Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Honest Doubts

My mother used to say that God protects us by not allowing us to see the future.  Jesus himself told us that "each day has enough trouble of its own."

We arrived home, after a two-day drive back from Eastern Washington, on Saturday evening.  I had not spoken to my son, K., for a couple of days, but our last conversation had not been promising.  He had seen the doctor and was back on antibiotics for a new infection.
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The verdict is in, and it is not a good one.  He was taken back off work last Friday and will have to have another surgery as soon as possible.  A week from today he sees the surgeon for the exam and to set the surgery date.

He is discouraged, and understandably so.  I am not exactly jumping for joy myself.  As we talked (and wept together) he vented his frustration and fears, he also voiced his doubts.  His doubts about God's love for him.  About whether God truly cares about his situation.

Again, this is understandable.  Due to the nature of his injuries and the required surgery to repair the aorta to his heart, he was told there was a small chance (about two-percent) of becoming paraplegic after his auto accident twenty-seven years ago.  He became one of the two percent.  Then five more surgeries, double amputations, infections, hospitalizations, a never ending struggle as the years of his young life rolled by.

But he never gave up.  He never quit.  And he rarely indulged in self-pity.  He was nineteen at the time of his accident.  He is in his mid-forties now; and this time it is different.  He is tired.  He is worn down from struggle and pain and disappointment.

He showed me the cards his students had given him last Friday, as he explained that it was his last day at work, because the doctors had told him he could not continue.  He cried when he told me how kind and sincere his students had been about missing him and wishing him  good luck with his "next operation."  Dear Lord, in his case there is always a "next operation". Or so it seems.

However, this time is different.  The surgeon told us ( I was with him during the first consultation a few months ago) that if they had to operate again, it would be the last time.  He has "no more spare parts" as the surgeon put it.

Small wonder he is experiencing doubts.  We Christians like to put on a good face, we like to shoulder our burdens with some dignity, and maintain a stiff upper-lip when we find ourselves unable to maintain our joy.  

Nevertheless, here is my real hope and my honest conviction.  God is bigger than my son's doubts.  He is stronger than my sorrow. He is greater than the sum of our fears and disappointments.  He "remembers our frame and knows we are but dust."  He takes into account that our lives "are but a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (James 4:14 NIV)

And He cares.  His love is ever present, unchanging, immutable.  It is only by his grace that I can face K.'s doubts and maintain that God is good - all the time, in every circumstance - including these in which we now find ourselves.

This dilemma of "how can a good God allow such pain and suffering in this world He created?" is not new.  Job faced it.  C.S. Lewis wrote about it in both The Problem of Pain (a rather abstract look at the issue) and later in A Grief Observed (a raw and broken personal account after the death of his wife, Joy Davidson.)

We all have doubts.  But some are brave enough to face them, own them, acknowledge them.  Some do battle with their own doubts.  I always think of the man who said to Jesus, "Lord, I do believe, help  me overcome my unbelief."  (Mark 9:24 NIV) Now that is an honest doubt.

Jesus did not reject "Doubting Thomas" - he simply met him where he was.  If you have your own doubts today, He will not reject you either.  He will meet you where you are, where you live and struggle and reach out for hope and strength to meet your day.
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I am reaching out for hope for K. and for strength to face the day. Thank you for your prayers.  Hope your day is hopeful, too.  Until next time ... Marsha


  1. Oh Marsha I'm so sorry you are all going through this again. Poor K, I really feel for him - he must be at about the end of his tether.
    I'm afraid I don't have any wise words to offer but please know that I am thinking of you all and sending you lots of hugs.

  2. I'm so sorry. I will pray for you and K. Keeping you close to my heart as I can't even imagine what he and your family have really been through.

  3. My heart aches, Marsha, with what he is having to go through (and all of you). The words you spoke are true, and I am reminded of Jeremiah 29:11 for K. Our situations and circumstances are temporary, but His word and Presence are not. Interceding for him and you all~

  4. I don't have a lot to offer here. I've not had trials that even begin to compare with K's, but I will say that every trial can refine and strengthen us. We have the power to choose how we react. I do understand that he must be feeling very weary of his burden. Sometimes our good choices don't affect us as much as they positively affect those who are watching us. We may never know the good we do by enduring to the end and keeping our faith in our Heavenly Father's love for us strong. Maybe this is K's role: leading by example. I know I'm inspired by his story. Tell him there are lots of folks out here taking note, and praying he receives the comfort he needs at this time.

  5. I've got nothin' I can add.
    I stand on God's word, but I have wrestled
    with weak faith before over much less serious
    issues. My heart aches for you and your son
    "God is able".

  6. My friend, I cannot begin to think what you as a family are going through right now, and my heart goes out to you all , especially K, who has been through so much already. No wonder he has doubts. It just doesn't seem fair, does it, but then, life isn't fair sometimes. Remember that "in quietness and trust is your strength". Hugs and blessings to you. I will remember you all in my prayers.

  7. Thank you for sharing your heart with us. I, too, will add my prayers to the many being offered in your behalf. I think we can believe and still not understand.I love the verse your friend quoted.....“In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.” (Isaiah 30:15)

  8. I had no idea of the struggles you were going thru. I don't know the answers either, but I know God is real. I will be praying for you both. Sandie

  9. oh this is one of those times when there are no right words, and I have none. My heart goes out to K and to you as his mom. You have both been called on to trust... over and over, in ways I can hardly imagine. And yet... as you said so well, He is there. You have made the choice to 'stand', and I am so sure that your choice is blessing God's heart. I know that both you and K are blessing mine. I pray for God to give you both strength that only He can give, and that somehow this upside down time in K's life will be turned around for good.

  10. Marsha...prayers are uplifted each day for you and yours. May you all feel God's love and comfort. I am aching for your heartaches...and praying for it to ease.

  11. First I am sorry..and second AMEN. Our pastor as he went through brain cancer would tell from the pulpit how he would be full of faith one day and then some days not so much...he would pray, "Oh Lord give me more faith." He said that we can't make ourselves have faith that even faith is a gift from God and he would ask for it, so he could take on my treatment.

    I am praying for you both right now...for the peace that passes all understand..for the faith for one more day...for the manna for this day, and the belief that tomorrow He will provide again.

    So much I truly don't understand...but then again, I am not God.

    Hugs and prayers