Last Monday, I received a call from a friend telling me that another of our friends was having a difficult time. And, even as I write that, I laugh at the understatement. A difficult time? His precious little girl had been rushed to the emergency room where they had to bring her back to life and place her on life support. Unfathomable. Even not being a parent, I understand that there are no words to describe what they must be feeling. I know my heart is breaking, and I am merely a distant observer.
As I've watched this painful process unfold by reading their updates on Emily's situation, I've been struck by the depth of faith and surrender I've seen. The following post from Nathan on October 21st, struck me to the core and challenged my own faith.
"SO -- It has been brought up, by someone that I love dearly, that these posts do not entirely capture what life is like, at least from my perspective. I have to agree. For two main reasons I have kept these posts on the lighter side:
"1. I feel a responsibility to not depress people with my antics, b/c they can be heavy, depressing, and wild at times. :)
2. When I sit down to type it is nearly impossible to put down in words how I feel at times. Usually when I sit down I am just trying to report. Although everything I type is from my heart, it is not always the entire picture. I hope you can all understand that.
"Therefore -- I will divulge a bit so you can understand the bigger picture.
"MANY people want to encourage us in our situation and that is Biblical and right and everything else. We should all do our best to be an encouragement to others that are suffering in one way or another. Right now we are having meals brought to us every few days and IT IS INCREDIBLE! Our friends and church members (who are also friends) are showing incredible selflessness as they care for us, the wounded. I feel wounded.
"Aside from the incredible things that people do for us, and aside from the VERY important friendships that have developed over the past couple of years here in MD.... almost every day someone will make this comment: "Things will get better." Bull Sh^*. I am sorry, but God does not promise that anything will get better. Gazillions of people die in pain. Linnea died in pain except for the Morphine that gave her. Linnea's life did not "get better." There are times that we may feel equipped to endure some sort of pain be it mental, spiritual, physical, etc... but should we expect things to get better? Is that really faithfulness? God's intentions may be for us to suffer some string of tragedies until the day we die b/c He deems that to be more useful in His plan then excusing us from tragedy and suffering. That is more probable to me b/c we live to serve Him, however He wants us to serve. God wants us to serve him by living through the death of our children. He expects us to stick to it in our marriage even though we are tired, hurt, grieved, and can't get a long a lot of the time. I do believe that we can gain strength from the Lord in this and he DOES promise to give us the strength to endure it... but, if when people say that they mean "God will give you the strength and it will seem as though things are better b/c your relationship with Him is better," then I could agree, but I don't think that is what people are saying. Also, "God must be preparing you for something big." Well maybe he isn't. Maybe we are suffering so Annabelle can do "something big" with her life and we are just the stepping stones for the great way God will use Annabelle and it will really suck for us. Seriously, why couldn't it be that? Maybe God wants our marriage to be as difficult as it is b/c our constant need to work through things is a better witness to the people God puts in our life than a marriage where things are great most of the time. BTW -- I had a great conversation with a friend about how we are "so strong in the midst of this." I encouraged him to understand that if he sees strength it is b/c he sees Jesus, not us. It is hard to capture my thoughts on this in writing, but..... when I feel weak and rung out, I see how God is using us to infect other peoples lives. I don't want to feel weak all the time, but I do want to see how God is using us for His glory and to "further the Kingdom." I just feel all a mess most of the time. That does NOT, however, mean that I doubt God's goodness, or I curse Him, or anything of the sort. It just means that I am still learning how to deal with the responsibility that God has given me and us.
"OKOK -- I don't know if I should keep on typing this. I want everyone to know that we DO feel encouraged by you and we DO appreciate your goodness to us. It gets fuzzy for me when I experience the meaning that others want to attach to our life. I want to serve the Lord b/c I want to serve Him, not b/c I think things will get better or b/c there is some big plan in our future that will make all of this seem worth it. We already think that this is "worth it," but that doesn't really make it less confusing. It's confusing b/c a lot of the time we just don't want it to be real anymore. We want it to all fade away like a bad dream... but it won't and we are learning to live with that every day. I think we will always be learning to live with it every day. The events of our lives are the ones that you want to forget, but you hope you never will. It's like what overcompulsiveness would be like spiritually I guess. We want it to stop, but it can't... but only b/c in the end, it is good."
I shared some of this story with the congreation at my church on Sunday before we continued in worship with "Blessed be Your Name". This is a family who chooses to say "Blessed be Your Name" when it doesn't make sense to the rest of us. Chew on that. Roll that around in your head and see how it challenges you. Pray for this family. Please, pray for them. I have nothing to add to what he says here. This is evidence of a faith that has withstood unthinkable adversity and a heart who truly wants to serve and seek after God. May it challenge you.
Visit www.the-lee-family.us and/or http://emilysupdates.blogspot.com to encourage this family, make yourself aware of their situation, and pray for them.