There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How much faith?

Dear Mark,

There isn't even an hour that goes by that I don't think of you. I get up and you are in my thoughts. I drive to work and I hear you in every song. I see you in each little boy and in every toy that you would have loved. I even cried for you when a dinosaur show came on TV the other day...I could just picture you sitting on the couch, loving every minute of it.

As long as I had tried to avoid it, I had to go through some of your things from the hospital. Stacks of papers and pictures that children had drawn for you. Your hospital bracelet. The locks of hair that the nurses cut and tied with blue ribbons for us to take home when they knew that you weren't going to come home with us. All of those things...they had to be moved. From the place they had been since you left.

Grief is like walking with one foot in normalcy and one foot in madness. Just one thought of the accident, or what it was like to hold you after you died; to think of your little body lying in the grave or to see your picture and feel my arms hurting because they want to hold can take me over the line. Most of my daily energy is spent in trying to move on. Trying to live with purpose for your sisters and hanging on for the day when we all will be together again. It is a daily choice that I have to make and there are some days when it is just too hard.

Daddy and I have learned how to let so many things go. We are emotionally bombarded all day long in one way or another, but we try to just roll with it all the best that we can. However, lately, it has been difficult. Many of those we know and even many that we don't know have tried to make a case regarding God's healing, protection and will for our lives being dependent on our faith and what we as Christians give God "permission" to do.

We believe that if prayers and true faith in your healing could have saved would have. There isn't a person walking the face of the earth that can tell me that our lack of faith kept you from staying here with us. I will never, ever believe it. But, they are trying to tell me that. Telling me that faith isn't believing what God can do, but what God will do. How can that be? How does that apply to us? To you? We believed with everything in us that God would heal you...we never believed any differently until you died. Healers came to lay hands on you...people came and spoke in tongues over you and there were even strangers that came to find us to tell us that God had told them that you were going to get up out of that hospital bed...fully healed.

We have heard that God will protect us and our family if we just ask it of Him. The truth is, I prayed for God's protection over you and your sisters all of the time. It didn't keep God from taking you. Does that mean that my prayers weren't heard? Was my faith too small? How can you quantify how much faith it takes to "manipulate" God into doing what you want done? How many people have to pray with real faith in order for God to decide to heal someone? How many times do you have to pray for protection until God decides to keep you and your family from harm? It doesn't make any sense. It isn't even Biblical. We can't take the verses from the Bible that show healing and blessings and forget the ones that don't. All of Jesus' martyred disciples might agree with me. God didn't protect them from a horrible and painful death.

I encourage anyone that feels that God's blessings in their lives are so dependent on how much faith they have to try and put themselves in our shoes. Better yet, just imagine if their most precious loved one were to die in a terrible, unexpected tragedy...would they say the same thing? Would it all still apply if those prayers had been prayed and believed and they didn't "work"?

No Mark...Daddy and I believe differently than many. Our definition of faith is believing that God is in control...that He loves us and died for us...and that He brings joy and pain to us for His glory alone. I have never been so confused in my entire life, and yet, I think that my faith is stronger than it ever has been because nothing makes sense, and yet I still believe. We know that God took you as part of His plan and for His glory and there isn't anything that we could have done to keep you here. God doesn't need nor does He want our permission to act in our lives. He gives and takes away and we will continue to praise Him through it all. We may never understand why, but I will always have the peace knowing that it was through Him that we lost you and not because of us.

Wish I was holding you...I love you,



  1. Anybody saying a "lack of faith" is what stopped Mark from staying here on Earth is deeply deeply misguided. Anybody who has felt the extreme pain of loosing a loved one so suddenly and unexpected will know, God has a plan and we cannot change that through any amount of prayer or faith.
    Do not listen to these people, although I'm sure you already know that!

  2. Amen, sister; amen, amen, amen.

    I'm glad you're not listening. Why did Jesus have to die on the cross? Because He didn't have enough faith? I mean, seriously.

    Western Christianity seems very attached to the "happy ending" answers to prayer - right here, right now.

    However, the many, many martyrs throughout the ages, bleeding and dying for their faith (and those who are doing it today!) would be very puzzled by this so-called Christianity...the kind with all suffering and loss erased immediately, based on our ability to push the right faith buttons.

    You're right, Angie, and they're wrong. It still hurts when they say it, though, and I wish they would just keep their mouths closed.

    As you well know, you're in His hands - not theirs, and not your own. I'm counting on it, too.

    I couldn't be more ready for Heaven, and I know you understand perfectly what that's like.

    See you there, hopefully soon,

    Cathy in Missouri

  3. It's been a while since I've visited your blog, but glad I stopped by today. Thank you so much for sharing in this post! Since you're a follower of our blog you are well aware of why I understand exactly what you are saying. I'm so glad to hear that you are firm in your proper and Biblical understanding of prayer.

    This is something that I've been thinking about a lot lately too, in connection with prayers that are not answered vs. prayers that are answered with a "no". When Craig was in the hospital on all the machines and they were trying to bring him back, we prayed as we have never prayed before. Our pastor arrived and cried and prayed by our side. Many of our dear Christian friends from our church joined us in prayer for those terrible minutes that seemed to last for an eternity while we waited to find out if our precious son could be brought back to us. God in His infinite wisdom heard all of our prayers, and then said: "No." I can't believe that all of us were inadequate in our prayers - my heart was scraped bare as I begged for His mercy. All of those devoted and faithful Christian brothers and sisters, even some on the other side of the world? I truly believe that He heard all of us, and that He cried along with us and wished that we could understand how it fit into His divine plans to take our son home to himself.

    He sent us a few messages through people's comments that gave us clues and some hope, but none of these partial answers have been satisfactory. Why? In the end I think the only answer we will receive in this life is: "Because I am God."

    We now pray along with you that if He will not give answers, that at least He will give us strength to do what He desires of us until the time He has chosen for us to finally be reunited with Craig, and that you will have the strength to do what He expects of you until you are with Mark again. Most of all, we pray that this time of waiting and service will be shortened by the return of our great and glorious saviour Jesus Christ!