Recently I met a husband and a wife through our pastorate group at church. They looked just like everyone else, talked just like everyone else, and so I was surprised when the wife began asking all of these very confusing, very deep rooted questions regarding her faith. From the outside it would seem that she was searching too deep for answers. As I’ve stated before, I have faith and so I don’t need all the answers anymore. I wanted to share that with her, but something kept my mouth quiet and so I just continued to listen. With each additional question you could see the women in my group start to try and think of what to say. Something told us that this was an important discussion for this woman and so we didn’t want to mess it up. You could see the women fumbling to come up with the right answer. I just kept quiet because it was far beyond anything that I knew. After a few stumbling questions the woman began to offer a sort of explanation as to why she had such hard questions, and so we listened.
I’m still unsure of all of the details because I don’t want to force anything out of her and her husband. But so far we have learned that her daughter at one point in her life had cancer. I assume it was brain cancer because the husband had mentioned pediatric brain surgeons during his explanation. I’m not sure how long she had cancer. I am under the impression that it was a difficult cancer and that they spent much of their time beside her in a hospital room. They testified that God had been with them throughout their daughter’s battle with cancer and they knew that if it wasn’t for God and his presence they wouldn’t have been able to survive it.
This got me to thinking. As in a recent post of mine I shared how much marriage sucks and that’s just normal marriage. Fortunately me and my husband have not had to deal with any catastrophes. We’ve only had to deal with every day life and that can be hard enough, but here was this couple who had to deal with, not just a sick daughter, but a child with cancer. As a mother to two, I just can’t even imagine what that felt like.
They continued telling us their story, at this point all eyes were on them. You began to hear sniffling a true indicator that we were not just hearing their story, but we were feeling their story. The husband took the lead as the wife wiped the tears falling from her eyes as she could speak no further. We then discovered that their daughter had won the battle, she beat cancer! As I glanced around the room you saw everyone smile because they thought that was the end of the story, but when the mother was still crying we were confused. The story continued. So yes the battle with cancer had been won and it didn’t return, but that was because the child lost her life in a car accident. As for the details I’m not sure. I’m not sure if it happened while she was still a young girl, or if it happened later in life, but the impression I get is that she beat cancer and then passed away. I looked around again and the room grew somber. No one knew what to say and no one wanted to move. But the parents still had faith. They still believed their God was good. The mother, who I thought to be angry, because why wouldn’t you be angry, was just sad, not for the loss of a child by death, but for the loss of her other child who was acting like most of us would be. He was angry at God. He felt betrayed. And instead of allowing yourself to feel those emotions, he gave up on God. He wanted proof of his existence. He wanted to know why He had done this to his family and to his sister. And if you ask me, he had every right to act that way.
I tried to talk to his mother, but as usual, my words just fell out of my mouth. I wanted her to know that I had also been angry at God and demanded proof of his existence. I also turned away because sometimes it’s hard to be accounted for. And I had never been through anything like this family had been through.
You could still see the hurt in the mothers’ eyes, but there is still faith. God is with that family even if it’s hard to believe. He is with them because they have survived. They are still a family. He is with them because their daughter knew the Lord and was able to be at peace with everything she had been dealt.
So why do things like this happen? I’m probably the last person you’d want to ask, but I think it’s important for things like this to happen because it gives a good story. It makes people, Christians, relatable. It also makes you depend on nothing but God, which I think is something He wants for all of us. Too often we try to stay in control of our lives and, well, we just can’t. We may think we can, I have thought I could, be we can’t. Do I think it’s fair what has happened to this family? Absolutely not, but I do know that I serve a just and loving God. I also know that He knows exactly what He is doing.
During my fumbling of words I managed to make sure that I got one thing out that I wanted the mother to hear. “God has big plans for your son. BIG PLANS. And when your son finds his faith again, it’s going to be HUGE. His testimony is going to be HUGE.” I didn’t just say that to make her feel better, although I did see a small smile form across her face, but I said that because I believe it. When he finds his way back, his story is going to knock people down. As he accounts his path back to God, people are going to stand in awe of him and they are going to learn that God can do anything. And chances are, someone, somewhere, has gone through something just as terrible and perhaps they are just waiting to hear how someone else had dealt with it.
You see, everything, no matter how terrible, no matter how awful, no matter how much we don’t understand it, everything has a purpose, everyone has a purpose. So when is enough, enough? He’s the only one that knows.