Our book club recently read Becoming Elisabeth Elliot and The Hiding Place. The women in these stories have both taught me something recently through their faith, suffering, and walking with God: we may never have the answer. Let that sink in for a minute. You may never know here on earth why your husband died a savage death (Elisabeth, known as Betty, lost her husband in the jungles of Ecuador, after he was speared to death by the Waodani Indians they were there to minister to). You may never know why you were put in solitary confinement and forced to endure the realities of a concentration camp (Corrie Ten Boom) or why God allowed it in the first place. You just may not get the answers to life’s hardest questions living here on earth. But you know what? That didn’t stop either of these women from moving forward in their faith, testifying EVEN STILL to the faithfulness of God. I love stories like these, and from others who you’d think “they of all people have a right to stop believing, to question, to waiver in their belief” because of what they’ve gone through. Almost like they get some kind of a “pass” to stray a little bit from God, because doesn’t He have a say in what happens to us, can’t He stop the suffering, the injustice, the grief and despair? But EVEN STILL we have examples in our world of men and women, past and present, who choose to speak of the faithfulness of God, EVEN WHEN the hardest, most painful questions are left unanswered.
I think of Elisabeth and Corrie and how they would handle our own unanswered questions. Why did we have boy/girl twins growing in my belly one year ago, and today we don’t have them here with us? Why? If we were going to end up without them here in our arms, why did God allow for their existence in the first place? Why did they stay safely preserved in the freezer as embryos for four years? Why then did He allow a successful thaw of the embryos and a successful transfer? Why was there a positive pregnancy test after all of those shots and medications and trips to Denver to see our fertility doctor? Why did God allow weeks with them growing in my body, and not a full-term, live birth? If it was going to end, and He knew that, why did He allow weeks and not days? Surely days would have maybe been slightly less painful than weeks, right? I wonder “why”, but not with angry tears like I once had, but with a curious mind, and a heart softened toward knowing I’m not the only one to question why, to question God’s ways and His timing. But I can see from these heroes of the faith that we can move forward in trusting God anyway, even when our questions go unanswered. Our questions can linger there, because He is God and we are not. And maybe that’s where we place our faith. We can place our faith there with Him, the all-knowing God, and live on in peace.