Our daughter Abbey, 4 months old, is almost completely reliant on a feeding tube and pump. Pediatric specialists have filled our bedroom with medical equipment that will ensure her growth, so that they can perform open chest surgery this fall to remove part of her lung and a mass therein.
This has been anything but the idyllic experience of having a daughter, for which I waited many years.
There have been times in my life, and in all of our lives, when we are forced to live with a question that has no answer. Why, God? Why did this happen to me? It's like a question mark gets stamped on your soul, and you have to walk around with it. It's horribly uncomfortable.
There are times that we sow bad seed that reaps injurious consequences. Sometimes, though, things happen to us whether we ask for them or not.
The Scripture is replete with men and women who dealt with this. John the Baptist rots in a dungeon wondering whether he has wasted his life. Hannah was so broken that she could not eat because God had closed her womb. Job is famous for living with an unanswered question; the conclusion of his story teaches us that pain is not always explained or alleviated.
Many of us face similar trials: Prolonged and unexpected illness. What seemed like the perfect job opportunity falls through. The tragic loss of a child or loved one. The pain of a broken relationship that seemed destined for anything but fracture. We could each, I am sure, add to the list.
As I see it, there are two basic responses in such a situation: bitter anger or blind trust.
I can live for days, months, years in accusation of God and men for handing me an unfair deal. Sadly, many of us live our whole lives either medicating ourselves to ease the pain or pretending it's not there.
The harder road is blind trust. I am often confused, quiet and weepy. I stumble around with a question mark in my life, unanswered, prodding at me like a thorn in my side. It just stays there, and it hurts, but if I choose to accept it all at once along with God's goodness, over time my heart becomes sweet and soft.
In The Pilgrim's Progress , a young boy named Matthew is faced with a question: "What do you do when you meet with such places therein that you do not understand?" His reply: "I think God is wiser than I." Truly in our lives, the bitter must come before the sweet, but it makes the sweet the sweeter. Think about it.
THE REV. JEFF MILLER IS THE PASTOR OF Vineyard Community Church in Augusta.