Friday, March 17, 2006

Rock-a-bye Sweet Baby Moore

I woke up about 45 minutes ago, (about 2:00) and it seems I do my best thinking in the middle of the night when I'd much rather be sleeping. I layed in bed composing an eloquent, profound blog about my recent experience with grief and God. You'll have to trust me on that, because I'm not so sure I can recreate the eloquence--it seems to diminish in the retelling. On the other hand, I don't think I can get back to sleep without emptying my brain of these thoughts, and I don't want to be up all night editing this post in my head, only to forget it all by morning.

It was much easier for me to deal with the concepts of a fallen world and senseless tragedy when it wasn't personal. I remember staring horrified at pictures of New Orleans after Katrina, and yet my faith was not really affected or tested by that. I was readily able to reconcile God being good with the fallen state of our world. I knew the individual people in New Orleans didn't "deserve" all of that, but I knew that collectively as a race we had repeatedly made the decision to choose our way over God's way, and things like Katrina are the fallout of that. That didn't necessarily make it easier to see these people in their suffering, but, forgive me, it wasn't happening to me. I could grasp at least the tail of the concept. This is different. This is so incredibly personal.

I haven't experienced much in the way of death. My grandmothers have both died in the last year and a half, and that's about the extent of my familiarity with the subject. Those losses saddened me--don't get me wrong--but they were nothing like this. I have to confess I've cried and grieved and struggled and been shaken far more by the death of Brooke and Adam's baby. I wanted, in the first couple of days, to just wash my hands of God--to walk away, if this is how He treats His people. I was part of His plan for bringing this baby into existence! I prayed fervently, along with many others, for them to become pregnant, and then saw those prayers answered. What a privilege! What a testimony to the faithfulness of God! And then--this? Words can't even express how wrong this is, how we were all cheated, how unfair and detestable this loss is. And yet, I simply cannot walk away from this God. I've questioned and argued and argued and questioned. And on my part it's come down to one major thing.


Can I continue to have faith in a God who allows such horribleness, even in our fallen world? Can I believe that He is good, and loving, and faithful in the midst of such tragedy? I didn't want to, and yet, I can't NOT believe in Him. After almost 20 years, I can honestly say that I know Him, very personally. I certainly don't know all of Him, don't understand Him. No, I "know" only an infinitesimal part of Him. But I do know Him. And I cling to that knowledge of this vast, incomprehensible God. I cling to the love I know, and I grab onto His goodness. It is partly this incomprehensible vastness that makes Him God. What would He be without that? He'd be small and weak and easy.

I want answers, but the fact of the matter is that He doesn't often provide answers to our big questions. We want to know why. We want to fully understand how He works, and He just doesn't let us in on that very often. The Bible tells us this, and illustrates it over and over, and yet it throws us off guard every time: our faith is tested and proved in the trials, not in the quiet times of reflection and intimacy. It is in the crucible that we are stripped of our simple concepts of Him, that our reason is proved insubstantial. I don't like it--I don't think any of us do--and yet this is how He works. He takes these face-to-face encounters with horror and loss and inextricable pain and allows us to stumble across Him in the process, if only we will. I believe He welcomes our questions, our railings against Him, and somehow in the midst of the wrestling He rubs off on us, leaving a better knowledge of Himself. Not a better understanding necessarily--and that's where a lot of people get turned off and walk away. But I don't think we can claim to know Him if we haven't asked Him the unanswerable questions, and listened long and hard, desperately, for His reply. And I don't think we can know him without being willing to let those questions go unanswered--without faith.

He certainly hasn't answered my questions in this, and I have to say I didn't fully expect Him to anyway. But He has responded. He has proven Himself in several small, very personal ways in the past week--has it only been a week? Yes, in fact, it was exactly one week ago at this time (3:15 now) that we got the call from Brooke and Adam, and I screamed at God all the way to the hospital. I don't get it, don't even remotely get Him, but I have to say, He gives and He takes away; blessed be His name. I've struggled many times this week to get the words out, but my faith demands I confess it. I don't know how to reconcile this with Him, but I am understanding more that I don't have to. He's big enough to handle it. And as much as I'd like to tie this whole thing up with a pretty bow and move on, it's just not going to happen, ever. We will never know why God allowed this precious one to leave us, why He allowed Brooke and Adam this extra pain, injury to insult, if you will. Please don't think that this is over for me, that's it's resolved. Chalk one up to faith and case closed! It's just not that simple, and maybe that's the point. God is not simple. Knowing Him is not simple. Life, and death, are not simple. But He is still big, and He is still good, and in the end, knowing Him is worth it.


Anonymous said...

I am thankful that God has not asked me to figure him out. I take comfort in that.

Even in the midst of this darkness, I have seen His Light, bet it ever to soft and faint.

~Melissa~ said...

I just wanted to share something that blessed me about the conversation regarding this on Wednesday. After I came home and my kids were napping, the song "Blessed Be Your Name" came on the radio. This is absolutely one of my favorite worship songs, because it touches the extremes of our relationship with God. We praise Him for the good, and although it's hard and many times we don't, we praise Him in the bad. Having just talked about the unfairness of Brooke and Adam's loss and questioning why God allowed this with you guys, it made me REALLY listen to the words. I then saw that you referenced a few lines in the song--He gives and takes away; blessed be His name.

I'm not even remotely as close to the situation as your church, so while my heart hurts for them I know that it's easier for me to look at the big picture. Really, you already mentioned what I was thinking when I heard the song--we don't have the answers, and in some situations all we can truly do is continue to praise Him and His faithfulness.

Brooke said...

I guess Adam and I weren't the only ones who were up in the middle of the night last night, remembering the events of one week ago.

Thank you for your post. It REALLY helps me to read about others' struggles with this event, to know that I - and we - are not alone in our pain and confusion.

Thanks for loving us.

Angela said...

What doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Cliché but so true. It makes my heart ache to think about how true it is.

Anonymous said...

What if you can't praise right now?

Amy said...

That's okay--there's nothing "wrong" in that. Hold Him accountable for what He's done, or allowed. Argue and fight and question, hurt and cry and grieve--just don't leave Him out of the process.

Don't lose heart, dear friend.

Actor Smurf said...

God does what he does for reasons...many things could factor into the life of Brooke and Adam's baby...maybe he took the baby before something far worst would in the future...just remember the baby is in a far better place than where we live..keep the faith and try to stay strong....life is filled with unanswered questions and prayers, but look around you and its filled with such amazement..just watch a rose bloom, or the birth of a new bird hatching from an egg, or when a baby does something for the first time or my all time favorite..the beauty of a rainbow after a horrible storm...my prayers are with the family!