I’ve circled around this for a long time. I am no expert. I only have my own story and my own battered heart. It is a story I do not enjoy telling. It still resonates too deeply.
When our daughter was 4 weeks old she became really ill. Life threateningly ill. We watched her be resuscitated over and over. Wordless prayers and suffocating fear blanketed us as we watched her struggle.
A week later I walked away from the hospital forever changed. My faith damaged, fear tucked up under my arm and my fragile daughter in my arms.
Our darling girl fought and she recovered and continues to recover. She is delightful and sweet, witty and clever. My gratefulness for her is beyond measure or words.
I wish I could tell you that my unwavering faith held firm and sure in the weeks after, but it did not. I was ravished with uncertainty and fear. It sent me reeling down a path cloaked in shadows and confusion. It is has been a long few years.
In the months that followed our daughter’s illness we were plagued by people’s well-meaning declarations of God’s ever present love and His ‘working towards good’. I had people ask me if I prayed ‘enough’, read the Bible ‘enough’ and trusted in God’s goodness ‘enough’. And each time I bit my tongue, smiled, walked away and raged at a silent God. I questioned His sovereignty, His goodness, His Lordship and love. The great irony was that in the midst of this I was also trying to finish my post-grad in Missiology. My nights were spent studying the Word and the words of the great missiologists Bosch, Kraft, Newbigin and Winter. I was swimming in words rich in the wonder of God’s salvation story for the world while I questioned His very presence in my life.
The collision of the Words and my doubt did not bring me peace. It bought more questions and more uncertainty. And it has taken me a long time to accept that sometimes the answers will remain unknown.
I had to work out the theology of our daughter being ill. I knew that if I didn’t commit to working it out there would always be a whisper of doubt in my heart. I had to find the meeting place between her being sick and God. And the meeting place was not in a question, it was in a statement. I had to be sure that Jesus was Lord. And after years of raging and study and tears and fear I know that Jesus in indeed, simply, and terrifyingly, Lord.
I believe that the Lordship of Christ is constantly moving and yet ever static. It twists and dances its way to meet us in the joy and in the grief. It is also still and deeply rooted in the ancient truths of YAWEH.
And now, in stiller moments, there is a gentle peace that encroaches on my heart. Where once there was only fear and doubt, there is now a glimmer of grace.
I still have moments of confusion over those days and I still don’t like talking about it. But now my heart is certain that Christ is Lord. He is Lord now and he was Lord when our girl was sick.
I am yet to find beauty in the midst of this long struggle. But in the centre of the storm there has always been the quiet and grace-filled beauty of our daughter. And that is where my heart finds its rest and home.
(This is part of my 31 Day Challenge to write on Wedded Beauty. You can see the post that kicked it all off here)