October 23, 2009

Hope in the Midst of Tears

I am terribly sad right now, crying after learning about another terrible loss of a baby with Congenital Heart Disease. As a heart mom, I am emotionally vested in the journey of these heart families and I partake, like it or not, in both their joys and sorrows. Today this family has experienced the greatest loss, that of their beautiful son Aiden and maybe in this moment of darkness, temporarily their faith in God. "Faith does a whole lot doesn't it?" they wrote disheartened as they shared their devastating news.

Have you at times felt betrayed by God? Abandoned? Maybe even wondered why he was punishing you? Wondered why he permits suffering? If he will ever intervene? If he cares? If there is hope for dead loved ones? Will we ever see them, feel them, hug them again?

Some biblical servants of God in ancient times, felt abandoned by God. Even Jesus for a moment felt forsaken as he clung to life on the torture stake. It is most definitely an impotent and destitute feeling, like walking in the 'valley of deep shadow'.

After Alexa's diagnosis, I too felt betrayed by God. I could not pray to Him for days, maybe even weeks. Well, I did pray but they were superficial prayers just giving thanks with my children, for our food, life, etc. But I could not pour out my heart to God like I was accustomed to. I was ashamed to feel this way. I was embarrassed to tell God how I felt. Yet, I knew he already knew. I knew he was waiting for me to reach out to him, because I know he cares. Also, many times in the NICU I felt desperate and hopeless, reduced to basic survival, hanging by a thread, sometimes feeling like I was spiraling away, losing my hope, my faith my grip on life and out of God's hand. And really nobody that has not experienced this level of stress and sadness can even begin to understand. You are reduced to almost nothing, nothing but dust within a raging storm.

Although my heart was broken by the news and or my times in the NICU/PICU, I knew that God was not the cause of my problems.
James 1:13 - "When under trial, let no one say: 'I am being tried by God.' For with evil things God cannot be tried nor does he himself try anyone".

And this comforted me. God was not to blame. After the diagnosis I was not able pray until I was one day made to read and meditate on the story of the Widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:8-24) only then was I able to break my silence with God. She was a very poor widow living with one young son during a time a famine. Yet the prophet of God, Elijah was sent out of his way to seek refuge and food in this poor woman's home. I wondered why her? Why not send him to a more stable home? Why was she being asked to do more, to give away the only food she had left, when maybe another family could have better hosted and cared for the prophet. Yet she was blessed for her courage and faith and God was glorified through this process. She was blessed because God promised that her food would not finish and it didn't.

While the prophet was there her son suddenly got ill and died. This seems to be more than she can bear and she reaches her breaking point. She exclaims to Elijah " What do I have to do with you, O man of the true God? You have come to me to bring my error to mind and to put my son to death." Even though she had witnessed a miracle, and had been fed by the hand God, she still had her moment of weakness and doubt. Despite her faith, she feels like God as forsaken her and was punishing her. Even Elijah asks God "O Jehovah my God, it is also upon the widow whom I am residing as an alien that you must bring injury by putting her son to death?" After much pleading Elijah is able to bring her son back to life!!! As he hands the living child back over to his mother she remembers her faith and the mercy of the Lord and cries " Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is truth." God does not leave her alone, once again he hears her prayers and provides deliverance. Even when she thinks he has forsaken her and there is no hope. So although, I felt weak and like I could take no more, God permitted not caused me to experience this situation. And through this, with God's help, I have gained greater strength and faith knowing I can overcome anything that comes my way.

Although God, may not intervene miraculously today in most instances as we would like, it is comforting to know that God does not "take" children from their parents as some have been told. It is not his will to make people die and take children or family from their loved ones. The Bible says:

“Far be it from the true God to act wickedly, and the Almighty to act unjustly!”- Job 34:10

For example, although the earth produces ample food, some children die from malnutrition from selfish political leaders and commercial elements, others die in accidents just like adults as

Ecclesiastes 9:11 says: "Time and unforeseen occurrence befalls them all."

meaning we can all become
victims of unfortunate circumstances like being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Other children are born with physical or mental defects, sometimes these are induced by parents bad prenatal choices but in many cases it just by chance as is the case with many babies born with CHD or other defects, or for those who become ill sometime after birth. God does not cause birth defects or illnesses. He created a perfect human pair, with the ability to bring forth perfect children in their own likeness. The sin we inherited from Adam carries with the potential for physical and mental defects and sickness and eventually death.

But thankfully, God lovingly extends to children the benefits of Christ's ransom sacrifice and he promises and provides this hope regarding death:

Isaiah 25:8,9 " He will actually swallow up death forever and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all the faces ... And in that day one will certainly say Look! This is our God. We have hoped in him, and will save us. This is Jehovah. We have hoped in him. Let us be joyful and rejoice in the salvation by him."

John 5:28,29 " Do not marvel at this, because, the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgement."

John 11:25,26 "Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He that exercises faith in me, even though he dies, will come to life; and everyone that is living and exercises faith in me, will never die at all. Do you believe this?'"

God has such loving concern for bereaved ones as he says:

Psalms 146:5,6 "Happy is the one ... whose hope is in Jehovah his God ... The fatherless boy and the widow he relieves."

This applies to of course anyone who has lost also child or anybody else to death.

And let us remember that he himself lost his child Jesus in death for 3 days. For the first time ever, Jesus did not exist not in spiritual form nor in human form. It must have been very painful for God to see his son unjustly suffer and die. And we can have this comfort that God knows how we feel as we watch our children suffer and sometimes maybe even die. We however, if we had the power, would instantly change our situation if we could, God however, had the power to stop the suffering and death of his Son, but he, actually the both including Jesus, chose to endure this painful death for the LOVE of humanity. To give us another chance at life. To give us hope of a better future.

"For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life."- John 3:16

Let us remember that God is the giver of all things good not bad.

"Every good gift and every perfect present is from above ...." - James1:17
People who suffer should not assume they are being punished by God. Of course however, those that violate godly standards of livings do experience bad effects. Like you reap what you sow. But in other instances, bad people may seem to prosper for a long time. In contrast, Jesus Christ, who never did wrong, was cruelly mistreated and put to death. So in this system of things prosperity should not be viewed as proof of Gods blessing nor should adversity be considered proof of his disapproval. The day of accounting with God will come, and at that time he will punish the wicked, destroying them forever but the upright ones, many of whom have suffered adversity will enjoy perfect health and a generous share of earth abundant produce.

Proverbs 2:21,22 The upright are the ones that will reside in the earth, and the blameless are the ones that will be left over in it. As regards the wicked, they will be cut off from the very earth, and as for the treacherous they will be torn away from it."

Revelation 21:4 "And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away."

Psalms 37:10,11,29 - "And just a little while longer, and the wicked one will be no more; and you will certainly give attention to his place, and he will not be. But the meek ones themselves will posses the earth, and they will find their exquisite delight in the abundance of peace. The righteous themselves will possess the earth, and will reside forever upon it."

It is a wonderful promise of God, a world without death, suffering mourning nor pain!!! And like we read the hope above about the resurrection of those dead loved ones where will be able to be with them again.

I never intended to use my blog as a pulpit to share my faith. But at least this once, I felt the need to share these beautiful truths with those that are suffering and yearning for a better life.
Know that you are loved by God and he is not the cause of your pain. Instead we have an enemy the devil who does inflict much suffering on humankind.

If you would like to learn more about why how permitted suffering and if it will ever end go here. If you would like to more about things discussed in this post please go here.

I also would like to conclude, what I'm sure will appear to be a very long post, with a short motivational illustration for those of those of us who are going through some type of trial (which is many of us):

The only survivor of a shipwreck was
washed up on a small, uninhabited island.
He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and
everyday he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed
forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build
a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the
elements and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived
home to find his little hut in flames with smoke rolling up
to the sky. The worst had happened! Everything was lost! He
was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. 'God, how
could you let this happen to me?' he cried.

Early the next day he was awakened by the sound of a ship
that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue
him. 'How did you know I was here?' asked the weary man
of his rescuers. 'We saw your smoke signal,' they replied.

Moral of the story: It's easy to get
discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't
lose heart, because Jehovah God is at work in our lives, even
in the midst of pain, and suffering. Remember that, the next
time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground.
It just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.

May we all find comfort and hope in the midst of tears
knowing that God is faithful and will not let us endure more than we can handle,
he will provide escape.

Most pictures used in this blog post taken from the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.


  1. Michelle,
    My heart breaks to hear of another chd child passing! My prayers will be with the family!

    Thank you for sharing your faith through your post.

    Stef, Ryan, Wyatt and Logan Jacks

  2. Michelle,

    That was a beautiful post. I am so glad you shared it as we all have moments of extreme difficulty and weakness and those are the exact words to remind us of Eternal Light and Grace. I too was following Aiden's journey and my heart broke for his parents as he earned his wings.



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