A week ago we were at a friend's place. I was thinking about it and couldn't stop. How my son couldn't breathe. I put my hand over my mouth and nose to see what it was like, and it's a terrible feeling. It comes with panic and desperation. I couldn't sing praise songs with my friend when he started playing them on his guitar; and he's one of the most honestly worshipful singers I know. That's what made it worse. Normally I would love to have a chance to join him in worship of our God, but I couldn't stop thinking of what my son went through, and thinking "How could You allow it, God? How could that ever be something you would fit into your plan if You had the chance or ability to prevent it?" I did not have the ability to praise God honestly at that moment, or for the next several days. I would go out to pray, but my prayers were not very edifying, and were mostly venting my frustration at how God is everywhere, and Lord of all, but does not answer. I acknowledged Him as God, and told Him this is why I don't understand why He doesn't show His power, if He has it. Why He doesn't show His love, His compassion, if He really feels it. Then apologizing for the "if". But why would He let such a thing happen to a baby? My sweet baby? What would be so hard about raising him? What would be so hard about granting a vision of him to let us see that he is well and happy?
What good man would allow what has happened if he had the power to stop it, or refused the requests if he had the power to grant them?
"Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face.He also shall be my salvation: for a hypocrite shall not come before him."
Yet I am not righteous like Job, and if Job did not receive an answer, what hope do I have? Yet my baby is innocent. And Job did get an answer that satisfied him. I don't deserve even that, I know, but since when does God give people only what they deserve? I appeal to His mercy and admit my sin.
Most "grief" or "death" books...well, not most, ALL so far...talk about the discipline of suffering, and all the good that can come out of it. But what about an infant? What sin is a loving vulnerable infant being weaned from by suffering, by death? Our Lord was an innocent, yet he was and is also a man, a full-grown man who was able to understand why he was suffering, at least understand what it would purchase. He was able to know and surrender to His Father's will. But a baby? What is the point of infants' suffering? Who would care to "learn" from their child's death, or purchase personal advancement at such a cost? Who would stand on the body of their child to see farther?
I would cast this stone at satan with spit and hatred, but like Job said regarding another evil: "The earth is given into the hand of the wicked; He [God] covers the faces of its judges. If it is not He, then who is it?" Who sits on the throne back of Satan, giving free reign to him?
If God did not allow it, how would satan have the power? Why give helpless vulnerable innocents into his hands? Why, especially in the face of hundreds of Your saints pleading with You not to in the Name which You promised to answer to?
I read Oswald Chambers' "Utmost" the other day. He spoke about this:
"Be merciful to God's reputation. It is easy to blacken God's character because God never answers back, He never vindicates Himself."
True enough. And what am I, that he should answer? I do still appeal as a son.
There is so much that doesn't make sense. And nothing comforts when THAT moment goes over and over in the mind.
Everything points to God being at fault, being wicked, but this cannot be. If God were wicked, then He would not be God, and there would be no "good", and there would be no me or Elias or tragedy or hope or future. God must be God, Jesus Christ must be Lord, in the face of this - else there is nothing at all. And I know He is God. He must love Elias, because He is God. If he did not, He wouldn't be God. Yet there is what I have seen.
"We walk by faith and not by sight""The things that are seen are temporary, the things unseen are eternal"
Yet, would it be so bad to see? So many have. It is not unlawful. I still pray to see in the here and now. I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
And I don't want to do anything. If it's possible to pray so hard, to have such strong faith, to fulfill the requirements of scripture, and still not to prevail, then what's the point in any venture? Any action? Any prayer? I feel like resorting to fatalism, to "gods will" in the most unscriptural sense. Yet I know that would be burying the talent, like Ivan in "Brothers Karamazov" - "It's not God that I don't accept, Alyosha, only I most respectfully return him the ticket." The ticket to what seems like the sickest game possible-the present life. Is it the fulfillment of the psalm "To the crooked You make Yourself seem torturous"? Let me be pure, please! Let me see You.
If it were what it appears to be, then God would not be God, and I would not be me, and Elias would not be Elias. And these things are impossibilities. So it cannot be the sick game it appears to be.
Sometimes I pray: "God please let me see him! Just open up a slit into heaven, or open my eyes, so I can see him being carried, talked to, comforted! If I could just see that, I would know, and all would be well! If I know it is well with him, all will be well!"
But all is not well. How can it be well with such goings on?
Julian of Norwich may have been a prophetess. "All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well"
Will be. But it's not yet!
And what now? How many years am I to be forced to slog along through this wasteland? Until I'm old and distracted and forget the baby I love? Can I forget my Jerusalem? Can't I die with a fresh memory? I was talking it over with Brandy (my fear of forgetting). All humans forget. Friends drift away, and are hardly ever thought of, their memory and associated affection fades. That is hellish. But then I thought of how I cried uncontrollably and unexpectedly the day my dad flew back to Korea after over a decade of "out of sight out of mind" and thought, what if it's like that? If you can get to the point after years where you rarely think of someone and your memories are all stylized and hazy, yet when you're brought back together all the feelings spontaneously resurrect?
I pray that the Lord would reunite us with our baby soon, one way or another. Is it self-pity to want to die? I know with me it partly is, and I don't want that. Yet Paul said he'd rather "depart and be with Christ". At the moment I don't feel exactly the same. I want to depart and be with my son. But I know that the only reason Elias is himself is because of Christ, and the only reason I exist and am capable of loving my son is because of Christ, and it is His presence in it all that makes it all worthwhile. Yet Christ is nearer than a word, though I don't see Him I sense it-even if He doesn't answer. My son, on the other hand, I cannot sense until I go to him, or unless the Lord graciously answers my prayer for a vision.
We'll see how long it takes. "So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him". I will have to make this my watchword.
God MUST be Himself. Jesus Christ MUST be the face of God, His express image. And therefore, there must be the most glorious reconciliation, something so wonderful as to wash all this away and bring us all together in such a reunion that even this will seem like a "Light and momentary trouble" not worth being compared to it. This MUST be true, though I don't see or feel it. I'm still praying for a glimpse, and praying for an assurance and certainty.