I got an email from a friend a couple of weeks ago and she asked if I thought God had given Tullie Down Syndrome on purpose. It wasn’t a random question. It was something that we had been talking about for awhile. I didn’t respond to her for a few days, because I knew that I had to get my thoughts in order before I responded. The moment I read her question, I knew my answer, but I had to think about it for awhile.
It was one of those things that when I think about it and I don’t hear anything else around me. Kids may be screaming, something falling, husband’s talking and I’m off in Lala Land thinking about something deep. I was cooking and Mike was talking about something. He asked his question and I looked up, “What? What’d you say? Huh?” Mike says, “What are you thinking about?!?” True story. It’s rare that I get SO caught up in my thoughts.
Did God give Tullie Down Syndrome on purpose? Heck, while we’re at it, did God have Eli die on purpose? My answer for now is, no. I don’t think so. BUT, I do think that He allowed both. Why? I don’t know. I don’t know the mind of God. I don’t know what He’s thinking. Do I struggle? Yes. Am I content with what He has allowed to happen? No and yes. Time has healed a lot, but it’s still hard and I’ve learned not to make light of it. It’s real stuff. It’s real life. It’s really hard. There’s really no way around it.
I’ve read a book recently called, The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God by John Piper. It’s a poem of the story of Job. It’s a quick read and very good. I need to re-read it again before I give it back to my friend to get all that’s in it. I was re-reading the preface (a Word to the Reader) and he pointed out two things that struck me. One, he said, “Whatever Satan’s liberty in unleashing calamity upon us, God never drops the leash that binds his neck.” That struck me, because there are many times I’ve heard people say, “We need to pray that Satan will no longer attack you and your family.” My response in my head was, “Well, who said he was out to get us? Sure, I’m God’s kid, but because we’re suffering it’s all Satan’s fault?” I honestly don’t know how I feel about that. God has Satan on a leash. He can only do what God allows him to do. He can’t make things happen that God does not already control. Has Satan been out to get us? I don’t know. Honestly, I’m not really sure if I care. I’m Jesus’ kid and so is my husband and my prayer is that my children will be too. We’re safe with Jesus.
Piper also said, “The great purpose of life is not to stay alive, but to magnify-whether by life or by death-the One who created us and died for us and lives as Lord of all forever, Jesus Christ. I pray that His sovereign goodness will sustain you in the unyielding joy of hope through every flame of pain and flood of fear.” There is so much truth in that statement. We were made to magnify Jesus. Glorify Him.
Jesus is sovereign. That’s what I told my friend. He is sovereign and He allows things to happen. He allows people to be sick. He allows pain and suffering. He allows joy and sorrow. Jesus knows that His glory will shine through it all, even if we don’t see it. I struggle. I wrestle. I question. That’s me working out my faith. That’s me being real. That’s me telling Jesus that I don’t like my circumstances. I don’t think that that’s sin. I think it’s being honest and human. It’s when I shake my fist at God and tell Him that He’s wrong and I turn my back thinking that I know better then Him. That’s sin. That’s lack of faith and trust. I haven’t lost faith. I’ve struggled, but I haven’t lost faith.
Jesus is sovereign. I don’t know His mind. But I know He’s in control. I know I can trust Him.
John Piper tweeted this a couple of weeks ago, “When you take a breath and exhale in sobs, fall against the chest of Jesus. He will hold you up till you can breathe again.” So true.
Did God do this stuff on purpose? No. Did He allow it? Yes. Would I exchange Tullie? Heck, no! Do I want Eli with me? Yes. Do I struggle? Yes. Do I believe that Jesus is sovereign? Most definetly.