“Have faith, things will work out. God always works things out.”
“Have patience, things will get better. Just trust God.”
These hasty dismissals from well-intended passerbys mock me. Taunt me.
Because things are not working out. At least not in the way I’d hoped.
This past week we spent countless hours rescuing our one-year-old son as his body turned blue. Over and over. Breathing into him, frantically calming him so his airway would not collapse. Suctioning him as he vomited repeatedly and choked as it went back down. Death wasn’t my main fear. It was the threat of further brain damage. Further debilitation to his already severely disabled body.
We’ve waited over a year a half for “things to get better”. My mother-in-law used to always try to rally our spirits with, “Keep your chin up, things will get better.” She doesn’t say that anymore. What if the pain and problems don’t go away or get better? What if they get worse? Where is God then? What if His providence fills you with foreboding instead of comfort?
Next week we will give our other son, four-year-old Noah, over to the surgeons. The surgeons who will open him and cut out a part of his heart. We will turn him over to machines that keep his lungs and heart alive.
Somewhere in the exhaustion of the night, the anguish of watching Calvin struggle, and trepidation of our Noah’s surgery, a hard word quietly escaped my mouth, “Curses.”
It seemed that God had turned on us. We had just prayed fervently to the Lord, giving Noah over to His hands. As we prayed and spent the days trusting the Lord with his future it felt like He stood in front of us and unflinchingly knocked us over to the ground while we were bowing before Him.
No longer did God seem our refuge and fortress. He began to be the enemy in my mind. Didn’t He know we had more than we could handle? Didn’t He know that we were barely keeping it together? Didn’t He care we were exhausted and already feeling broken? Didn’t He know we needed to be put together again? Instead it felt like we were being finished off, ground under His heel.
It’s terrifying to think of God Jehovah as an enemy. Who can stand before Him? We have no right for blessing. But we desperately want it, need it. And when it doesn’t happen we rage, “Whose side are you on anyway? It doesn’t seem like mine.” And then guilt clouds our soul because our own barrenness glares sharply back at us and we know we have no right for mercy.
We are left to whisper quietly, Search me O Lord. Why is Your hand so heavy on us? Where is the glory in this?
Where is the glory in this? This probably would have been my thought too if I had stood at the cross of the one who died two thousand years ago, Jesus the Christ. Naked, defeated, shamed. How could there be glory in something so tragic? But there was. The very picture of defeat was God’s picture of triumph, redemption, possibility. Where there was brokenness there was a place for God to change the world of sinners.
And so I take my own picture of brokenness and pain. I lay it at the feet of the Lord and I plead, Have mercy. Don’t let defeat and sorrow be the final chapter. Turn these sorrows into the greatest joys our lives. Turn these defeats into inlets for Your mighty work. Take Your hand and cover this brokenness with the fullness of the Savior.
The picture of our life keeps changing. Make it more like You, Lord. Help me to let go of the way I thought it would be.