I mentioned something in my last post – that I wouldn’t change any of this experience with Rebecca. The time we had with her was the blink of an eye and it was joyful and bittersweet, and losing her was sorrowful. And I wouldn’t change any of that. I hadn’t really solidified that in my heart until I let the thought escape through my fingers on the keyboard. But once it was there in front of me, in black and white, I knew it was true.
Do I still wish Rebecca was healthy and with us? Of course. My daughter’s earthly, broken body is laying in a simple box in the ground, and I would rather have her healthy and nursing in my arms – no mother would say otherwise.
Even on the way to visit Rebecca’s grave yesterday, Carson said, “Mama, if God wanted to He could still fix Baby Becca and make her all better and send her back down to us.”
And, he’s right. Of course God can do anything.
But you and I – and even my 4-year-old son – know that He’s not going to do that. Yes, Jesus called Lazarus from the grave days after he died. Yes, he raised the dead, more than once.
But this was not His plan for us. And I wouldn’t change that.
Because I don’t want to change His plan.
Once, the disciples came across a blind man and asked Jesus, “hey, who’s sin caused this man to be blind? Was it him? Or was it his parents?” (John 9)
The Lord’s answer? Neither. ”But that the works of God might be displayed in him.” This man was born blind because God planned it that way. God wanted – God made this man be born blind – yes, God caused the suffering. Because He had a good plan.
This man was born blind, not because of sin, but so God’s work could be seen!
We like the story because the man ends up with a great blessing – being touched by the hand of God and receiving his sight.
But sometimes we forget that Jesus didn’t say, “he was born blind so that he could receive the great blessing one day of being part of the story of the Son of God and receiving his sight by a miracle.” Nope. God’s purpose wasn’t about the blind man at all. It was about God.
It was about us seeing the hand – the power – of God. It wasn’t about the man’s eyes being opened as much as it was about the people’s eyes being opened to God.
That day in July, when we had received the news that our baby had developed no brain, and probably had trisomy 13, and would not live after birth… I was devastated at God’s plan. It seemed like a terrible suffering I could not endure. It felt like swallowing poison mixed with gravel.
All I wanted was my baby.
But I will never forget the moment I had, heaving sobs in the bathroom stall, trying to gain control so I could face the faces that would be staring at me in the waiting room of the Dr.’s office… that moment in the bathroom stall, when I was only able to mouth the prayer, “God, this is not what I want… but I will walk this road if you want me to.”
Don’t get the wrong impression. Those were not the words of a righteous, Godly, submissive, strong Christian woman. No. Those words came from a broken, sin-scarred girl who’s been through the cold, rocky valley before with her Shepherd and has uttered, “whom have I but You, Lord?” I was only able to whisper that prayer in earnest because I know He’s all I’ve got. And He is good.
But that doesn’t mean I will always be on the receiving end of a miracle.
My heart was stirred a few days ago when we were reading through the masterpiece of C.S. Lewis: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
There’s this one exchange that is my favorite – maybe in the entire Chronicles of Narnia.
Susan, upon being told that Aslan is not a man, but the great lion – the most dangerous and noble of all the creatures- is unsure how she feels about this news.
“Ooh,” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
I knew that day when I told God I’d walk this road, this valley path, that it wasn’t going to be a safe one. I knew that the dream I had for myself would likely die. And it has. My daughter died. Jesus did not rescue any of us from that end.
But even if it wasn’t what I wanted - I have tasted a tiny bit of the sweet fellowship with Jesus, that I believe only comes through suffering. And I trust that God’s plan for Rebecca’s life and death goes beyond our family and our hurting hearts – that it’s about Him and turning other’s hearts toward Him.
Even if He doesn’t answer our prayer like we wanted to, we still praise Him. Because He’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.