I still have nights where I wrestle with my reality. Almost three years later it hits, as the air grows cooler and pumpkins reappear. Those are the nights of no sleep, and thankfully they are growing fewer and farther between... In the beginning it was every night.
Sometimes as a Christian there are simply no easy answers to tragedy. I struggled with the plan... it didn't feel right that a loving God could choose for this happen. And then I struggled with it simply being a result of random dumb luck in a fallen world. And after wrestling with God, I came to a conclusion. If I believe that there is a God that has grace and is bigger than me, I have to submit.
If you know me, submitting isn't really easy. This stubbornness has allowed me to succeed when I should not and survive when Perry died. Far from a complete fault, I believe there is a reason that I have it, but it is so hard to let go of the reins.
By submitting, I don't mean putting on the face that I do not hurt, I mean to say that I feel that I need to accept that either way that it was part of a larger intricate plan or a piece of what God has allowed by free will. I need to stop wrestling with the why because I may never know here. And either God is who we believe him to be or I am right (Perry should be here regardless) and his will is ultimately wrong
Job didn't know why he lost his children, only as a reader are you allowed to glimpse. He questioned God, and while he didn't receive an answer he received the answer- who God was, and that was enough. I don't know how this all works... and in reality I think part of the lesson of Job is that we don't know. Jobs friends quoted scriptures and yet they were wrong. Perhaps even as others try to give us a reason, perhaps we are equally wrong to waste our energy battering the walls of our mind for an answer that we are not given to know.
I have been struck a lot that as a Christian we aren't really taught how to deal with tragedy beyond the superficial anymore, we are taught that admitting hurt is wrong because we aren't serving as some sort of beacon to the world. But honestly, many churches focus on health and wealth now and take a single scripture to create entire religions. (And hence God answers all prayers the way we want and either you aren't faithful enough or are weak. You know the ask and you will receive scripture that is constantly quoted in every tough circumstances and then placed quietly away when the tears come anyway.). And when Job's friends used a single scripture in all contexts it was not correct then.
I have been struck more and more lately by the old hymns. They talked about suffering and you weren't faithless because of it, but talked about heaven and submission. There are many examples of faithful Christians that suffered even though we tend to focus on the Lazarus's. And you know what? The suffering and submission seem to sometimes go hand in hand, and it isn't really 'popular' today to talk about, no matter how necessary to learn.
I have done my multiple Lazarus prayers. I have driven by so many times thinking if I just have more faith this one time, the outcome will be different and there will be a little boy waiting for me by his grave. In my mind he ages, and should be a sweet faced three year old standing there or perhaps playing with the seashells as he waits for me.
I have asked why God seems silent, and I simply think that the answer is that in the midst of suffering sometimes we aren't ready to hear him. I believe we are not abandoned, but the quiet is difficult sometimes. I have asked many times why I did not receive my Lazarus miracle and why I do not today.
And in my search I have read the scriptures and one day past the Lazarus miracle I read on. I read on to where Jesus suffered... and even as the masses were drawn to him by Lazarus miracle, some were already plotting. And the plotting extended to Lazarus- to kill him and remove the evidence of who Jesus was. Sometimes then perhaps the real miracle would cause people to move against what they do not understand. We seem to accept our miracles today only as bordering on good medicine or on at least the explanation of science. If Perry were brought back, when there could be no denial that Perry was dead, would they even allow me to keep him, or tear us apart thinking that there were no way he could be my son? Would they seek to kill him and keep him in his grave? Or, worse yet, believe and simply remove him from me forever to meet whatever fate a human experiment would meet in the name of the betterment of mankind? Do miracles require some sort of ability to choose an alternate explanation and thereby grow people in exercising faith (in choosing that it is God's hands versus being undeniably told?). I don't know.
But as a Christian I can choose to believe that there is a God or as a skeptic that there is not. I choose to believe that Perry was more than random chance and that we are more than simply the universe becoming conscious of itself. And that calls for an acceptance of something greater than myself, a putting away of childish things (everything my way), and a submission.
I know that I will battle that guilt and that questioning of my faith- that desire to continue to pray and fighting the urge to drive by once again. I recognize that my continuing desire to have my son is both a strength of will and a sign of weakness all at once. But it is who I am, and perhaps with time I can keep the desire from anger at what my life is, stop striving, and simply submit. Set that burden down and finish my race.