Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see”. The reality is, my confidence and hope are shaken and I am not really assured right now. I blindly and innocently dipped my toes into the waters of the Christian faith when I was very young basically because heaven sounded like a better place than hell to spend eternity. It wasn’t until late high school and early college that my faith began to solidify. It was during a college microbiology class where something sank in deep and I realized that life as I knew it was far too complicated. As we broke down one single human cell into each of its parts and then each of those parts down into proteins and those proteins into molecular elements, further down to an atomic level I was amazed and realized that in order for our bodies to work, there was no possible way humans are an evolutionary fluke and life just had to be orchestrated by a big, big God. There has to be a spiritual component to our extremely well-coordinated cells.
I spent a lot of time earnestly seeking the truth. For those of you that know me well, you know I’m big on truth. I’ll tell you the truth if you ask me. Always. Taking other people’s emotions into consideration when sharing the truth, however, is not a skill I’ve developed very well (so please be careful what you ask for). As life would have it, one of the things I really wanted when I was seeking truth was to know someone who knew ancient languages because I didn’t trust all of the generations of strangers who have translated written historical accounts over and over again (and possibly skewed or altered the truth). As luck/ God/ fate would have it, 3 years later I would meet my husband who now has 2 Master’s degrees and translates manuscripts like it’s his job (because being a student of theology actually is his job).
I’ve learned a lot about the character of God since then. He’s showed up in some pretty amazing ways. Like the one time we were headed to talk to our landlord because we weren’t able to pay our rent on time and stopped at the mailbox on the way and in it was a check for nearly the exact amount we needed as a (couple months late) wedding gift from someone in another state. Or that one time when we learned we were expecting our third son and selfishly I kind of wanted a girl, so I asked God if we were going to have another boy, could he at least make him LOOK different than the other two? Behold, tiny fair-skinned, freckle-faced, reddish-haired Colin. And then there was that one time when Logan tried to drown and all the right people were in all the right places and miraculously he suffered zero ill effects. Pretty amazing.
This week at Vacation Bible School, our kids learned that Jesus sees us, Jesus knows us, and Jesus loves us. It wasn’t difficult enough to physically be there with all of those kids and to look around the room and think about how much Evelyn would have LOVED every minute of it. I also got to see all of the other happy parents with ALL of their healthy and alive children and to see how much all of the little kids have grown. I also got to see a friend of Evelyn’s and marvel at how much her hair had grown and weep and wonder how long Evie’s hair would be now if she were still with us. Her favorite nursery worker also sat down to dinner with us one night and I remembered I hadn’t seen her since the funeral and she didn’t even say anything about Evelyn. It’s so true that it hurts more when people don’t mention her. There were 6 chairs at our table and the 6 of us should be filling all of them. I couldn’t help but get angry and think, if Jesus sees just how much this continually hurts me and he knows how much I love Evelyn and he knew how much her death would absolutely kill me inside, how can someone who loves me be so, so heartless?
I don’t understand. It feels just so cruel and I feel like my faith has turned into doubt because the God I know is full of love and justice and mercy. I am a good mom and I prayed and begged and pleaded and used all of my skills and knowledge as a nurse to bring her back and I was denied. The door to the rest of Evelyn’s life and my life as a mother to a daughter was slammed shut in my face and I am so angry and heartbroken. I don’t know how to pray anymore. I don’t know how to talk to a God like that anymore and so I am silent. I shared a blog post written by someone else the other day and the words written, although not my own, are my exact sentiment: “I cannot pray. It’s not that I don’t know how to or that I don’t want to, but words fail me. They come out muffled and fake. They are stale and regurgitated from the days of my youth. I want to remember how to do this, but I cannot. I don’t know how to do it anymore. My faith life has been both simultaneously marred and made new. I pled for the life of my daughter, and felt her body turn cold in my arms. I watched the life leave her eyes. Pupils large and lifeless. My child. Gone.” –Michaela Evanow” Today in church while holding Colin I could not get the image of Evelyn’s pale face with lifeless eyes out of my mind. The mind can be a merciless thing, bringing forth bitter images when one least expects and is ill prepared for it.
I am no longer certain of anything. Right now I am not certain whether or not this is all there is to life. It’s like I was watching a really, really good movie that I was totally sucked into and then all of a sudden at the last scene the character I identified most with suddenly dies and the credits roll. Wait. WHAT?! I totally didn’t see that coming. It’s not supposed to end like that. That’s it? That’s all? Except for the nightmare is that this is real life and the characters are my family. I’m not so sure the director knows what he’s doing. And so, I blog and I breathe and I weep, and I tell God and the people I love that I am angry and that my faith is weak and I am struggling. The God I have known can handle my doubt and my silence. And I hold out for hope. Because “without faith it is impossible to please God- Hebrews 11:6”. Hope is the only thing I’ve got left.
Written by Melissa