I am a woman of faith, a faith that has grown deeper due to a journey these past few years that I would not wish on anyone. I have tried to come up with a more eloquent way to express this, seeking a more optimistic and encouraging story that may be of some use or encouragement to others. I read the Bible, sometimes intently, sometimes half-hearted, sometimes dismissing it for weeks or months at a time. I seek and read stories of endurance through great trials and even greater heartbreak than my own. I compare my pain to the misfortunes of others who have the courage to be vulnerable in sharing their stories. I feel brief solace in the recognition that things could be worse, but I quickly seek forgiveness for such a feeling, overcome by strong feelings of guilt for having the audacity to compare my difficulties to those of others for my own selfish reasons. I wake up asking for wisdom, and I go to bed asking for wisdom. I seek wisdom to know God's plan for me, for my son, and for my family. I believe God has a plan to prosper and not harm me (Jeremiah 29:11) and I repeat this verse to myself often. I memorize and hide countless verses in my heart in an effort to bolster my spirit so as not to succumb to the fears and anxiety and let darkness take hold of my heart. Romans 12:12, 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18, and my latest favorite, Isaiah 45:3.
A friend recently wrote to me and said "I pray that should my family ever face struggles like yours, that I would be able to face them with the same strength as you do." I am so appreciative of encouragement like this. I am forever indebted for the thousands of prayers that have been said on my behalf, and on behalf of each member of our family. Something deep inside of me shudders to think where I would be without the power of these prayers in my life. But in the last few months, the marathon has worn me out. I am battling with God about what his will is for my life and the life of my child. My latest attempt to make sense of this side of heaven is in the book When God Doesn't Answer Your Prayer, by Jerry Sittser. I try hard not to place my hope in this book because I learned the hard way that my hope cannot be rooted in anything earthly. I do hope that this book provides additional wisdom to me. Sittser clearly shows a biblical support for why God can handle my anger and my complaints, literally my assault on his power. He gives examples of Job and Jeremiah, who called God to account. In these stories, these men finally snapped and let God have it. My fear is that the point of this book, like so many I have read before, is to share that I am to use my pain for the betterment of God's kingdom. And if that is what I am called to do, I will do it. I've already accepted that role as a Christian. But doing it with joy and steadfast hope is the challenge.
With a clenched and angry jaw I cry out to God...
What about my son's illness could possibly bring you glory?
Why would you use a child as your pawn?
Why a mother's desperate love for her child to seek your own glory?
Where is your grace in all of this?
Why would I share this terribly depressing part of my heart in such a public way? Perhaps sharing where my faith is right now is more transparent and honest than simply saying "God is good, all the time." I feel myself the greatest hypocrite when people praise me for my incredible faith and spiritual strength. I desperately needed to confess where I am right now because I know I live in a broken world with other believers who have had their heart torn to pieces by circumstances different than my own. I want them to know they are not alone and that at the very least, I know God can handle the anger and resentment, the questions, the cries of feeling betrayed, the agony of seeking His grace and redemption when he seems (I stress seems) to turn His back on our fervent prayers. I don't know anything else but to continue to pray that God will come quickly and reveal to me the light I so desperately seek that only He can provide. The wait seems insult to a barrage of injury but I am confident He will answer.
The best prayers often have more groans than words.
- John Bunyan