What if…

September 18, 2013

What if God won’t alter what is happening in our lives?

What if prayer is more for our relationship with Him than to change our circumstances?

What if this is all set, from the beginning of time, to further His Kingdom in heaven, and nothing could have been different?

What if the purpose of these losses and life changes – are the choices we have after? Where we turn after it all –

Away from God. To God.

What if that is all there is – our lives are also formed for us before we are born; our circumstances, our happiness, our pain – but the choices after these that guide us to the end are truly ours?

I don’t know. Maybe I’m completely wrong. These are the thoughts of a woman that is grieving and also looking for hope. But in a way, it comforts me to think that right now, in this grief, there is still a choice. I can still choose to make my son’s lives, our pain, these unbelievably tragic moments count towards something beautiful. Maybe not now. Maybe not in my lifetime. But it’s still my decision.

Away from God. To God. 

What if I choose to honor what I prayed desperately over Kaden as he went in for an operation a week before he passed, “I beg you to spare him Lord, but if you choose not to, I still will serve you my whole life.”

I wanted him to live more than anything else. I had trouble even saying those words because, oh, what if he didn’t live and I didn’t want to have anything to do with a God that could allow that to happen again? Would He hold me to that promise, punish me if I didn’t?

But what if it simply is, fully and totally, my choice in how these small moments of our lives play out for all eternity?

32 Comments

  • Beth Hess

    October 9, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    I read this powerful Daily Bread devotional too. I absolutely believe the choices we make affect who we become, and you are becoming – you already are – a beautiful, Godly woman. I don't understand prayer, but I think it unlocks the spiritual battles because God made it so. I will pray that God will bind up your broken heart. I'm reading the book Mudhouse Sabbath and there is a chapter on grief, written by a Jewish Christian. I love the way grief is presented. Not a journey to be walked alone, but a journey to be joined in by others, like we are here. Not something to be quickly swept under the rug, but something to be prayed into daily.

  • Alesha

    October 3, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Diana, this is beautiful and perfect and heartbreaking. I love your heart. <3 Thank you for sharing.
    Alesha <3

  • Karen Tichy Friary

    September 24, 2013 at 11:34 am

    Have you read the book "How to Pray When Your Pissed at God?" by Ian Punnett? I found it very insightful.

  • Jill

    September 20, 2013 at 6:04 am

    You are so strong.

  • Sarah Louise Torpey

    September 20, 2013 at 10:20 am

    This really spoke to me… I had surgery this summer for what turned out to be liver cancer….. And my prayer life intensified and the relationship with God was deeper…. Away from God or To God…. As hard as it was I know what I choose….. thank you andI continue to

  • Amanda Magee (@AmandaMagee)

    September 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Wishing I had more to say than, I honor your wondering. xo

  • Daniele Lindsey

    September 19, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    You have strength and dignity. You are brave. Keep on soldier, "Day by Day" (do you know that beautiful hymn?).

  • Ms. Future PharmD

    September 19, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    I’ll be straight with you, I don’t believe in a divine that causes suffering in our lives on purpose or for a purpose. That theology just bugs me. If God is loving and caring and like a parent, there are no lessons with by awful things deliberately by parents. Does that mean we learn nothing when bad things happen? Nah, we learn plenty. I think that bad things happen because life happens and that not every breath of ours is planned but every breath is celebrated by the divine. Since we have free will, it seems wrong to me that it’s actually totally constrained. For me, prayer is about helping me to understand what the next right thing is in my life and helping me get where I am needed. It’s also about helping me accept life as it happens. I pray for healing and healing of everyone around a situation, and for peace. I am glad that you are finding some peace in all of this awfulness.

    1. daymon11

      September 20, 2013 at 6:36 am

      No disrespect, Ms. Future PharmD, but I did want to clarify my statement. I don’t believe that God causes our suffering, but I do believe that He allows it and that He can ultimately turn any pain that we are suffering into good that has a deeper purpose behind it than just hurting us. I don’t have all the answers and we can agree to disagree. Just wanted to restate my thoughts so it was clear what I meant.

  • daymon11

    September 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Thank you for posting this and for your amazing faith. I agree with everything you said and needed to read this today. I have experienced tragedy in my life & know that our pain is not without purpose. Our prayers, even in desperation – especially in desperation – are more for our relationship with God than the things we pray about. In my life, He always does whatever it takes to bring me closer to Him and as painful as that sometimes is, it’s so beautiful to think about that kind of love. When we are in a season of extreme pain, only during that time are we open to receive God’s glory, comfort and power like we never have before. He has a special delivery in mind when His children suffer hardships. Not only will He rescue us, He already knows the special WAY that He will rescue us from the pain. And he doesn’t just pull us out of the painful situation, He pulls us out to draw us near to Him! He allows us to experience a new level of relationship with Him that we have never experienced before. If you haven’t already, listen to How He Loves Us by the David Crowder Band. It brings me to tears every time.

  • Melissa

    September 19, 2013 at 6:23 am

    Job had the SUCKIEST life once God let Satan loose on him. And he may not have seen it in his lifetime, but he is forever an example of faithfulness to God in the midst of suffering. A gold standard of dedication in faith. To ME, so are you. I think all of it is awful and unfair and maddening. But you are such an example to me. ♥

  • Sarah Mann

    September 18, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    Have you read Jen Hatmaker’s blog this week on grief and Christianity? I thought of you as I read it. Keep on wrestling, Diana.

    1. Gina Perna

      September 19, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      Sarah, thanks so much for sharing Jen’s blog post. I’ve now read though it several times and it continues to uplift me. As a Christian who felt completely weakened by fellow-Christians because I wasn’t recovering from my 10 year old daughter’s death (10 years ago) in a timely fashion, I am now finally encouraged to grieve freely, even after so many years. Thank you!

  • Amy VanKleeck

    September 18, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Oh… you are SO on the right path. It will be long. It will hurt. I begged not to leave me in the place where I was away from Him. I missed HIm. I was so hurt by Him. ( for me it still hurts, 13 years later) but it is all about learning to rest into his molding hands like nothing else could teach you. This…. this pain, grief and helplessness… is a gift from HIM drawing you to a relationship that we could never have found otherwise. In time you will be amazed if you continue down this path. Our children, who live in Heaven, had such huge jobs to do for such tiny people. I don't know you. But I love you. HE loves you. And, as you heal, one day, you just might be able to find a way to thank Him for trusting you to find such amazing faith.

  • Nikki

    September 18, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    I have struggled, and still struggle in my role as a Christian, and as a human, to understand my purpose driven life. Not my will, but His. When Matt was deployed, I prayed for a safe return, but were my prayers any more devout, any louder than any other wife whose husband didn’t return? Then when our son was born with his congenital heart defect, I prayed endlessly, and today our son is thriving…but I see so many who are not or who have lost their battle. What if, as you say, prayer is more for our relationship with Him than to change our circumstances? I admire your devotion and faith.

  • Suzie Visser Klander

    September 18, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps. —Proverbs 16:9
    Wow! This was the Daily Bread's devotion for today. I think this is what you are talking about. The example was of a young lady who wanted to become a medical missionary, instead she spends a good part of her life in a hospital with several serious ailments and her life became a mission field in hospitals.

  • Jen

    September 18, 2013 at 8:23 am

    I dont understand either why things happen the way they do, but I do know that God is God no matter what. Diana, You are a very strong woman and I appreciate you being so open with what has happened. Its hard, and it may get harder, but God is in control – stand on HIS word and he will pull you through. many hugs!

  • Helen Singh

    September 18, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    I think the examples of suffering in the bible, ie Job give us a small glimpse behind the curtain of this world to see that our reaction to suffering in this life affects the heavenly realms in a way we can't even begin to understand. The question that Satan put to God was, 'will Job still want/trust/worship you when the good things are taken away?. Does he love you through the storm, or only because of the good things you give him?'. Its SO hard to trust when those things we want so much are taken away but this is where the rubber hits the road, will we still trust God for our ultimate good when everything around is dark?. I know you will see Kaden, Preston and Julian again and you WILL spend eternity with them. It says in the book of 2 Timothy 'For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day'.
    God bless you.

  • Sharyn Cunnea Davis

    September 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I know you don't know me, but I follow your posts. You are evolving. Your faith is what will sustain you through your grief and transform you for HIS will. Eventually, you will realize that you have grown in many ways, love, understanding, empathy, kindness, faith. I know it doesn't lesson the pain you are feeling now, but that pain is the foundation for your future. Fall back on this faith. Let it comfort you. Even though you do not know me, I think of you and wish I could ease your confusion and help the hurt you feel. You have many friends in blog land.
    Begin to look around for someone in need, no matter how small.
    Take care my friend.

  • Gina Perna

    September 18, 2013 at 7:48 am

    I feel your pain and struggle, Diana. You are not alone, nor am I. Please know that a stranger, who shares the same frustration and wonder, is holding you up in thought, prayer, and heart. Take care.

  • Maria

    September 18, 2013 at 7:36 am

    I prayed for you during your pregnancy, and while I asked God to wrap his arms around your family. I was so hesitant to “ask” for anything but Kaden’s safety. I was being really stubborn and finally prayed for comfort for you, no matter the outcome. There was a whole lot of anger involved. Not because my prayers went unanswered, but because of a whole lot of “whys.” Why you, why Kaden, why again? Someday it will all make sense, and all the suffering will be like the blink of an eye.

  • Tara

    September 18, 2013 at 7:33 am

    I have had so many of these thoughts. I can relate in so many ways. Thank you for sharing your raw honest thoughts and heart. It’s so good to know we aren’t walking through this life alone!

  • Marisa Toomey

    September 18, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Beautiful words! I so appreciate your raw honesty. This post made me look at a season that I’m going through in a different light. Thank you!

  • Diane

    September 18, 2013 at 7:15 am

    I’ve been struggling to understand how God works in tragic situations. And just a few minutes ago, a 27 year old friend who has been battling breast cancer and brain and spinal tumors, posted that despite her latest news not being good in the slightest, she knows that God is still here. Even though she’s prayed unceasingly for God to heal her, and more tumors are being found, she KNOWS God is still here. Her faith has been inspiring and while I still can’t seem to understand these terrible situations, I know she is right. As you grieve, know that you are covered in prayers and we are fighting for you.

  • dmpfromri

    September 18, 2013 at 7:02 am

    I too struggle with my faith and following God’s plan. I too am a grieving mother who lost her only child ( my son Jonathan was 24) and keeps looking for answers as to why this happened. Trusting God’s plan is sometimes an hourly choice for me. But I am trying to find joy – trying to choose joy when I can, trying to live my life with no regrets. I am praying for you Diana, as I pray for all the gireving mothers who must live with this burden every single day – my heros!

  • Mandy Ford

    September 18, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    I've been struggling with prayer for a month or so now…first from your situation, and more recently from another loss of a young life. This helps me see it in an entirely new way and gives me hope, so thank you. I'm continually amazed by your perspective and faith.

  • Grace F.

    September 18, 2013 at 6:45 am

    My husband’s aunt once told me that she regrets not praying for her son the morning he got into a car accident, as if her prayer would have saved his life. This was more than 30 years ago, and she still lives with this guilt. I do not believe I serve a God whose actions hinge upon my prayer in this way. I don’t believe her inaction to pray one prayer meant her son was not spared.

    I know what scripture says; I know it says that our faith can move mountains and that our prayers will not return void. But, in the last few years, I have come to believe exactly what you said: “What if prayer is more for our relationship with Him than to change our circumstances?” And that doesn’t mean I have any less faith, or that I don’t believe in miracles.

    1. Rebecca

      September 19, 2013 at 9:31 pm

      Amen! Totally agree.

  • The Park Wife

    September 18, 2013 at 6:38 am

    Beautiful, amazing insight. Thank you for sharing your heart, I am praying for your strength daily in choosing.

  • Valarrie

    September 18, 2013 at 6:21 am

    What a powerful and profound post. Thank you for sharing your heart amidst your grief. I don’t know you but I love you sister <3

  • Toni Carpenter

    September 18, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    The pure truth that shines from this post is nothing less than a sermon.
    You are a blessing.

  • Sunday T

    September 18, 2013 at 6:15 am

    This reminds me of the song “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns. It is so hard to understand why Kaden couldn’t stay with you, but I believe God is still beside you, crying with you. Still praying for you and your family.

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