Friday, April 5, 2013
Where is God when bad things happen?
As I sit outside on this gorgeous day, looking over my meditation garden I am reminded of just how fragile life is. Whether you are talking about human life, the life of a beloved pet or farm animal, or the life of a beautiful plant, they were all created by THE one and only, The alpha and omega, THE GOD of all. Isn't that kind of cool? To think th the same God who created me, created the little lizard I am currently watching run across the ground hoping to escape my dog!! I'm listening to birds sing, bees buzz, the breeze blowing through the trees. Talk about peace and tranquility This spot has it. With a few more blooming flowers, it will be almost perfect!
I am reminded though, just how fragile and unpredictable life is. You wake up each morning ready to get your day going, as you normally do. You get your coffee drank, everyone dressed and sent off to wherever their day may take them, and then you start your day. Everything in our perfect lives is, well, perfect. We have no major ordeals to overcome, no obstacles in our way. Yet we take all that we have for granted. It could be gone in an instant. Reminds me of an old hymn, "I know who holds tomorrow".
"Many things about tomorrow, I don't seem to understand. But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand."
We all go throughout our lives and moan and groan about our aches and pains, about the fact that something didn't go the way WE wanted it to, or the fact that we are having a bad hair day. But stop for a minute and think about those who don't know if they even have a tomorrow, or if someone they love dearly has a tomorrow. Oh, we all claim to have faith that God will get us through whatever trials He sends our way, but do we really? How would you handle it if you got a phone call telling you that your spouse has been in a terrible accident, your mother/sister/cousin/best friend has just been told they have cancer, or your child is ill with what you think is a really bad cold so you go to your pediatrician to get it taken care of and get your baby to feeling better.
But at that doctor appointment things don't go as you had planned. The doctor doesn't like something so he runs numerous tests and you wait, and wait, and wait for the results. Finally, the doctor comes in the room with a nurse, social worker, and who knows who else with him. Instantly you know something serious is going on.
As he begins to speak, telling you that he has no clue what is going on with your baby and he doesn't know how to help her feel better, so he is referring you elsewhere. But the referral is not a typical referral. He's not sending you to a larger city to a more specialized physician. No. You are being referred to THE children's facility, the best in the country, and to one of the best physicians in the country, to treat YOUR child for whatever ailment she has. Now is when your faith really begins to be tested. What is your response?
I know what mine would be. Tears, anger, confusion would be some of the emotions I would freely express. The first thing I would do? Call my husband, of course. After all the confusion of the day somewhat settles down, then, and only then, I would finally remember to talk to my Father. Finally, at the end of one of the worst days of my life I would remember to pray. Is that true faith? If I wait to talk to God about what has me so upset until the end of the day. Am I really trusting that He is going to help me get through this? I don't think so.
I should have stopped as soon as the doctor finished telling me his wonderful news, got down on my knees right there in that doctor office, and thanked God for giving me the beautiful child that I have had for a few years, few months, few days. We should be thankful ALWAYS for the wonderful gifts God gives us, but are we? No. We are too busy being selfish, wanting to feel better, wanting everything to be fixed and we believe it is up to us to fix it, so we trust only in ourselves.
That is not the case for a young couple in my community. I don't know the details of that first fateful doctor visit. I don’t know how they were told or how they reacted immediately following the relaying of the news. But I do know what I have seen since the beginning of a rather horrendous journey this family has had to endure. And it’s not over yet.
As is the norm for our Sunday school class, and I’m sure many others as well, we start our class time off with a prayer list. Everyone has an opportunity to place someone’s name on the prayer list and this typically involves a brief explanation of the reason for the prayer request. When Ms. Emily spoke up and began to tell our class about little Parson, an infant barely three months old, if that, it became very difficult for anyone to keep the tears from falling.
We heard of breathing difficulties, lung infections, abnormalities, doctors being baffled, and the fact that there have only been 5 other children with this disorder treated at Texas Children’s Hospital. We also were told of the possibility of this tiny baby needing a lung transplant. There was not a dry eye in our classroom.
Then something amazing happened. We began hearing of the faith of this young family. Even in what some would consider the darkest hour of their lives, this young couple turned their eyes up. I’m sure there were tears, but through those tears, they thanked God for the gift of Parson in their lives. The thanked God for the doctors they had been sent to. They told anyone who asked about their situation that God was going to get them through it. They shared their faith every chance they had. They gained strength through their faith in Jesus Christ.
Through all of the sorrow and heartache, fear and uncertainty, this couple is still maintaining strength through their faith in Jesus Christ, the Great Physician. Because of the faith this family has shown, many more people in our community have had their faith strengthened. Even through times when they have to watch their young infant struggle to breathe, or be placed on a ventilator to breathe for her, through surgery for placement of a feeding tube or IV lines, they maintain their faith. They continue to thank God, even through the hard times.
Most of us are grateful to God for all the good things He give us, all the wonderful gifts He gives us, our family, our children, our homes, cars, etc. But how many times do we stop and thank God for the difficulties He allows us to endure? More likely, we are blaming God for our difficult times. We accuse Him of turning His back on us, leaving us alone to deal with whatever we are going through. We are always asking where is God or where was God when tragedy strikes. When 9/11 happened there were people everywhere asking why God wasn’t on those planes, or where was He when the few attempted to regain control of their plane.
Questions were asked recently after the horrible school shooting in Newtown, CT where numerous children lost their lives and even more witnessed the evil as it happened.
Where was God? He was right there. God has a plan for everything. We have no clue what that plan is, and if we knew the plan, we would never be able to understand it. Consider the complexity of mapping out a plan for billions of people, all at one time!! I’m going crazy just trying to plan a vacation for two people, for five days! God has mapped out a plan for every man, woman, and child, for their entire lives!! Think about that!! If that doesn’t make your jaw drop in awe of His amazing power, I don’t know what will.
Today, a small, precious, always smiling infant was placed on a waiting list to receive a double lung transplant. Thank God for that, but at the same time, I am saddened by it. For this precious child to receive her lungs which will enable her to prayerfully be able to live a little more normal life, for her to be able to do that, another child has to die. Another family, probably totally unsuspecting at this moment, will face the most horrendous of trials in their lives. They will be asked to say goodbye to their precious child, and then they will be asked about donating organs. They will be horrified at first, but after a few moments of serious thought, they will agree, and Parson’s new lungs will be on the way to her.
It’s not really that simple, but I think you get the idea. While one family rejoices at the fact that their child will be receiving a chance at life, another will be grieving the loss of their child.
It is my prayer that the donor family will have even a small portion of the faith that Jennifer and Rodney have, to help them through the most difficult task of their lives. As you consider the pain that family is going to feel, imagine the pain God feels when we turn our back on Him, or we fail to thank Him for our lives, for the very air we breathe, for everything! Imagine the pain God feels when one of His children takes His name in vain, or worships some silly idol. Imagine the pain and disappointment God feels each and every day when we climb out of our comfortable bed and head to the coffee pot, because we don’t function well without our coffee each morning. But then, one thing leads to another and before you know it you are climbing back into that bed for a night of rest before you do it all again the next day. Only we left out the most important part of our day, the most important task we left undone. We got the laundry done, we made dinner. We made phone calls or attended a church service. But we forgot to include God in any of it. Imagine how that hurts Him when we do that each and every day, numerous times each day.
I have been so guilty of this myself but at this time I am making myself a promise to do my very best to speak to God before I ever climb out of that bed, and then to sit and have coffee WITH God as we plan out my day. I am going to do my very best to be sure to spend much, much more time with God and thank Him for all the things in my life, good or bad. Because I know He has a reason for sending me the trials as well as the triumphs.
Stop right now and pray for Parson and her family. Pray for the family that will become her lung donors. Pray for the medical personnel involved in every aspect of the donation process and the care of Parson and her family as well as the donors family. Pray for all those people that we come into contact with each and every day that do not know Jesus as their personal savior. Pray for yourself to have the courage and the words to speak when you speak to a non-believer. Pray for opportunities to speak to someone about Jesus.
Most importantly, live your life in such a way that everyone who sees you knows you are a child of God and there is something special about you. Make them want to know what is so special and to have the desire to be special as well.
I know this post has been all over the place but I had a lot on my mind and I felt it needed to be said. I felt God leading me to write at least 75% or more of this.
God bless you all and kiss your children and grandchildren. Thank God for them. Remember, we are not promised tomorrow, or even 10 minutes from now. A very smart man told me not long ago that every time he tells someone goodbye, he does it as if it is the last chance he will have to do so. He makes sure that those he is telling goodbye know that he loves them, EVERY TIME! Let’s all make a conscious effort to do just that.
Go visit the blog of Jennifer Herrington and learn about the mountain her family is climbing. See for yourself how strong their faith is. You will be glad that you did.