It’s VBS week! What this means, for those of you who aren’t familiar with Vacation Bible School, is that I, as a stay-at-home mom, have 3 hours to myself for 5 days in a row. Yay! (Even better, my kids are being taught Scripture and Biblical concepts and principles, while being socialized and supervised!) So, I have some extra time to work on my stuff.
Yesterday, when I took them to the church, to drop them off, God gave me a little gift. With probably 50 other people standing there, I was the only one who saw this:
What I really want to talk about, though, is what happened today. When I was walking out, this morning, having dropped my boys at their “posts”, I ran into some friends. There are a lot of ladies at our church that I am close to, as well as couples and families that we like to spend time with. However, as young families, it’s not always easy to connect. So I hadn’t had a chance to talk to these ladies for a while. Which led me to take a few minutes to stop and talk.
You can probably guess how that went; my “few minutes” ended up being a lot longer! Sometimes, though, it’s a good thing to take the extra time. I was able to share, with my one friend, some of the things that have been going on with us lately, since I hadn’t had a chance to talk to her. And I was able to hear some of what’s been going on with her.
As I was sharing with her about what’s been going on with this ministry, we started talking about loss. She had recently offered to surrogate for someone who has been battling infertility for years. She filled me in on some mutual friends who lost a little boy a little over a year ago. We ended up talking about some of the things we don’t understand.
There are a lot of things I don’t understand. I don’t understand why some people go an entire lifetime without experiencing loss. I don’t understand why, sometimes, once is not enough. My parents have lost 5 grandbabies; my husband’s parents have lost 5 as well. We have close friends who lost two of their own children and then buried 2 grandchildren. I also know couples who get pregnant multiple times, in rapid succession, without even trying. And not always the most responsible couples. I don’t understand how God decides what is for which family. I don’t understand how the pain gets divided up.
What I do understand is miniscule, in contrast to what I don’t, but it means a lot more, and it makes what I don’t understand a lot more bearable. I understand that God loves us. I understand that His grace is sufficient. I understand that He is good – even when I don’t understand. I understand that there’s a lot more than what I see. I understand that He knows what He’s doing, and that He doesn’t make mistakes. I understand that I do make mistakes, and if the responsibility were mine, I would make mistakes in deciding who gets what. Most of all, I understand that I am His, beloved and precious, and that my pain matters to Him. It doesn’t go unnoticed.
Even having these understandings, there are things I don’t understand that help, too. I don’t understand why He loves me, but I’m glad that He does. I don’t understand why He sacrificed His own life for mine. I don’t understand why He chose to create and love a race that He knew would turn from and betray Him. I don’t understand why He chose to allow beauty to remain in our cursed, fallen world. I don’t understand why our lives are precious to Him.
Knowing does not always mean understanding. There are so many things about our God that I “know”, but without understanding. I am grateful that He doesn’t require that I get it. He even has a word for it: faith. Scripture says that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. I think, sometimes, that it’s really “the knowledge of things not understood.” He doesn’t require us to understand, though. That’s why it’s called “living by faith”, not “walking in understanding.” It’s about believing that what He says is true – especially when we don’t understand.
My friend and I didn’t reach any conclusions today. I don’t think, though, that it means our conversation wasn’t productive. I think it just served to remind me that our world is fallen, but not forgotten. Things really are falling apart on this planet – but it’s going to be okay, because there’s a God that’s bigger than this planet, and He’s holding things together. He loves us and He has a plan. For right now, knowing that is enough. I might understand it someday. Even if I don’t, there’s comfort and peace in the knowing.