by Stacey Booth
“Mommy, did God plan for your Mom to die?” Deep and difficult questions are asked from the backseat of my car that send me into a tailspin. How do I explain to my tender four-year-old just how broken our world is? How do I explain that people die, that floods come, and that the “boo-boos” that took my mom are the same “boo-boos” her Daddy is battling. I am at a loss for words because . . . let’s be honest . . . I am still battling this harsh reality at age 32.
How could my perfect and loving Father allow such pain to be a part of my story? My heart often gets stuck here and I am left sitting in doubt, fear, and anger. I have known that our pain has a purpose in this life, but I am beginning to see that even our doubt has a purpose.
With a lump in my throat I quickly answer her question,”Yes baby, my mom was too sick to stay on earth and she is with God now in Heaven.” I could see my daughter’s wheels spinning. She responds with a mouthful: “Were you sad when she died? Can she ever come back? What if the medicine doesn’t work on daddy? I want to be with Jesus in Heaven, Mommy.”
God granted an “aha moment” and I began to recognize things clearly from my daughter’s questions. Longing, sadness, and joy came through in her thoughts. These three things are not exclusive of one another. They can mingle together. I have often felt so much shame from my doubt and fear. Isn’t His perfect love supposed to cast out fear? How can I doubt His love for me? My doubt is not too great for Him. He is not offended or threatened by my questions. He uses our doubt as an opportunity to walk us gently back to the beginning, like a father walking his daughter hand in hand. Whispers of His truth are given to remind us of who He was, who He is, and who He will be. All I have to do is remember and recount the stories of days’ past.
“My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say ‘My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.’ Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope; The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end.”-Lamentations 3:17-22
The Psalms are full of these important truths. Doubt and pain lead to hopelessness, until we begin to remember. My doubt is calling me to remember. My doubt is leading me back to Him.
Through all of my wrestling and tears these past six years - a deep assurance has been born. I have seen that God never changes although my circumstances are ever-changing. He is eager to show me His mercy and love even in my forgetfulness.
Last October we learned that Brad’s cancer had spread to his liver. This was a gut punch and we knew what this meant. His days were short numbered. I began praying earnestly for 120 healthy days. I asked for Brad to have 120 days full of life, not full of bed-ridden symptoms. Here we are almost one year later! This is an answered prayer I cannot afford to forget. No matter what the future holds - a miracle of time has been given. God bestowed mercy. At the young age of eleven, God answered another very specific prayer for me. I remember asking for one more Christmas with my mom before she died from her short battle with breast cancer. It was given.
The floods have come - and are still coming - but my assurance cannot be washed away by my doubt or circumstance. I will choose to remember.
Note: To read more about Brad & Stacey's journey, read "Suffering - Part 1" and "Suffering - Part 2." You can also follow updates on Brad's battle with desmoplastic small round cell tumors (DSRCT) here.