Pink & Blue Mummyland

Pink and blue parenting through pink and blue moods….

The Storm Inside – Disappointment…

on January 20, 2014

“Life can deeply disappoint us. God’s word doesn’t shy away from it, so why should we?” (The Storm Inside, p27)

There are some things in life that severely disappoint us, to the extent that we question God regarding his love and power.

When MiniMe was six months old, I broke my upper arm – seriously, in three places. Recovery took a good eight months, and I still have issues with it now, when the weather is cold and damp, or when a small child swings on it, or when MicroBob goes dead weight on the school run forcing me to lug him home under my arm.

The broken arm was a huge deal for me. I couldn’t care for my baby on my own, and needed help 24 hours a day to look after her on the most basic level. What for some mothers would be a dream, for me, not changing a nappy for four months served as a painful reminder that God wasn’t doing what I thought he’d promised.

I was convinced that God would heal me. I knew he could do it. The God that I knew, from scripture and experience, could fuse the bones, remove the plates, screws and other metal work, and restore the situation in which I found myself. I was determined that it would happen – I knew God was capable, and I knew that the story of a miracle would rock the world of our local hospital, where I had been warned of the months of physio, pain killers and inconvenience.

It never did. God apparently did nothing to make it any easier – the recovery time was as long and painful as I’d been warned, and as time went on I lost hope that God would or could do anything or that he really cared in the first place. I asked over and over again those age old questions: How do we reconcile an all loving God who doesn’t show his power in our greatest disappointment, or an all powerful God who doesn’t love us enough to give us the desires of our heart?

Lots of people reminded me that I could learn things from this, that it would make me stronger, and that God would show himself to the people around me if I could just keep trusting him. But it fell like rocks into water. King Solomon had it right: “Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in the cold or pouring vinegar in a wound.” (Proverbs 25:30)

The truth, as Sheila Walsh says, is that “sometimes we act as if God is obligated to make all our dreams come true and give a happy ending to every earthbound tale.” (p39). We forget that we are in a spiritual battle, and that battles have casualties. This is why Jesus says “Take heart! I have overcome the world!” (John 16:34b) – to remind us that even when we are the casualty of war, we know who the winner will be, and that every knee, whether it wants to or not, will bow before the King of Kings.

There is a happy end to the story. I have my arm back, and am able to look after both my children in the way I want to. In some ways I have been able to see more clearly how I want to raise them because I was forced to have a time where I couldn’t do my job. I got to know people I’d hardly spoken to before – people who had seen the problem and stepped up to help make it better because that’s all they could do. I found out that sometimes I have to rely on other people to help me, and that I can’t do it all alone. And it’s not lost on me that this was probably the practise run for being diagnosed with bipolar, where I often have to completely rely on others to know when I’m unwell, because I literally can’t see it for myself.

I still don’t know the answers. It’s still not clear to me why God didn’t do this one little thing for me when he is so powerful. And I’m still disappointed at times. I still don’t think the good outweighed the bad. And no-one was ever really able to answer my question ‘why’.

I’m also not going to claim that Sheila Walsh can answer my questions. She’s good, but not that good! She acknowledges: “We rarely teach disappointment 101 in church…” (p30) and never claims to have all the answers – a breath of fresh air in the church, where we think having the answers is the only way we will persuade people that God is worth their time. Sheila’s gift is that she doesn’t pretend, but she acknowledges deep pain and goes on to give us a crash course in moving towards a place of hope.

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