I hate going to the doctors – absolutely dread it. It ranks among the top 5 things I hate doing. My reasoning behind this is somewhat long and boring. I wrote it out and deleted it because I was falling asleep re-reading it. But you should note I did NOT say I hate doctors. I think they are wonderful, knowledgable people for the most part. In fact, sometimes I wish we had a live-in doc to tell me what needs to be medicated or seen by a professional; thankfully we do have Daniel’s Grandmother who is a nurse. We call her any time, day or night; and we always receive sound medical advice. She is pretty laid back about most things – usually saying it’ll run its course while dispensing advice about how to care for the patient in the meantime. And she’s been right every time. There was even a time I felt strongly we should go to the ER for one of the kids; she advised us to stay home, giving us things to do here instead of spending hours in the ER with nothing but a huge bill to show for it. Daniel, who is altogether more laid back about medical problems than I am, almost had to tie me down; but once again – she was right and we were saved a lot of headache and hassle.
So when I called her the other night about a problematic infected sore that was obviously spreading at a “decent” rate and she told me to go to the ER if it got any worse, I was a mess – to put it lightly. As I sat on our vanity putting the hottest washcloths I could stand on the sore I realized something that I’ve been subconsciously struggling with for a while. It literally hit me a like ton of bricks… Would God care if I died tonight? (not that I was in any imminent danger of dieing! but I was thinking worst case scenario, something I tend to do altogether too much with medical issues) And if He does care, how do I account for all the senseless deaths in the world due to freak mishaps, whether it be by man’s doing (a drunk driver causing a fatality), but more importantly by nature – like a sore that gets infected leading to blood infection, etc etc, or the young child who gets the flu and dies from complications. Maybe this is why I have always been so tense when my kids get sick. There’s no guarantee he/she isn’t going to be the one in one million when an ear infection leads to hospitalization. It just seems so senseless when a person, young or old, dies from something that generally isn’t life threatening. How do I make peace with this all while believing in a God who loves each person so much that He knows the number of hairs on his/her head? (Seriously – that is mind blowing!)
At Alicia’s visitation we shook hands with/hugged approximately 500 people, but the one comment that I remember from that whole evening was someone – I honestly don’t remember who – who said to me “It was God’s plan.” (Funeral etiquette note – that is NOT a comforting comment to make to someone grieving the loss of a loved one, no matter how much the bearer of such sentiments believes it!) Really… do you really truly believe that? Maybe you haven’t had anyone close to you die a senseless death. God’s plan to let a toddler die and leave his parents aching to hold him and hear him laugh just one more time. God’s plan to let both my and Daniel’s grandpas die at a relatively young age, leaving behind teenage and young adult kids who would have benefited from their wisdom and godliness? God’s plan to let my intelligent, young sister have LAM – a disease that only 1500 women in the world are diagnosed with? God’s plan that someone should feel so hopeless and distraught that ending it all appears to be the best answer? Really? God’s plan? Really?
Someone else may say “Maybe you haven’t/didn’t pray hard enough.” That’s another area I’m completely struggling with right now as well. So many times I can look back on my life and say I prayed about X, Y & Z, and it was answered – even really big things like my marriage surviving serious issues. I can even acknowledge those times when I prayed for something to happen, and it didn’t; however I learned so much more by getting a different answer than the one I thought would be best. But even in those times of “tough love” answers, the ability of my loved ones to continue living and breathing wasn’t at stake. Let me tell you how much I’ve prayed that my sister’s disease would be slow moving – presently it’s not. Let me tell you how much we prayed for Alicia. And where did that get us? Possibly the biggest heartache we could fathom from the situation. How is it that God’s plan feels so random and many times altogether so uncaring? Is it just that life this side of heaven really means absolutely nothing in the long run? Just a test to see if we will remain faithful?
And yet as I struggle along this shattered road, I’m not ready to give up on God. I know He’s with my sister. She will tell you He is faithful and about the miraculous! birth of her son. I can still sense Him in the thunder and lightening of a summer storm, in the rustle of the leaves, in the faces of my children, while holding my husband’s hand and listening to a beautiful piece of music, when visiting my parents’ farm, during choir practice, in the hearts of so many people who continue to send us cards and let us cry on their shoulders. I can even sense Him walking this road beside me although sometimes I don’t know how to respond to that. While I continue to question this God of “mine,” I’ve also been filled to overflowing with a new gratefulness for all that He has given me. A strange and quiet peace I’ve never known before has filled my soul even as I deal with relentless physical tension from the chaos of my emotions that leaves me unable to breathe deeply at times and my shoulders in continuous knots.
It’s been a long walk with no end in sight; but I’m not giving up on You, God, please don’t give up on me either.