“Dear God, I forgive you for ruining my life…or at least I’m trying,” I finally confessed last week. Remember when I said that Annie’s heart defect wasn’t anyone’s fault? I’ve been struggling to believe that. Because I know that there is someone who could’ve made it different and didn’t.
It’s that same old mystery: Where is God when bad things happen? Is God the angry king up there millions of atmospheric levels away waving his scepter to incite pain on the poor peasants who inhibit this lowly earthly kingdom? Is he the one who was too busy saving babies in China or feeding orphans in Africa or calming dust bowls in Oklahoma and didn’t have time to tend to the tragedy occurring in an Arkansas womb?
No. Over this long journey I’m seeing firsthand that there is another option. God knew. God designed. God planned. God loved. God delivered. And then God showed up! I haven’t been in this darkness alone.
Annie’s diagnosis shocked me. I was angry at myself for not praying for a healthy baby, but only praying for a girl. (I remember saying, “Any healthy baby is a blessing, but I’d like a girl.” Now I know that ANY baby is a blessing. Healthy or not.) I felt cheated because, even when we did get Annie’s diagnosis, I didn’t know to pray for her medical team in Philadelphia! I’d been praying for doctors in Little Rock all those months. I was unprepared, how could I have known to pray for my marriage too? I was selfish, why didn’t I think to pray for all the other families walking familiar cold, dark hallways while their child fought to live?
It seems so unfair! How could I have known to be praying for all of these horrific details to somehow be right? Even though I didn’t, someone did. Even though I wasn’t, someone was. “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Romans 8:34).
Yes, Christ’s intercession on our behalf and God specifically having this story for our life is obvious in every minute detail. From doctors on call on just the right overnights, a coincidental opening in the #1 surgeon’s booked schedule, connections from Little Rock to Philadelphia, unexpected heart function recovery, and more, we know God has been with us every step of the way. We’ve seen so many miracles in Annie’s story. Yet, I’ll admit they’ve often not been the ones I’ve asked him for.
The waves that rippled through our family aren’t settled. The fear over Annie’s tomorrow isn’t assuaged. She will never live with a whole heart. The haunting realities we’ve lived the past 4 months fighting for our daughter’s life will never be erased.
But he has held Annie behind locked operating room doors when my arms wouldn’t reach and held me behind a locked up heart where I didn’t want to be reached. He has healed. He’s changed hearts–Annie’s and mine and untold others.
“Hallelujah I’m not who I was, Hallelujah I’m not who I’ll be. There’s a love that is healing the deepest wounds in me.”
There’s not a chapter of our story that’s authored by us. It’s all written by One who is the definition of wisdom, power, love, and grace. So as I’ve said before, This is God’s story and that makes it good.