The year isn’t over yet, but so far 2013 has been full of heartache for so many. I know every year is full of heartache for so many, but for reasons I don’t yet understand God has opened my eyes to so many tragedies this year. As we spent our fair share of time in the ICN at Duke and the NICU at New Hanover, we saw so many moms and dads having to say goodbye to their newborns. We sat and cried and prayed at the bedside of our baby, surrounded by other families doing the same thing. My heart dropped with every alarm, knowing that it could be my child next time. We listened with tears as the doctors told us time and time again they just didn’t know what the future would hold, and we watched them walk to the next family to share the same news.
We spent six weeks living in the Ronald McDonald House with older children who were fighting for their lives, who came to dinner with us in wheelchairs and wearing masks. We walked the halls lined with tiles in memory of those children who lost the battle, slept in rooms dedicated to those angels. We dined with parents who had been there for months, praying for miracles. We all existed in this strange world of trying to hang on to hope and faith, of celebrating milestones and mourning set backs… a world in which the rest of the world no longer existed as we devoted all of our time and energy to a child held captive by tubes and machines, needles and medications.
And in the past six months, I’ve heard and read stories of so many friends and friends of friends who have lost children for various unexplainable reasons…. miscarriages, stillbirths, complications and disease, SIDs. I hear these stories and pray for these families every day and weep with every loss, and I know that I should rejoice in the blessing of my miracle… but I catch myself guiltily wondering, “Why?” Why did our baby make it while so many others did not? Why did we get a miracle when so many others needed one? Why us and not them? Why them and not us? I count my blessings with a guilt-ridden heart because I know that I can never be appreciative enough for the gift I’ve been given. I know there are too many moments that I take for granted. I know that I did not deserve such a miracle. Yet He gave it to me anyway, and I cannot understand why.
And I’m reminded once again, that’s how God works. Not one of us deserves His grace and mercy, His gift of eternal life, but He gives it freely anyway. That’s the beauty of grace… we cannot earn it. He has bigger plans, and His plans are for our good, not for our understanding. He gives, He takes away, He gives more, He loves… and we just have to trust. We trust because we serve a God so much greater than this world, so much greater than the troubles and sorrows and heartaches that we face, even when they engulf us in an ocean of grief. We trust because of the hope He gives, even in the most dismal circumstances, that hope that does not disappoint (Romans 3:3-5). I may never understand why some of us get amazing miracles while others suffer painful loss, but I trust the One who does, and I trust that His plans are always, always, for good.