Today has been a rough day. Again we hear we are "on the fence" as for whether or not we will trigger, which means that this is still dragging out. One may read a lot about how "Slow and steady wins the race," but more IVF physicians than not will tell you "Not always," and in my case, that's the boat I'm racing in. So...not really thrilled with this morning's results. We had an appointment scheduled at the Apple store after so we can learn how to use this computer and apparently, I stink at using it so much that the appointment I scheduled on their website is for next week. (Maybe subconsciously I know this is going so slow I figured I'd be there in Annapolis again next week?) So, we at least caught 45 minutes of the Making the Switch workshop and that was helpful (although frustrating as all get-out because John does NOT pay attention and then asks questions that he'd have the answer to had he been paying attention and not playing with the computer) and headed back. My car SO knows the route. Oh, but in between, we walked around the mall a bit and then stopped at Matthew's favorite Chick-Fil-A and frankly, I just saw more strollers and cute little baby boys (and girls) than I could really handle today. Top that off with getting tricked into going to Lowe's so we could look at carpeting for the basement but spending another 40 minutes on other stuff, and suffice it to say I'm not in a rosy mood.
Maybe I'll look through my Pottery Barn Kids, my Babies R Us insert, my Similac coupon packets, my Gerber Life Insurance info or the Explanation of Benefits that stated yet ANOTHER procedure for Matthew was denied "Because your newborn was not added to this policy. Contact your administrator to add your newborn." Thanks, he's dead. No need.
All of the above, by the way, today's mail. And yesterday's. And the day's before. Thank God I get a reprieve on Sundays. I'm all about the mail only being a couple of days a week.
ANYWAY...I wanted to post this the other day because I'm very curious. I have been following Kristin since probably right after Matthew died, and defy you to look at the picture of Peyton where she's looking up and has her sweet little mouth open in somewhat of a little giggle and not cry at just how heartbroken you are that this earth doesn't get any more of that sweet face. The other day, I read through her comments about God. I was thoroughly intrigued. I didn't really have any sage advice to offer, other than I know simply because of the miracles that we had in our children God IS and does LOVE us.
I was interested in the comments because it seemed like there were two camps. Well, three if you count the camps that just didn't have a faith in God. The two camps I found interesting were the camps that came from those who do have faith and were trying to share it or their view.
And honestly, I was so glad to see that because it reinforced to me that I am NOT the only one in the world who is having a hard time finding solid ground on which to stand. I don't mean this in the way it sounds....I DO have solid ground. It's in the fact that there IS truth. But the why? and the how? and the shouldn't? and the doesn't? and the wouldn't? questions swirl around and really make me crazy.
So I thought I'd throw this out there too--and see what others think. She has a million and 8 people who read her blog, so I doubt that I'll get as many comments as she did, but I'm curious to see what even one person has to say.
And let me clearly state before I present the questions--I KNOW this is the stuff that different denominations are made of. Trust me. I've been spending a LOT of time seeing what different denominations believe. I KNOW these things are simply incomprehensible to human reasoning. I'm just wondering...
So, one camp is very clearly of the mindset that God did NOT intend for Matthew (or any other baby) to die or any other horrible tragedy to happen. That He is NOT puppet-stringing tragedies for whatever reason--growth, lessons, a bigger/better good that we can't understand, whatever. He is ABSOLUTELY able to make good of ALL situations, though...and does...even if we may never know it fully. This camp believes that we are living in a fallen world; imperfect and NOT the way God wanted it to be. But because He loves us, and wants us to love Him without being programmed to love Him, He created a world of humans with free will--the choice to follow Him or not--and that, because of that free will, we are allowed to choose for the good or for the bad. Which means that the bad exists. He didn't want it; He didn't want us to choose it...but He ALLOWED us to, and allows us still today to do so...and that's why bad things can happen to good people...a result of the fallen world in which we live.
I've loved this camp. It's been helpful. It's been the only way I have been able to retain faith in that God IS Love...and He loves me. And hurts for me. And never wanted this pain in our lives. And didn't want Matthew to suffer. And took him home as a whole, beautiful baby boy.
The other side of the coin is the one that believes God DID plan this. He chose us for this affliction. Why is beyond our ability to reason. He KNEW it was going to happen. He KNEW Matthew was going to only live for 8 and a half hours. He planned every breath Matthew took. Before the world was formed, Matthew was bound only to live a little life and God orchestrated every single person who supported us as that happened to comfort us and to guide us. This camp believes that Matthew lived the exact number of seconds God planned for him to live. God has a plan for each and every one of our lives, and has since time began. His will may not make sense to us, but He is in control of each and every thing that happens to us.
There is peace in this camp too, as I wrote the other day. Peace in knowing His sovereignty is supreme and He planned how to best comfort me before I was born--and seven years after my mother dying, how He's prepared me for this trial.
And scripture supports both camps. I've been reading books on the theological and Biblical foundation for both camps. Which is probably why my head has been just a mess.
How can one be, if the other is?
How can we have a choice in anything if God is orchestrating everything to fit His plan?
How can He not have wanted Matthew to die, yet gave me resources for today YEARS ago?
How could the story of Job and his trials basically being a test of cosmic proportions be an example of God's precise plan for Job's life (He planned the devil to come and tell him he didn't think Job would follow Him without all the good stuff in his life?? He planned for the devil to ask Him to tempt Job? He planned to tell Job that Job had NO IDEA of the battle between good and evil that was going on without his knowledge?) while at the same time be an example of the free will we have (Job chose to praise when others didn't and he really didn't have a reason to either, proving God's point that Job would CHOOSE to praise God and wasn't being MADE to)?
How could God not be orchestrating the plucking of babies from their mothers yet planning each breath every human makes?
How could God not 'intend' for something to happen, yet have each of the days of our lives numbered and counted?
And while I'm throwing it all out there...how can God plan each and every breath that I take, knew of it before the world was created, and yet repeatedly tells us in the Bible that He is patient and slow to anger because He wants so desperately for us to have a relationship with Him? If he is orchestrating it all, if it's all part of His plan, how can that be? If He's waiting for us to exercise our free will and choose Him, how could He have every second of our life mapped out, right up to the second and way we die?
I guess it boils down to this for me:
If God has a plan for us, then isn't everything that happens in our lives according to His plan, by default, part of His plan? Even the tragedy? If He has a plan for our life, and something He didn't intend or 'want' to happen happens, then doesn't He lose sovereignty? How can both exist?
Yep. Told you it was heavy. Told you it's beyond reason. Told you that it's the stuff that make and break denominations--from predestination (so, if He has predestined me, do I *really* have a choice?) to free will (if I don't have choices, what is the purpose of witnessing to others? Why pray? If God's planned it all, and my choice doesn't matter, why pray?)....even people within the same denominations, churches, families...heck, even the same marriages, waffle on these things. Some of the deepest-rooted Christians I know (and dear friends, so completely loved and trusted) waffle--and in the same conversation will somehow be able to say "God is in control" and "This was not what God wanted." I can't tell you how often in the same conversations, "God knows" has been spoken with "We live in a fallen world; it's not God we should blame."
And honestly, before Matthew died, I assure you, I was a major participant in such conversations.
Now, not so much. If I accept the "God didn't plan it, we live in a fallen world, He makes good of it all," camp, well...then I lose God's providence and the comfort from knowing He starts things in us often years before we even know we'll need them. If I accept the "God knew Matthew was going to die and it's part of His plan," then my heart bleeds. Profusely. And my knowledge of God being love is destroyed. My faith in "I know my plans for you...plans to prosper you and not harm you," wears thin.
So, I'm dying to know what others think--what reconciliations have been come to and really, just see perspective. Regardless of what it is...
I even took the Anonymous comment thing off so if you want to be anonymous, fine. I promise I won't write you a blog. I do ask this, though...please, please, please do not tell me that all this questioning could prevent another child in our lives or our healing or has anything to do with why Matthew died in the first place or is an obvious indication of my faithlessness right now. So . don't. need . that.
I'd just really like to know.