What does God want? From the looks of things in our world, this question causes some pretty challenging issues. Does God want children to die? Does God want it to rain or for the sun to shine? Does God want your team to win? Does God want poverty? Does God want you to get sick or get well? Does God want cancer, abortion, sex trafficking, bankruptcy, divorce, abuse or prostitution? Then the more difficult question, if God doesn't want it, why does it happen? Isn't God big enough and strong enough to get what He wants? If He is, then the simple fact that bad things happen brings His character into question...or does it?
I've been in ministry a pretty long time, 17 years now. These are the hard questions. These are the questions people ask at hospitals, courtrooms, rehab centers and funerals. These questions are asked through tears and unexplainable grief.
There are no great answers, but recently I have been forced to understand this issue personally as a dad. At the first of this year, my son Cooper had some significant issues surrounding a heart surgery. I've blogged a good bit about our journey. In the midst of this, my wife and I were the ones having to make difficult decisions regarding what we "wanted" for our son. Our "wants" were driven by information that our son does not have the capacity to understand. He had a heart condition requiring surgery which was then followed by unexpected complications, which meant we had to act.
We did not "want" Cooper to have surgery, yet we "wanted" Cooper to be healthy. We lived in that place where our "wants" seemed to be in conflict. The reality is, we were experiencing both "wants" at once. Rationally we "wanted" Cooper to have the surgery because it meant a life of greater long term health. Emotionally we did NOT "want" Cooper to have surgery because we knew he didn't understand and this would inevitably cause him pain (little did we know just how much pain he would have to endure with the complication).
We do not want any of our kids to experience that kind of pain, yet we did. And that's the issue. Sometimes we get discouraged, frustrated or even angry at God for apparently allowing or even causing something that seems contrary to His nature. This is when we must recognize we are like my four-year-old boy who simply cannot understand everything involved. We must trust that God is good even when we suffer. I assure you, the suffering we made Cooper endure was not pleasant for us as parents, yet we knew this course of action was best. We had moments when he looked at us with that face that said, "Why are you letting them do this to me!?" And with broken hearts we pressed forward. We all have those moments with God. Just know that His heart breaks as He presses forward to accomplish what is best for you. He does not want it, and yet He does.
As we near what seems to be the end of this medical drama, we are grateful to see our son doing much better and in our hearts we know the original problem is solved, and he is better off now. However, we will not forget this. We suffered alongside Cooper. We went through an emotional meat grinder as parents. We did what was best, and we suffered through it. No matter what you struggle with, your Heavenly Father is working for your good and suffering along with you. It's just hard to explain.
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