Reflection from the trenches

Each time the mystery of suffering touches us personally and all the cosmic questions arise afresh in our minds we face the choice between faith (which accepts) and unbelief (which refuses to accept). There is only one faculty by which we may lay hold of this mystery. It is the faculty of faith, and "faith is the fulcrum of moral and spiritual balance". It helps me, at such a time of bewilderment and sorrow, to go to some of the simplest words, such as I am the good shepherd. My Lord chose that description of Himself, and He does not change. He was and is and always will be my shepherd. The word fits my need, for I am a sheep, helpless and bleating. He cannot foget one for whom He lays down His life. I bank everything on that.

Choices of the magnitude of those facing Aaron and I today are unfathomable. It is as if I have suddenly become blind, and must navigate using unfamiliar senses bolstered by a hefty dose of trust in those around me who offer help. We know that Amelia is not getting better; we know that we don't have a good explanation for her illness; we know that the pressure surrounding her brain is climbing. So we step forward, and accept terrible, wonderful medical intervention. I am uncomfortably familiar with the altar that is the operating table. I have walked up to it myself praying for salvation in the temporal sense: excise my cancer, carefully please, that, by God's grace and your skill, I might live. Today I walk up to that table with precious cargo laid gingerly there. I dwarfed the thin table on which I laid; the tiny form I lay on the table is dwarfed by it. I try to subdue my eyes, which would plead with these doctors and nurses for extra care, for divine intervention that would forestall their mistakes and enlighten their misunderstandings. Try to dose them with just enough of my faith that they see my belief and are strengthened by it. Internally, staying in constant communion and pleading: spare her, heal her, keep her, Father.

I am encouraged that Jesus trod this path before me. I look down and see His footsteps, and the pools of His tears. During the days of Jesus' life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. (Hebrews 5:7) And, though I tremble, I am borne up as I remember to such comes the Master's voice, 'Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer.' (Revelation 2:10)

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly...
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
~ I Thessalonians 5:23-24 ~