Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Random : 5609

A friend told us yesterday that the most power he has for the gospel is the result of the two darkest days of his life, one as a child and one as a young man. 

Why is this true? I'm not questioning it... quite the opposite... I believe it wholeheartedly... it's my reality too. I guess my real question is why does it have to be this way? Why does God allow it to be this way? Did He cause it to be this way? Is this just another part of His plan that we will never understand in this life? Is it the proof of His power and kindness in using the pain and suffering and brokenness in this world for His glory? 

Did He really need our son to accomplish that?   

It's beyond me.

Another friend recently told my mother that, when he and his wife suffered through two miscarriages many years ago, as well as the pain of never being able to have children, God moved them from all the 'why?' questions to 'what?'... as in, 'what do You want us to do with this?' 

So God, 'what?'

Somehow, in some strange way, our friends' comments are helping me tonight. 

A quote from Brennan Manning... "The seldom-stated truth is that many of us have a longing for God and an aversion to God. Some of us seek Him and flee Him at the same time." 

I get this, especially that last part. I seek Him because He is my source of comfort. I flee Him because He has allowed this pain. 

It's all really confusing and... contradictory. 

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is so difficult and I am sure a shock. Nicol was looking so hardy and sturdy on the videos you posted that it is hard to believe that this has happened. When I pray for you, as I have been for almost a year, the verse that God whispers in my ear is James 4:6. Pray on this verse and perhaps your "what" will be revealed by Him.

Ellen in San Diego

THAT GIRL said...

That quote if very profound... I'll have to think about that one... it has a sting to it.

Stacy D said...

Praying for you guys... I am right there with you on all those questions.

~ Stacy

momof4kr said...

Gosh...your post touches on so many feelings that we have all had at one time or another.
All I know is that God created us...knows us...loves us. He gets it. Why He allows us? Not sure if I'll ever know...but, I do think He gets it.
Here's one of my favorite quotes:

No matter what happens in my life, God is still working in my best interest.

Love & Prayers,
Katie

Anonymous said...

Its hard to understand suffering we go through. Why does God allow it? Its hard for me to understand, but behind the hands of satan, is Gods will.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable post..... You have so eloquently stated what is on my heart and mind these days. Thank you for your honesty.... you and Nicol seem so strong in your faith that I didn't think that you would have these same questions... that was naive of me. There is no one else to turn to except God... and yet it can be such a struggle to turn to him and trust him, knowing he allows the pain and suffering.

Thank you for sharing~
Annise (Holland, MI)

Melody said...

I can't even express how true this has been in my life. Praying you guys are surrounded by His peace and love through this time.

Genesis Craig Costner said...

God most definatly has strange ways of getting our attention. Very true, sometimes we flee from him and love him at the exact same time. thanks! Gb! Genesis Costner

ABCDE=Party of 5 for ME! said...

I came accross your blog off Angie's blog, so sorry for both of your losses.... I've had 3 miscarriages as well, and never can fathom the "why" so the "What do you want me to do with this" seems alot more like doing SOMETHING! Everytime I come to see your blog and see the pictures of Luke, I've been asking WHY..... because if it can happen to such a "vibrant alive little boy" it can happen to any of us! I"m so sorry... and pray for your family daily!

Hugs in HIM!
Dawn

Anonymous said...

Confusing, contradictory and unfortunately - the stark naked truth. We are human. We have feelings. We KNOW things and yet FEEL something else. We are mentally/spiritually aware of the truth but our heart/feelings pull us in other directions. Due to our human minds we lack understanding, which to our human minds is unacceptable.
I pray that God’s peace will touch each of you in an extraordinary way during this time. Praying for you all, always.

Much Love-
Amber

Anonymous said...

What you said is so true and I struggle with that truth myself. "When I am weak, them am I strong." is a scripture that speaks to that very thing. I pray for your lovely family often.

Wife, mother...and now a grandma! said...

If we never suffered, we would never truly understand or need for God and a close relationship with HIM! I am full aware of your conflicting feelings, as I myself have suffered great pain and those conflicting feelings. Although I did not lose a child, I did lose a husband, and because he chose to divorce me, I lost a marriage, a dream, and I was then in the situation to live with the shame and loneliness that others were sure I must experience. GOD IS GOOD-ALL OF THE TIME! Work through those conflicting feelings with God...He understands them and even desires us to go to Him with them. And if you have time to read a good book, I HIGHLY recommend "In Faithfulness He Afflicted Me" by Lynnette Kraft. She is a dear friend of mine, and after finishing her book, I know that she has expressed simply everything that we must understand here...My prayers are with you and Nicol...I know that God has great plans for you and your family!!

Gabbin' with Giff said...

I thought I would let you know that reading your story is the reason for a lot of extra hugs, late night smiles, and big kisses for my little girl. Seeing your story helps me to cherish every moment and not take any for granted. I'm sure my comment might not help, I'm never sure what to say. (That's why I don't comment often.) But I felt the need to let you know that you've had a great impact on our lives. Thank you so much for sharing.

Blameless said...

2 Corinthians 12:9

'And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.'

This was the verse God put on my heart following each of my losses. I doubted that His power rested upon me through my pain...but the people who were moved by my raw emotions while I continued to love God, would claim otherwise.

Pain is the one thing that we all experience at some point(s) in our lives...some of us do not (yet) know Joy.

God is shining through both you and Nicol as your hearts heal.

God Bless,
Sarah

Channe said...

yes, yes, yes. I have had similar thoughts/questions before, and that made me feel "less than" as a Christian. I don't have any answers, but feel a lot more normal now knowing that others out there struggle with the same things.

Marley's Mama said...

I became aware of your blog through your sister-in-law's blog (Bring the Rain). I too suffered a miscarriage 18 weeks into my first pregnancy and delivered a tiny little boy on Independence Day, 2007. I have never felt such pain in my life, and I had many of the same thoughts that I see on your blog. Your post today really hit home to me. I still miss that little one, even though we have since been blessed with a beautiful little girl. While I was pregnant with our daughter, my husband was diagnosed with metastatic stage 4 cancer. I've learned to trust that the Lord knows what's going on, even if I don't. And that's not something that comes naturally to me- it's a choice I have to make every day. Some days I don't have the strength to make that choice, and it comforts me to know that there are those faithful servants who lift me and my family up in prayer every day. Please know that my heart goes out to you and your wife. I pray that our faithful Father will hold you in His arms and minister to your hearts.

~Megan in Michigan

Anonymous said...

Hello, Greg.

We don't know each other. I just recently started following your blog. I heard about you and your family from Angie's blog about Audrey Caroline. I am so very sorry for your loss and your pain. As a mother of two small children, I can only imagine what you must be going through.

I’ve been sitting at my computer for hours trying to decide how to comment on your questions.

.....“Is it the proof of His power and kindness in using the pain and suffering and brokenness in this world for His glory?”

“Did He really need our son to accomplish that?".....

I’m not really good with words and I just wish I could hug you. I know I want to encourage you to focus on the things that you know and believe to be TRUE about God. I want to encourage you to let go of all the thoughts, ideas, and explanations that don’t feel right…

Greg, As gently as I can possibly express in typed words……
You must remember that God is Love! He doesn’t sit in heaven, waving around a staff and orchestrating tragedy after tragedy for His glory. He is GOD! He can move mountains! He doesn’t need tragedy in our lives to prove or accomplish anything! He doesn’t need our pain and suffering, and He doesn’t want it either. He LOVES us!

I read something like this is a book not long ago…
God’s Grace does not depend on our suffering to exist. Instead, where there is pain and suffering, we find His Grace!

I know this doesn’t answer the question “why?”, but have faith, Brother. God is Good.

Peace and many blessings to you and your family.

Deborah said...

Praying for you and your family while you travel this road.

Hall Family in MD said...

I was riding in my van today and the song If You Want Me To by Ginny Owens and it prompted me to pray for you. ((Hugs))

Dana said...

These comments illustrate exactly the contradictions I have been mulling over these past few months!

How do we reconcile our love for the Sovereign God of the universe with our limited understanding of His master plan for our lives? How can I not be grateful that He cares enough for me to have a plan in place?

How can I continue to trust wholly in Him while remembering the fact that He holds my daughter in Heaven instead of me holding her here? How can I not have the faith to continue to stand for Christ when the only way I can stand is by His grace?

Such conflicting questions... thank you for your transparency and allowing readers to know we are not alone on this journey.

I am praying for you and our family as you walk this path.

~Dana

Crystal Theresa said...

thank you for sharing this. i try not to ask why because i know He has a reason for all He allows. i don't ask Him why He chose us or our son, but i do still want to know His reason, i want to understand - even though i know He does not owe me any explanation.

i think "what?" is a good question for me to ask of Him, and perhaps that will help me to find peace.

God Bless you and your family.

Kristy said...

I agree - it is so confusing - and I wish I had some "handle" on this whole subject of pain and suffering also. But like you asked, "Is this something we will never understand in this life?"

I have come to the conclusion of Job - that God is God and I am (wo)man, and I will NEVER understand.

It makes me happy to know ya'll have friends who speak words of comfort and encouragement - and insight, into your hearts and minds.

The Princess said...

I recently asked several friends for prayer about something and one sent back Psalm 121. Very appropriate and very comforting! I have been praying for you all. The Lord's ways are a mystery for us.

For reasons other than yours, throghout the last almost 9 yrs, I too had been questioning my Creator about "why" and "this was Your idea" and "did you lead me out to the desert to die"... Then, after looking in the mirror one day, I realized that I was a whiney, selfish, complaining mess.

I realized that Moses, who was supposed to speak to a rock to produce water, instead, in his anger struck it twice with his staff. The rock still produced the water for the people. The Lord tells Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them." (Num 20:1-13

Wow! Because he hit the rock in anger instead of speaking to it, Moses only got to look across at the promise land before his death, not enter it. I realized two things:
1. I had a lot of repenting to do about my attitude
2. Praise the Lord for the saving Grace of Yeshuah or I would be dead right now!

God has certainly created our emotions and wants us to come to Him with our cares and concerns. Our emotions can also deceive us and get us into trouble. My hope and prayer for you (& Nicol) is that you won't get hung up on the "why" questions for too long.

God is good. He is gracious. He too, has gone through the loss of a child. He knows your pain intimately, not just because He created you, but because He sacrifieced His own Son FOR you :-)

May the Lord's blessing be upon you and your family as you wrestle through this incredibley difficult time!

God Bless,
Contessa
(Would love to share more of "my story" with you and Nicol sometime. Is there a way I can email a word doc attachment to you?)

Susan said...

I was introduced to your blog just a month ago at the same time as your sister-in-law Angie's. Mine are new prayers for your families; I've seen God do that, refresh prayer warriors. I am so sad for your many losses. May 4, 2008 we lost my 6 wk. old great nephew to SIDS. During that time personally I knew so many experiencing the devastating loss of a baby. It seemed like satan was rampaging on babies. My son said it has always been thus and pointed at the murder of the innocents by order of King Herod after Jesus' birth. I remembered the murder of babies that Moses was protected from. And of course the holocaust of abortion.

Greg you are correct! The Christian life IS a life of contradictions. We turn the other cheek so we can be hit again. We die that we might live. We suffer so that we might rejoice in our sufferings for Christ's sake.

Jesus could have saved Himself from the cross. He didn't. He could have saved your beautiful son and the new baby. He didn't. The first thing we understand by His teachings. The second things we may never understand this side of heaven. But we trust and we pray and we keep breathing; taking one step after the other when it is all we can do to keep moving forward.

Please give my love in Christ to your precious wife. That and my prayers I give freely in Him.

Susan in Riverside

Lorraine-bo said...

My questions of suffering aren't the same as yours, but I am thankful that God isn't afraid of our questions ... because I have a lot of them, too. I praise Him that He loves us anyway and desires for us to come to Him even with our questions. It is hard, though to not always know the answers here on Earth.
Peace to you & Nicol.

Pipsylou said...

I just watched my friends bury their 3 month old. And I sit here, my heart crying out, wondering WHAT, too.

I have suffered 2 micarriages, the most recent being twins. Our first child has a long list of birth defects that require daily maintenance. I've been struggling with the WHAT, too.

Thank you for your words. Thank you so much.

Also, I wanted to express to you what Luke's life has meant to me...and I heard it articulated so well at this little boy's memorial service.

"God chose to come and show his might in a small, helpless infant - someone the world would deem unworthy...and this is true even more so in the culture of Jesus' day. Children were nothing. Your son was marked, from the moment he entered the world, to fulfill a special mission...to be a vessel, to show unbelievers the might of God, his peace at work in His people."

That is how I feel about Luke...about the legacy of your writing about him, about your ability to go on without him, with hope.

I constantly wonder the "Why's"...and I always come back to that.

Thank you for sharing Luke with us. Your little son's legacy is a balm to my hurting soul.

KK said...

A very profound quote and thanks so much for sharing.
Please give Nicol a big Mother's Day hug from me. I will be thinking about all of you and praying for you especially this weekend.
Blessings to your family,
Kaye
Matthew 21:22
Psalm 46:10

Rebekah said...

I waver between the why's and the what's. I'm not sure that I've felt more power during my darkest days (though I do often feel God's peace despite my pain) but one thing I do know is that my faith undeniably rests on the Solid Rock. Before loosing my son I'd never had any true tests of my faith (minor rain clouds but not hurricane force storms). Now I know that if I can feel God's peace through these dark times there is nothing He won't bring me through (though I may get a little weathered in the process). I also understand the feeling of seeking Him and fleeing Him at the same time. My head and heart get in the way of each other at times with that. Love and peace

The Adventurous Girl's said...

Your family is on my thoughts and prayers. I know the pain. Caludia, my daughter died on 03/22/96 of SIDS! My heart breaks. There will come a day I will see her again! That get me through the dark days. I still have them yes, Holidays, certain children I see that is her age and ect. This year her being the big 13, what an age for a girl, Christmas is the hardest for me. How does this all fit togather. I have often said this when people ask me me how I handle it."Jesus is the best Babysitter any mother could ask for (not that I wanted her to go), I know she is in the arms of the one who died for us, I have one child in Heaven my pray is that as long as I am on this earth I want to do everything in my prayer to show the love of Jesus to my other daughters, so that they too wil see the face of Jesus on day." To be honest with you this was the first death in our family. My dad being a preacher struggled with it right along beside me. He told me that God is big enough for us to cry out in angry about death. I know that death was the result of sin. yet why did she have to be the one to go so early. Yet through the pain I would never wish this on any other mother of father. I just want you to know that you all are in my prayers and thoughts often
God is Good!! His plans are fall above our plans.

Wendy said...

hey there
Loved your blog! I know what you mean, cancer, child w/nvld, job loss. Why did God need to have so many things happen in order for him to be real to me. I don't have an answer. I pary daily that my son will learn that lesson without all the pain, but I am not sure if that is how God would have it. Need to be totally broken our spirit to truely accept "all" good and bad is from the father. I am a person who loves to control, but for the most part I have learned, I have none. God has allowed me to do what i do, it is all part of the paln that even today, 5 years later I am not always sure about. Someday, I will know, but not today.
Love ya,
Wendy

Mrs. Walker said...

I couldn't agree more! It's so hard to reconcile in our finite minds the truth of God's love and care with the equal truth that these difficult, dark providences come from the same hand. I have had many, many contradictory moments like you speak of over the last eight years that included two miscarriages and the devastating stillbirth of our daughter. I still can't understand the "why?" but I know that in it all the Lord has worked my good and ALL FOR HIS GLORY! It's not much consolation when the grief hits anew, but even when those dark times have come, I know that God remains faithful, even when I've wanted nothing more than to run from Him! He is my only comfort, but many times He has pursued me and brought me back to His side because my human nature cannot understand the pain and only wants to run from Him. He has to keep reminding me that even in the storms of life, He alone is my shelter.
I will continue to pray for your family. Our God is faithful and will walk this road with you and keep you during these days of darkness.

Miss Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you.
There is absolute no reasonable explanation of why this should be happening..
why this could.
But my heart goes out to you.
Praying that God wraps his arms around you with is infinite love.
Be blessed.

Anonymous said...

Greg,
It is so apparent that Jesus is walking with you right now! Your posts have encouraged many and continue to minister to all of us clay pots. The Lord spoke to my heart already thru your call to radical love in the face of such loss. The simplicity of what it means to empty ourselves and embrace this life of love. Getting back to the heart of what true worship really is. Like the broken vessels that can only shine brightly the love of Jesus thru the lens of our pain.

See 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (NET Bible Translation): “But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that the extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are experiencing trouble on every side, but are not crushed; we are perplexed, but not driven to despair; we are persecuted, but not abandoned; we are knocked down, but not destroyed, always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our mortal body.”

Only the Holy Spirit enables you to walk thru this and share about the love of Jesus. I wish you all the healing and comfort that only He can bring to you during this very hard time. It reminds me once more of how Jesus lived such a lonely existence and then even allowed himself to be separated from the Father for our sakes. Even unto being nailed to a tree to suffer and die alone. We can never be separated ever from the love of Christ, but it’s true he allows us to die to ourselves and many times it’s thru this pain and loss that we shed all of our layers to get to places of longing and learning and listening and a deeper walk. Please know I am not saying that you haven’t been there because I know you have. I do believe his heart breaks over you and Nicole and that he has even shed tears over you because it wasn't supposed to be this way! I believe He has chosen you to be a lamp to the hurting, a beacon and a hope for many, a light to the lost souls seeking answers. We all need to draw nearer to Him and look forward even more to the day when we will see Him face to face without shame, guilt or judgment but rather total acceptance and received completely as His children, brothers and sisters. Until then the road sometimes is very hard and lonely, but salvation is near, hope is near, Christ has overcome all of this! Please continue sharing your hurts because the love of God is all over you!
In His Love,

Russ (From your very tall friend from MGS days!)