I wish I could count the times that these two words of well-meaning comfort have been spoken to me over the course of the last 7 weeks.
I believe that the intention of this phrase is that God will provide and carry us through our tribulations. Yet, faith intuitively does not carry a positive or optimistic connotation. To have faith, is to have complete confidence in God’s ability. Faith is believing without seeing. It is stepping blindly off the cliff and trusting that you’ll be provided with wings or at the very least a parachute.
I know that I’m oversimplifying a popular theological topic but the issue I have is that real faith is trusting that God has a plan, without knowing what it is and accepting it anyways. God’s plan might include a miracle for my son but it might also include (and likely does based on medical diagnoses), that Theo won’t live to see his second birthday. And, having faith means I should accept that my son’s continual suffering and eventual death are all part of God’s plan.
As a Christian, I might eventually be able to accept this but as a mother, I simply cannot come to terms with this. I don’t know if I ever will.
Before I go on, I should preface that I grew up in a Christian family founded by faith. A family of pastors and devout churchgoers and a home filled with devotions and prayers. And, I consider myself not only a spiritual but also a religious person. The institute and community of religion have provided (and still do provide) me a foundation for my beliefs – and ultimately my life.
But Theo’s situation has left me shattered and spiritless. Faith, at this point in my life, is intangible.
From the moment I entered the ER with Theodore, I prayed constantly. And, my prayers went unanswered: two cardiac arrests, a devastated brain and a body inflicted with pain. So, after a while, I stopped praying. I had lost my faith in the power of prayer and couldn’t find the words to pray anyways.
As we were being transported back to the Timmins airport (to return to McMaster), the paramedic who sat in the back of the ambulance with us was the same individual who had transported us back to Timmins three weeks earlier. This paramedic, a complete stranger, told me that he and his children have been praying for Theo every night since then and asked my permission to pray for him. As we prayed for my son in the back of the ambulance, I softened my heart and listened to his words – his selfless prayer for our strength, healing and peace.
It was then that I realized that it was okay that I couldn’t find the words to pray because there were hundreds of individuals (some I’ve never even met) around the world finding the words for me.
I still pray each night but my prayer is simple. Lord, watch over Theodore. Lord, give Mark and I strength. Beyond that, I’m still searching for words. God will fill in the rest.
As for faith: I know one day, I’ll have stretched out my arms far enough, but for now, it’s just slightly out of reach.