Faithful Sally took the time to give us this thoughtful Friday Five, even as her son Chris is in hospital today for another cardiac procedure. Let's keep Chris and Sally and their family in our prayers--and thank you, Sally, for this Friday Five.
1.Have you experienced God's faithfulness at a difficult time? Tell as much or as little as you like...
We went through roughly six or seven years of infertility treatment, and during and shortly after that time I had two miscarriages, in 1991 and 1998. Those of you who have walked this path know the frustrations and the misery, as well as the indignities and humiliations we suffered at the hands of the medical profession. I do feel that God sustained us through all of this, and allowed us to grow closer through this trial, rather than (as often happens) farther apart. But our not having kids is definitely on my list of "why" questions for Jesus.
2. Have you experienced a dark night of the soul, if so what brought you through?
I started to say glibly, "see above", but upon reflection I don't think that's accurate. Through times of grief, loneliness, and depression, for some reason I have never felt that God was gone. Even when I yelled and raged at God, I have always felt like Someone was hearing me rage--even if that Someone was not responding in a way I could hear just then. Friends certainly have helped--have been my lifeline at particular times. And time itself has helped on occasion, too.
3. Share a Bible verse, song, poem that has brought you comfort?
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
4. Is "why suffering" a valid question?
Certainly, although I don't know whether we ever get any answers in this life. Actually I think we should assume that suffering is an integral part of our existence on earth, instead of being shocked when it touches us. This is a fallen world, filled with fallen creatures who often choose to do destructive and terrible things to one another. And the earth has its own vicissitudes--hurricanes, tornadoes, floods--that cause great suffering and over which we usually have little control. Perhaps "what do we need to be doing about it" is a more useful question than "why".
5. And on a lighter note- you have reached the end of a dark and difficult time- how are you going to celebrate?
Quietly. In such a time of recovery, I would want to go away to some beautiful place, to be alone with my husband, to just eat and drink things that would nourish body and soul, and walk, and talk a little, and think about where we'd been, and mostly sleep.
Bonus- anything you wish to add....
My answer to #4 seems a bit glib to me, and I certainly don't mean it that way. We have a responsibility to prevent suffering whenever we can, and to aid and comfort those who are suffering. Our righteous anger at evil, and our efforts on behalf of those who are suffering, are necessary. I don't believe we can completely eradicate suffering on the earth, because we cannot completely eradicate evil at this time. But we have to pray and work to make a difference, however we can.