa grabbed my heart and brought tears to my eyes.Blessings on your sweet life.

Kim (marygracesummons.blogspot.com) said...

Sweet Angie,
I loved your post today. I have to be honest - I am struggling. But your reminder that God loves me just as much is a comfort. "I belive but God help me with my unbelief"
I continue to pray for you. I continue to gaze at Poppy's picture on my desk - a sweet reminder.
I love you,
Kim

Fresh Girl said...

Angie, thank you so much for sharing that photo of your Papa, my precious pastor. I can't look at a picture of him without tears springing to my eyes, and seeing him there with those beautiful poppies just magnified that. What a beautiful reminder that he and Poppy are together and in a far better place than here OR Switzerland.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to let you guys know how much I was touched by your story and photos. I see such love and joy in your faces...in spite of the pain. Although we all go through trials we don't understand, we all walk through dark shadows, we can all rest assured that He is watching our every move, and guiding us with His perfect plan. Thanks for being such an inspiration.

love,
Melissa Allen

ps Nathan- I can't believe you're a father. Many congrats!! I'm very proud of you.

Fern said...

Wonderful post. Thank you.

Brandi said...

Love the picture!! Love the post!

Anonymous said...

Angie,
The picture of your grandfather is priceless and precious. Thanks for sharing.
Macy

Anonymous said...

Saw this today and thought of you.

http://www.uncommongoods.com/item/item.jsp?itemId=13847

Grammy said...

Precious Angie and Nathan:
You keep encouraging my heart.I know your Papa is so"proud"of you both.

Wth great love and gratitude!

Grammy

Brandi's Mom said...

Angie - I love the picture of Dr. Rogers! It should be on Poppy's wall.

Jana said...

I'm writing mainly just to let you guys know that I'm still reading and still loving your posts. for someone that knows you both so well, it's wonderful to be able to read these and to get to know you a little bit better each time.
much much much love coming to you from Alabama. . .