Answers are few in fragile times.

 Answers are few in fragile times.

I walk up to the register with four sympathy cards in hand, each meant for a different person and loss. The cashier asks me what all good cashiers ask—did you find everything you were looking for? I tell him yes (does anyone answer otherwise?) as he totals the purchase. He hands me the receipt and plastic bag, finishing his routine with a warm "come again." I know I will because bookstores are my oxygen, but I hope for a return under other circumstances. Not one involving death.

But pain is pummeling into those I love. All at once? I don't get it. I speak with a friend this morning who has experienced another tragedy. These are fragile times. Treading in pools of sorrow suddenly turns familiar, and it hurts.

-

There's another problem with my health, so before bed, I scour Google's results for answers. The quest for healing resembles an addiction and before you know it, it's 5 am and I'm exhausted from riding on fear through the night. I close both the laptop and my eyes at last, unable to find what I was searching for.

Counselors say there are multiple stages of grief, with denial being one of the first. Each addition to my list of symptoms is a loss. I make good movement emotionally, then I'll notice another ailment and end up in denial all over again. I have a disease (several, actually), and sometimes loss will come quicker than progress. Strength and hair and memory are not promises. Can I not accept this reality in bulk? Will I have to unravel with every change? 

-

I've been asking God lots of questions. Partly because I'm curious, mainly because I'm disappointed. The last 14 months in my life have appeared small and inconsequential. I used to be useful—what happened? Why is He keeping this disease in my body? Doesn't He know what I would do if I was healthy and whole?

There are families hurting, and I want to help. I hope to serve children who have special needs. I hope to work hard, giving money and resources away. I hope to move to Japan and help plant churches. I hope to do this and that for a greater good, but I fear I can't unless I'm well.

So if I'm never healed, then what? 

The splinters in my theology and identity are being exposed. I'm in this new place, a low place, where I see sprawled before me my failed attempts and crumbled relationships and unbiblical perspectives and storage of pride, and, and—I'm not at all who I thought I was. It's terrifying to be made aware of my shortcomings like this. I made myself the savior of the narrative and now I'm here, pressed to the ground and empty-handed.

I'm shocked by how little I've trusted Jesus, the God-man who knows suffering best. How does He respond to the tragedies we face? 

-

I have an afternoon to myself, and I'm tempted to numb with Netflix but I cry out to God instead. I wonder why He would still want to love me and love others through me. I've lost sight so many times and I know so little. In my foolishness, doubt, brokenness, and disease, why does God remain? I don't know what He's shaping through the losses in my life or those around me, but this is my prayer:

God, may You be all we ever go searching for.
And let us weep with those who weep today, just as You do for us. 
Amen.