I'm diving into deep theological waters today and I don't have my floaties on. I hope you'll put your swim trunks on and dive in with me. I'm going to start with my synopsis first and work out from there.
Synopsis: I don't know.
Ok, let's start there.
Actually, that's not totally true. We both do know and don't know.
We do know that if it was God's good plan to heal Grace, he would've. End of story.
Did we follow Biblical instruction for asking in faith for healing? Yes, absolutely we did.
According to the instructions in James 5, we were anointed with oil by the elders of our church and asked in faith for Grace's healing. Did people fast, asking and believing for Grace's healing? Yes. We absolutely prayed and believed and trusted that God was able. We prayed unceasingly. Many others prayed unceasingly.
Even the morning she passed, when I hadn't felt her movement and couldn't get her to move and I felt in my heart of hearts that she was gone, I laid in bed pleading with the Lord to do what only he could do. I didn't ask in hopeless desperation. I asked knowing that he is the only one able to raise from the dead and if it was his good will to do so, he would. And so I asked, not knowing the answer to the question at that moment.
Grace was not not healed because we lacked faith. And to believe that is to have an inaccurate understanding of Scripture concerning healing and suffering.
I love this quote from Nancy Guthrie, who lost both a son and daughter before their first birthday.
"Often, I see the body of Christ put so much into pursuing God for healing. With great boldness and passion and persistence, we cry out to God, begging for physical healing. And in these prayers, there is often a tiny P.S. added at the end where we say, 'If it be your will.'
But shouldn't we switch that around?
Shouldn't we cry out to God with boldness and passion and persistence in a prayer that says, 'God, would you please accomplish your will? Would you give me a willing heart to embrace your plan and your purpose? Would you mold me into a vessel that you can use to accomplish what you have in mind?' And then, perhaps, we could add a tiny P.S. that says, 'If that includes healing, we will be grateful.'
Isn't real faith revealed more through pursuing God and what he wants than through pursuing what we want?"
I read that a couple nights ago and it encapsulated what I desire to be true of us during this time (and always). We do not lose heart that Grace wasn't healed. We are not bitter that the end looked different than what we hoped and prayed for. We are not in despair. We are not hopeless.
Because there is a God that we believe and trust who sees an end that we simply cannot see in this life. I've heard this phrase over and over again and I know it to be true: God is always working for our good and his glory.
And those things are not mutually exclusive.
It is God's character, who he is, that brings me comfort. I know he is incapable of being unloving and unkind. It's simply not possible. Do I want Grace in my belly and ultimately in my arms? More than I can possibly express. Have I wished for someone else's story? More than you'll know. Do I hurt and grieve? All the time.
But do I trust in a sovereign God who sees the end from the beginning, who stands outside of time, who works all things after the counsel of his will (Ephesians 1:11), who causes all things to work together for good (Romans 8:28), who is unfailingly loving, who is unfathomable in might and splendor, who caused the morning stars to sing together for joy (Job 38:7) and told the seas where their limits are, who set the planets in rotation, who put the spots on the ladybug, who says he is with me always (Matthew 28:20), who is near to the broken-hearted and comforts the afflicted, who gives grace to the humble, who daily bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19), and who is the beginning and the middle and the end (Revelation 22:13)?
Yes. I trust that God.
Visiting Grace on her one-month birthday - May 26th, 2013.
I love the huge lilac bush that sits next to her spot.
My close friend left this surprise for us. She made that rock with Grace's name! I love it.
Part 2 to come.