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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Is "I Don't Know" a Good Enough Answer?

I sat the with a couple as they held a newborn baby in their hands. They had waited for this child for months. They weren't physically able to have children. They had found the child's mother months before and had an agreement with her that they would adopt the child. Her life had not been pretty. Drugs, promiscuity and lack of direction had gotten her in this condition. She was very young and without much support to raise a child. Adoption seemed like a logical option.

Everything looked like an answer from God on the surface. . . but that's the surface. The child did not have a large portion of her brain. Her heart had only two valves.  There were other medical problems. She wasn't expected to live more than a couple of hours. This couple held the child with great care. I watched their hearts break for this little one who would be with us for only a few hours.

We prayed and I thought, "Why, why, why God?" Surely this child was not conceived under the best circumstances but I felt sure that this couple would raise her with love. I felt this child would fill a hole in this couple's life. Now, it seemed that the hole had just gotten bigger.

Why does this happen? I don't know. Is that answer good enough? I don't know. Its the only answer I have. 

I know that God loves us all. He doesn't love this child any less. I don't think the child's condition was punishment for the physical parent's lifestyle. The drug may have been the reason but it wasn't God's punishment.

Have you ever had those moments when you knew God was so close that you could speak to Him and almost hear Him audibly? Then, there are those times that you cry out and you only hear your own voice echo . . . after that, its just silence.

I have heard that God gives silence to those whom He can trust. I suppose that is where faith comes in.  I have to keep believing during the silence.

When asked why bad things happen to good people my answer is consistent: I don't know. Is that good enough? I don't know. Its still the only answer I have.


Tracey said...

Thanks Prentis.

Mule Skinner said...

"I don't know" might be a very good answer.

In the absence of direct revelation (much rarer than many claim) we usually do not know. We can only know the character of the One who does know.

Even Job was never told of the scene in heaven in chapters one and two.

Mule Skinner said...

And I am reminded of a hymn which contains the following verse and refrain:

I know not what of good or ill
May be reserved for me,
Of weary ways or golden days,
Before His face I see.

But I know Whom I have believ├Ęd,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.

The hymn writer thought it sufficient to know the "Who" even though he did not know the "Why".

Owensthom said...

I'm reminded of the opening scene of the story when Jesus heals the blind beggar and the disciples want to know who sinned to cause this man's condition and Jesus replied that neither the parents nor the man sinned to cause his blindness but that he was born that way so that God's glory could be revealed. (John 9: 1-3)

The disciples had the advantage of Jesus being physically present. They got to see an example of God's mercy and grace manifest there right in front of them as a teaching point. We have to accept on faith that God's glory will be revealed in someone's life as a result of the brief life of the young child in Prentis' story.

John tells us that the young man's answer was the same: "I don't know." I don't know who this person is, I don't know where he's from, I don't know if he is from God or not - I just know that I can see. He focused on God's glory revealed, not on what he did not know. The point I take from this story and Prentis' post is that I don't know either, but that I don't have to know to trust God.

BandedFromRecess said...

Hi, I'm not sure how I got here, (your Blog) but I am glad to be here. Saying, I don't know." is giving an honest answer. It keeps a person from putting their foot in their mouth, just in case there is a follow-up question. Sarah Palin could have stopped the bleeding at any time, if she would have just said, "I don't know."