On Disease & Suffering Pt. VII - Some Conclusions, Though An Ongoing Work-In-Progress

Updated: Nov 15, 2018

Reflections on the age old question of how a good God can allow disease and suffering in this world. This will be my final post in this series on how God has responded to my questions over the last few years...for now.


So, here I am - on the other side of this. It's been almost five years since we had our miscarriage, 3.5 years since my son's first allergic reaction, a year since his last anaphylactic reaction. The painful memories are still vivid, the post-traumatic stress is still alive, and the day-to-day management of his allergies are still at times a struggle.


But the anger is gone.


It's gone because I once again believe - not just intellectually, but with my heart - that God is on my side. That He loves me. That He is with me. And that's He's going before me to make a way for me.

There were a lot of tough insights I garnered through this process - that following Jesus does not mean a painless life nor that we would be protected from suffering, or to my dismay, that none of my loved ones would face an untimely death. That much of Jesus' words were pointing us to a future state of restoration in the context of eternity, while restoration was only partial in this one. Or that disease was part of our natural state, and God may have his reasons for withholding healing in the moment.


However, I think it's significant that God only began revealing these insights to me in the context of an excessive outpouring of His blessing. That in fact, God led with the blessing first, to soften and woo my heart in the most personal of ways, that I would know it was undeniably Him at work.


It's significant because even though these are tough truths, the backdrop of all this is a good, loving, and perfect Father - or even Mother - who loves each and every one of us more than we in our human hearts even love our own children. That is God's heart for us. That is God's heart for me. That He would come, just so that we could be together in His presence once again.


The Bible talks about that future day, when "He will wipe every tear" and "there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:4). How my heart longs for that day. But Jesus didn't just leave us with that message alone. What He gave us in the present was His Presence, in the now and for today. That in this life, we have the opportunity to connect directly with God, something those before Jesus came did not have.


And the great news is that there is blessing for this life as well. Yes, the ultimate perspective and context for all that Jesus said was an eternal one. But He spoke of plenty of blessing for the here and now as well. Passage after passage affirms this, both in the spiritual as well as the practical.


As for us, well, that whole learning journey last year was timely. Shortly after I had reached some of those conclusions, our lives began to blow up a bit with some unexpected opportunities that threw us into a season of uncertainty and transition. While we were perfectly content with our situation in LA, we had always felt that San Diego (where we have extended family on my side) was where we were meant to be in the long-term. We weren't quite expecting it to be so soon, especially when God had just provided the absolute perfect set-up for us in LA, with our delicate system of care on all sides for my son.


Had I not gone through that experience and arrived at a place where I could trust again, I'm not sure how we would have fared through some of the challenges that came. But because of my newly restored faith, we moved forward with a surprising confidence and peace, trusting that God would show up and come through even when it came down to the wire.


And come through He has. We both got amazing new job opportunities. Even when my first opportunity didn't turn out quite the way I expected, I had the strangest sense of such peace, and before I knew it, God dropped an even better opportunity - essentially my dream job, that also came with it another promotion - right in my lap. My son got into the one school that we were banking on, the only school we identified who seemed willing to accommodate his situation. And to our surprise, they went to even greater lengths to make his environment safe - going even beyond our former school, beyond our wildest dreams. And as recent as just two months ago, when we were almost at another critical point - we hadn't yet found a suitable nanny (which we still needed since my son wasn't able to stay for the afternoon due to the hazards of food in the classroom) and our temporary one was to leave in 3 days - we faithfully asked for our lifegroup (our small weekly gathering of some members of our church) to pray for a miracle. That same evening, we received the most unbelievable resume - from a capable young woman who was passionate about Jesus and who happened to have also singlehandedly taught the 3 and 4-year-olds class at a Christian preschool the last four years. Again, beyond what we could imagine. And just in the nick of time.


God has been so faithful. It is still scary. It is still hard. There are so many days where I am still on the verge of breaking down, questioning whether I can really handle this whole being-a-mom thing with all the special needs. It's exhausting. But for the first time in my mom journey, I don't feel alone anymore. God loves me. He loves my son. He loves my daughter. He loves our family.



We still pray every single day for healing. How we long to be whole. And we know that He, too, longs to see us healed. He too longs to see us whole.


In the meantime, we feel so utterly grateful and blessed - to have the privilege to be together as a family, to take care of one another, to experience this journey together, even to suffer together. For we know that our present sufferings are not worthy of comparing to our future glory.


And one day, that healing will come. Whether in this life or the next.


Previous:

Part I: Losing Our First

Part II: Life In Constant Threat

Part III: The Breaking Point

Part IV: The Start of a New Narrative

Part V: God Begins To Speak

Part VI: Some Emerging Theology on Disease


Thank you for staying with me through all these posts and reading this far. My prayer is that our story can offer some encouragement, provoke some thought, and possibly even provide some light and hope. I'd love to hear how this may have impacted you, so feel free to drop me a line.


If my writing interests you and you would like to continue reading new topics I post, I would also be honored if you would subscribe to my mailing list via the form at the bottom of this page.

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