Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Not exactly a huge holiday, but I know that if baby Charlie were with us today he would be dressed in a little green onsie and would probably already have gotten pinched at some point. Every holiday that passes without our precious boy reminds me that he really is never coming to live with us…and I am filled with fresh pain.
I used to think about Charlie every moment of the day and, like a burn victim, I was in a state of constant pain. Now, I think of Charlie about every other moment of the day. And when I do think of him, it almost hurts even more…it hurts in the fresh remembering. And it hurts that I’m forgetting. Forgetting him in moments. Forgetting exactly what it felt like to hold him, even for that one precious day. Forgetting the features of his sweet little face. Ahhhhh, I can’t even breathe as I write. These are the moments when I most question the sky. So many questions today. Why God? Why couldn’t we have him? Why must we be in so much pain? I know that these questions might only get answered in heaven someday. But one question comes back daily…THE question of all of our lives.
The other day we went to the park as a family and I was struck by something. For some reason, every time our kids did anything they wanted to make sure we were watching. It was like they were acrobats putting on a show at the exact same time and it was a fight to get our undivided attention. Every single twirl. Every single dance move. Every single jump. “Mommy, Look at me!’ “Daddy, do you see me!”
Fred is especially funny about it. Every time Freddo jumps he says, “Mommy, do you want to see my best jump?” And then he will say, “Now, do you want to see my other best jump!” Every jump of course, looks exactly the same. They just want us to notice every little thing they do, and it seems like their little hearts are crying out, “Do you see me mommy? Do you see what I can do daddy? Do you notice me? Am I captivating? Are you interested in me? Do I still have your attention?
And right now I am doing the same thing to God. That is the big question I am saying as I cry out to the sky…God, do you still see me? Right now, I am hurting so badly and I am struggling so hard to believe that God is near and that He really does still see me. Do You see how much I am hurting Daddy? Do You care? Do You know what You did to me? Do You know how much it hurts that You took Charlie away from me? Do you still see me?
One of the hard things about being finite humans, and trying to understand an infinite God is that we are just not like Him in so many ways. Sometimes we “make” God into our own image. And oftentimes…we’re kind of lame. We’re human. I’m an ever-blogging, iPhone-checking, quick to anger, slow to listen, quick to speak, often self-absorbed, always grieving, usually overwhelmed, permanently broken…Mommy, and I only have so much to give to my precious babies. I AM actually only so interested in seeing their every jump and every twirl…as much as I wish I could say that I felt differently.
But not God.
Somehow deep in my heart I know that our Abba Father is a far better parent to us, even though right now I feel like I got left out in the street. Sometimes I feel like God let me get run over in the street by taking Charlie away. I feel like He doesn’t even notice that I am broken and bleeding and that my heart is collapsing inside of me, let alone see every twirl and jump I take. But I know that isn’t true. Sometimes I know that better than others, but I have felt a great many things in the last seven weeks, and completely neglected by God and forgotten is not one of those things. Beat up. Bruised. Battered. Broken. (Insert a great “b” adjective, and you could just keep right on going…) But I cannot say that I truly believe that God does not LOVE me…even if that God did let me get run over in the street. Even if that God did let my baby boy die. Would He really let us get hit by a truck… and then hold us in the hospital and bind up our every wound as we lay dying for breathe, and fighting for life?
Maybe just maybe.
At some point…all of us are going to experience deep suffering and pain. At some point…all of us are even going to die. At some point…all of us are going to get hit by a truck and then stumble upon David’s words in Psalm 22 and think, “THAT is exactly how I feel today.”
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.”
And He will still be God.
And even as David cried out to Him, “Daddy, do you see me? Do you see my best jump?!!” his very next words were…
Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
And that is how it it. That is how it goes in this crazy life of having GOD…THE Lord of the Universe-God, as our Daddy. We not only need to wrestle with all the “hard” verses in His Word to us…but also with the good ones. The ones that make it resoundingly clear that God indeed holds our broken hearts as we lay bruised and bleeding. The words He really does speak into our deepest question, “My God, My God, Do you still see me?”
“Hagar gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:15,18
“The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
Right now, so many people around me are hurting so badly. People at church. People at Emma’s school. People in my own family. Friends across the miles who have also had to bury babies. And together, we have to cling to what is still true in life’s hospital room of suffering. That even on our darkest desert night…we have a God who sees.