So, this battle's been going on in my head for several weeks (months?) now. My faith in God is sure and certain, but my confidence is not. I know, and firmly believe without a doubt, that God can and does heal. But. But sometimes He chooses not to. Like the man who sought out Jesus for healing of his demon-possessed son, I have said, "...But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”(Mark 9:22b) And therein lies my problem. But.
Because of that but, my prayers have been weak, a jumbled mess of supplication. I know God can heal, but I doubt He will. The result is prayers that are ineffective and confused, overshadowed by a fatalistic attitude. I didn't use to be this way, but after reading a book I picked up last week titled, A Grace Disguised, I was convicted. For several weeks, I knew God was speaking to me. He knew the battle raging in my head, the torrent of thoughts swirling constantly the past few months.
You see, He heals some people. He does. But not everyone. Some of us, instead, plan a funeral, pick out a casket, and design a headstone. People do die. Cemeteries are full of deceased bodies. All the faith in the world can't save a loved one if God decides otherwise. It's a battle of "God can" vs. "But will He?" This struggle lately made my hope scatter like dandelion fluff. But reading A Grace Disguised challenged me. Mr. Sittser reminded me that, though tragedy is not always one's choice, one's response to it is. We each have a choice about what we're going to do with our grief when faced with it. I have a choice about how I will live out my life as a bereaved mother. Will I allow my son's death to change me for the better or will I allow bitterness, despair, and cynicism to dominate the rest of my life?
What I realized through reading A Grace Disguised was that my problem wasn't a lack of faith. It was refusing to submit to God's sovereignty. I wasn't happy with God's decision, that Matt's life ended far, far too early than I (We) would have liked. I was caught up in the "now" of earth (and it's temporary losses) and had lost my hope of eternity.
Yet, the God of hope (Rom.15:13) is tenacious. He is faithful, never leaving us nor forsaking us. God has surely witnessed my struggle, heard my doubts, and patiently waited for me to come to Him with it all. His response was overwhelming to me. Every email devotion I opened, every web page I stumbled across, and every blog I read had the same message: Trust Me. Wait. Hope.
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I have grief and most likely always will. But. But I also have hope.