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If you have a sense that God loves you, how do you perceive that?


Quill
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1 hour ago, Quill said:

Yes, and of course, that gets into the major theological questions which smarter people than I have argued for centuries, so no point beating a dead horse. But there’s unresolvable conundrum (or would it be “conundra” in the plural?) there. It’s that whole question: if he cares but can’t make a different outcome, he is not omnipotent. If he could change the outcome but chooses not to, he is not omnibenevolent. If he could and would change the outcome but didn’t know it would happen, he is not omniscient. So round and round the carousel goes. It’s too confusing. 

I think the assumption we make is that our suffering, our pain, our grief could not possibly be for our good or for any good. In other words, we assume that experiencing pain and suffering means God is not being good, as you say above. I don't claim to know your pain in any way, so I can only reference my own in this regard.

When my then-fiancee, now husband went off to war (which at that point in time was an unknown quantity and something that sprang up rather suddenly in the wake of 9/11) I told God that if he let my love die, then I didn't see how I could trust Him anymore with anything. It seems so silly to me now to type that out, but I actually told the God that I believed in that I would no longer believe in Him if my fiancee died in a war. He lived, we got married, and life went on. I actually forgot about that little conversation with God for a long time.

Since that time, I've had a lot of influences on my faith that moved me away from my non-denominational Bible church background, precisely because I thought they didn't have good answers to a lot of tough questions that kept popping up in my life, specifically about God's goodness and sovereignty when bad things happened. So when my husband got Really Sick a few years ago, I had to reckon with a lot of things that I had learned to be true over the past decade but had never been tested. God is good, even when things are hard. God is good even when things are bad. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. The only thing I could cling to in those moments of desperate pleading with God to keep DH around for some more years was Romans 8:28, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Like a PP said, I decided to trust him with anything and everything that would happen, even the worst, because there is no other definition of Good that I can find to trust, if not the creator of the universe who redeemed us all through Christ. I know that in the darkest of times, He is working toward a purpose that shows his love and his Glory. Maybe that purpose is that now I can counsel people with sick spouses a little bit better. Maybe it's that I was able to be strong for my children when this was happening and show them that love never fails even and especially during hard times. Maybe it's that I appreciate my husband more than I ever did and we have a stronger marriage now. Maybe it's something that I will never know about here on this earth and I have to be content with just sitting with my near-miss with grief. But any of the good that comes out of a thing like that is a small glimpse, to me, of the ultimate redemption of creation and humanity that is yet to come.

I should say, of course, that my DH is alive and kicking right now, so I was spared a lot of grief. I tell people that I felt the slightest brush of grief as it passed us by.  And in reality, my wrestling with my faith when DH was sick was a lot more complex than what I can type in a post on a message board. I think I walked around with some form of anxiety or mild ptsd for a long while, even after he got better. All I have come to know is that if there is a god, a being that created all of us and exists outside of human knowledge and experience, and if there is badness in the world that I have to deal with and live with and feel, the only way I can reconcile those things is that God is authoring a great story of redemption, redemption that is promised to us all, that will be far better than anything we can imagine and will eclipse any of our pain felt here on earth. Otherwise, the pain and suffering I feel in the now is ultimately pointless and for nothing. And whether it's a cop out or a crutch or whatever anyone else wants to call it, I simply can't believe that to be true. I believe that He is there, He does care, and some of His greatest blessings are in hardship and suffering because that is the focal point of all history, suffering as the greatest good anyone could do for another. To get back to the question in the OP, it's not something I feel or perceive, it's something I know, I believe, probably for supernatural reasons like the Holy Spirit, but also because I've philosophically and logically reasoned out what I think to be true about life in general.

Anyway, sorry if this is incoherent. I have wicked insomnia tonight.

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Yes, during worship and Scripture reading there's the intellectual knowledge of God loving me, but the actual experiential time is in life's circumstances, both at times when He intervenes and even when He doesn't and instead sends the Comforter during hard times.

When I was in early labor with my middle daughter and the placenta started tearing off like we thought it might, then my left fallopian tube spontaneously ruptured,(we didn't know it at the time) my brain was, of course, counting the minutes to her brain damage and death and was overwhelmed with the agony of bleeding into muscle (way more painful than unmedicated labor and transition.) I had to lie perfectly still while they prepped me for emergency surgery (by far the hardest physical thing I've ever done) and while my brain wanted to focus on time, practical details, and unbelievable pain, I felt complete peace and love and the verse, "Be still and know that I am God" pulled my attention back to God's love for me because the Comforter that Jesus promised to send was there with me.  I expected we would die then.  The medical staff expected her to die any second and me to die within a few minutes and they kept telling me they knew how much it hurt (Ha! Not even close.) but that I shouldn't move at all while they got me ready.

But in all that pain I was completely loved and comforted and at peace whichever way God decided to go on that.  I looked at my terrified husband and thought joyfully, "It's ok.  Don't be sad, I have to go now." I experienced it standing at the left side of the operating table looking at him on the other side of the doors, but of course I was lying down being prepped for surgery.  I felt complete and total love and peace.  Then the Comforter left, I thought, "Wait, you're not taking me with you!?" then I was on the table asking them to hurry and was given as much general anesthetic as they could to knock me out right away that the doctor warned my husband could make me very afraid of him as I came to. They cut me open,  the placenta popped out, they yanked her out, started breathing for her, and she was fine. No brain damage, no organ damage. They saw that my fallopian tube had ruptured and later the doctor said it wasn't medically possible for me to live through 2 simultaneous fatal bleeds like that. They called her the miracle baby because she should've had some sort of brain damage but didn't.  Knowing God loves me means being completely at peace with dying or living, whichever He decides.

Not that God always intervenes when people who love Him ask.  I had a difficult childhood, but looking back now I understand why.  Seeing something of what I've had to deal with in adulthood, I can see that my childhood was boot camp.  Sometimes the best preparation for very difficult painful circumstances is living through very difficult painful circumstances to shape your inner fortitude and give you the perspective you'll need. If I had had a pleasant childhood I would've been without the essential experiential understanding I needed. Yes, I do feel loved by that.

Sometimes, it's in smaller things, like when we had financial problems my husband refused to see even thought I explained the problem clearly for several years, then I decided to stop explaining and asked God to handle it. Less than a week later the spouse of a friend I hadn't seen in a decade called and told us he started doing financial planning and offered us a free assessment.  My husband agreed and was finally able to see it and then take advice about making changes.  Yeah, God loves me.  It was painful making the changes, but I felt very loved.

As a teen, a friend of mine and I were locked out of her car when went shopping.  We realized the keys were locked in the car, I prayed out loud, "God, what we need is a car thief." I hadn't uttered the words 30 seconds earlier when someone else pulled into the parking lot started using that tool you put in the window to unlock it on a car.  I don't know if it was his car or not, but we asked if we could use it and we did. 

 I rented a car and went to fill it up for the first time, but didn't know how because I had never seen or heard of the lever for the fuel door on the floor between the driver's seat and the door.  I prayed, "It's 110+, I'm out of gas, there's no one else here to ask, and I have two little kids strapped in the car and no idea what to do.  Please help me."  I had just finished praying it and the identical car (purple station wagon) pulled up behind me.  I asked the driver. Yes, my God hears me.

I was driving to my in-laws' and was going through a construction area.  I saw a work truck next to the road where houses were being built pull up to the road, wait for a gap in traffic, then pull onto the road.  There was a very large cement mixer driving up to take it's place as I was getting to that part of the road.  I had the right of way.  I thought it was going to stop like it should, but it didn't, it kept going.  As it was registering in my head it wasn't slowing down and stopping, my gas pedal fell to the floor making me go really fast to just miss being hit.  I didn't accelerate by pushing it down, I'm telling you the gas pedal fell to the floor without me applying any pressure because my brain was still processing the information, it didn't have time to react.  It wasn't me. After that the gas pedal was normal and never fell to the floor under my feet again. 

I was driving to my parents' house down the major road. I was signaling and slowing down to turn left across the canal bridge onto their road.  I looked in my rear view mirrors and saw a red sports car following  behind me.  Then I was no longer in linear time and watched, like watching a movie, the red sports car dart to the left of me and speed past me right where I was going to turn left.  Then I was back in linear time and slowed down to a full stop and braked and the red car did exactly what I had just seen.  If I had turned assuming that person was going to continue to follow the traffic rules, I would've been hit.

Sometimes it's big things. Oldest daughter's friend, 17 year old girl, was bragging through text about being out of town in a cabin in the woods with her 20 year old boyfriend and his friends doing a lot of drugs and drinking heavily.  Oldest was very afraid for her friend's safety, so we told her mother.  Her mother had had a severe brain injury years before and couldn't think normally and minimized the risk and refused to talk to her ex-husband, who I wanted her to contact. We decided to contact the friend's father and step-mom on our own, but I couldn't remember his last name and he's a cop with immigration, so he's not listed anyway . Oldest had been to his house once, several years before at night for about 3 minutes to drop the friend off. It's a PHX neighborhood where all the houses are identical and there are hundreds of them in each neighborhood.  She thought she remembered which neighborhood.  So we got in the car and drove there and I prayed silently for help.  The one person outside (a hot day in PHX, no one is outside then) knew who we were looking for and showed us the house down the street.  The step-mom was home and we able to call the father, he called the daughter and convinced her to leave with the boyfriend, then he had local law enforcement raid the place.  I felt loved by that too. 

My husband and I went through a seriously bad rough patch for about a decade.  At its worst he finally agreed to go to marriage counseling, which is tricky when spouse is a believer and the other has walked away from the faith years before.  I told him to pick a counselor and I would go, even though a secular counselor might not quite get my perspective on things.  The person he picked was exactly the kind I wanted.  I couldn't have written a better wish list for her.  So I felt loved that God sent us to someone I was perfectly comfortable with.  She told us she didn't see any way the marriage could work out because there wasn't a way it could with the people involved.  I appreciated her candor.  So I prayed about it and over the next couple of years God worked it out.  It wasn't according to my wish list at all, but there has been a genuine peace and lots of rebuilding that hasn't been our own by doing anything different, He just made things workable for us.  It's all Him and I feel very loved by Him doing that for me. 

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4 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

I didn’t mean that feelings were inherently evil, but that biblical truth is what we should base our understanding of God upon, and not feelings.  They’re fickle, easy to manipulate, and quite frankly unreliable.  The character of God and the promises in scripture are where we derive peace, not based on how we are feeling in a given day.  

 

And no, none of our preachers are angry men professing that from the pulpit.  You weren’t understanding what I was getting at. 

You said feelings are crap.  Crap is a synonym for excrement.  Just because we don't base our understanding of God on feelings does not mean feelings crap. Many emotions are reliable.  Love between mother and child are very consistently reliable with a few exceptions.  That doesn't make them crap.  And just because feelings can be manipulated doesn't make feelings crap. And there are experiences with God (including regeneration and being rescued by Him in different situations) that can build our feelings of love and gratitude with God that are not crap, but rather are valid in addition to the truths of Scripture as long as they're compatible with Scripture.  You should retract your crap statement because it's wrong.

There's a huge problem in many branches of evangelicalism with this.  As a matter of fact, one of my pastors asked me for some feedback on improving his sermons and this is one thing I pointed out, not that he was one of the pastors who equate emotions to crap, but the conspicuous absence of him not acknowledging the rightness of emotion in worship of and relationship with God which is done all throughout scripture. He has since made a serious effort to rectify that because he does see how much damage the constant attack on emotions in the church does to emotive personality types. I've read articles about this problem from their perspective.

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  • When I was in early labor with my middle daughter and the placenta started tearing off like we thought it might, then my left fallopian tube spontaneously ruptured,(we didn't know it at the time) my brain was, of course, counting the minutes to her brain damage and death and was overwhelmed with the agony of bleeding into muscle (way more painful than unmedicated labor and transition.) I had to lie perfectly still while they prepped me for emergency surgery (by far the hardest physical thing I've ever done) and while my brain wanted to focus on time, practical details, and unbelievable pain, I felt complete peace and love and the verse, "Be still and know that I am God" pulled my attention back to God's love for me because the Comforter that Jesus promised to send was there with me.  I expected we would die then.  The medical staff expected her to die any second and me to die within a few minutes and they kept telling me they knew how much it hurt (Ha! Not even close.) but that I shouldn't move at all while they got me ready.

See, this is where it gets tricky for me. I had almost the identical experience but with a different outcome, almost the worst possible outcome except that I did not also die. I had a placental abruption in labor, but I was at a birth center, not the hospital,a choice that caused some people to literally blame my baby’s death on me and my stupid, fruity-brained choices. As I was in the ambulance, zooming to the hospital that was 5 minutes away and 10 minutes too far away, I was also at peace. A scripture came unbidden to my mind, one I was not even aware I knew, Isaiah 43:10. “Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” 

My daughter was born in shattering silence. No crying. No hope. “Your baby is dead.” 

I do not think I have a special right to feel God betrayed me, and I know people who have suffered the same heartbreak and worse things who reconciled it better than I ultimately did, even some members of this very board. But I think it is different when the outcome is horrible and unfixable. If you felt God’s love for you because you and your daughter survived and with no brain damage, how might you interpret it if she had died? (It’s rhetorical; you don’t have to answer.) 

For myself, it wasn’t like my daughter died and then I immediately concluded God does not love me. There was much convoluted wrestling for years. I was still “ServantofGod” for at least three more years. But a big difficulty was in my subsequent pregnancy, especially towards the end when things did not look good. I could not pray. After all, I had prayed before and look what God chose for my life? It came to this question: If this baby also dies, can I accept that this is what God has planned for me? The answer was no, I could not accept that. I could not go on praying for children who die on their birth day. 

I do not necessarily think the last word on my faith has been written, or else I presumably would not continue to have anything to do with God. But I don’t think I can ever accept that the baby I prayed for for a long time (through unimpressive fertility), who seemed so much like a miraculous gift of grace, did not get to live outside the womb for so much as one minute, and that it was intended by God for some reason. It’s really just not okay with me. 

I had a weird encounter with a mail hand-delivery guy a few months after Lydia died. My office is on a farm and we get no hand-delivered mail ever. But this day, we did. And for reasons I cannot explain, this charasmatic mail carrier started talking about God and how God saved him from himself. And I don’t remember the context exactly, I think he had lost a business or something like that but he said, “The thing you love more than God? That is the thing He will take from you!” And as he said it, he pointed at me forcefully and it was exactly as though he physically stabbed me in the heart. I literally doubled over and clutched my necklace (birthstone charm for my daughter) and felt physical stabbing pain in my heart. 

I don’t know what this encounter means unless I say it just means a mail-carrier-cum-preacher delivered mail and coincidentally said something that cut me to the bone. I don’t know if this was God telling me I cannot love my children more than I love Him - he is a jealous God, after all - or Not-God trying (succesfully) to obliterate my faith. If it’s the former, I cannot worship a God who kills babies to prove He is more Important. If the later, why was I not protected from this Enemy? 

Let me re-iterate that I know some people do suffer the ultimate and do not lose their faith. And I know that, though my personal story is the worst thing that has happened in my life, I know there are greater tragedies happening all over the world, every day. I don’t mean to say it is impossible to accept what happened, only that it does not appear to be something I personally can accept. 

My girl would turn 15 this Sunday. I accept the tragedy as part of my life, but I still cannot accept that it was somehow good or better than if I were planning a great party right now. The experience made me a better person in some ways but (obviously) worse in others. I just think if that scripture about God not tempting or trying us greater than we are able to bear should have precluded some of the things that happened. 

 

ETA: Sunday, not Saturday. Inconsequential detail, but accurracy would be better. 

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7 hours ago, Liz CA said:

 

What if He could have changed the outcome, knew about it but allowed something else to happen in order to bring about something you may not be able to see in this life? Do you trust (and yes, trust is fragile) enough that He chose the right outcome even though it was painful?

A book by Dr. James Dobson comes to mind: "When God doesn't make sense."

This is what I was thinking.   

I've never experienced a tragedy such as the loss of a child, so I can't say how I would feel about God if it were to happen. 

But regarding God's goodness even in the face of such deaths... a woman I know (met her at church) lost her first 2 babies at birth. Perfect pregnancies, and then they were gone.  After the second one, the medical folk did some more analyzing, researching, etc., and determined how they might prevent a third loss (should there be a third pregnancy).  There was, and it resulted in a  live, healthy baby. That couple went on to have 3 more kids after that, all fine. The doctors learned something from the first two pregnancies that enabled them to put protocols in place for the subsequent pregnancies and there were no more problems.

Of course the family grieved for their lost young ones. But they persevered and continue to trust in God's goodness. I don't know if I could have done that but I admired them so much. And, I don't know this for sure, but it's possible that what the doctors learned from her helped others as well.

I am not familiar with the Dobson book mentioned above, but I did get a lot out of Timothy Keller's book Making Sense of God.  It really helped me with some of my struggles.

(((Quill)))

 

 

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12 hours ago, Quill said:

I just think, How does someone believe God loves them personally? I know people who are very confident of this. There’s even quite a bit of that in the book I mentioned how, gratitude for God’s love for us makes it impossible to simultaneously hang onto anger or contempt for others. I agree with that intellectually, but I don’t have that feeling of “God is so good! He loves us boundlessly! We don’t have to do anything to earn it and we certainly don’t deserve it, but we can receive it anyway!” 

I do see love in action and have been a part of service project, for example, that make me very happy to be a part of. And I know people who have accepted humble service that blows my mind because of the sacrifice it represents, like adopting a profoundly disabled child who will definitely die in childhood. I buried a baby; I cannot imagine volunteering to do so. It’s a beautiful expression of love for humanity. However, I don’t see that as necessarily something a person does because God enables them to do so. Presumably an atheist could also adopt a very ill child. (I don’t personally know one, but I don’t travel in circles heavy with atheists.) 

 

Yes, I can see that.

I would say two things.  One is that for me, the atheist loving is as much a demonstration of the principle of love being a substantial and real principle as a Christian loving.  It doesn't matter if you see a rock fall or a tree, it's still evidence of gravity, right?  That love is what connects and makes us real is the principle here, so it's true for all people, and animals and rocks and stars.  What I see in healthy Christian communities, and some others too, is simply a very reflective and self-aware attempt to be part of that.  THat's the purpose of a lot of the organization and teaching and liturgical and spiritual life of the community.  

As for God loving us individually.  There certainly have been worldview that thought of God as being very unaware of the physical world, or kind of abstracted from it, without any loving or, let's say, intimate, relationship.  I don't know that I think that makes sense.  IF individual things exist, they have their origin in the mind of God.  Their formal reality is derived from and bound to his.  They only continue to exist because that relation is maintained.  So how could it be that even a small thing like an atom isn't known?  To be known by God, and to be existent, is the same as being loved by God.  That's what love is at that level.

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(((Quill)))

I don't know why God allowed that to happen. It wasn't your fault. It wasn't that God didn't love you. I don't think your mail carrier was a messenger from God. There are too many stories of parents grieving children, of Jesus grieving Lazarus, of the Father grieving at the crucifixion for me to believe that God or a loving relationship with Him exempts us from grief. It didn't even exempt Him from grief.  He decided we were worth the grief.  I think this is one of the many injustices of living in a fallen world.

I don't have any answers.  I've struggled with multiple miscarriages. I do believe that when Isaiah 41:10 came to your mind that was a sign that God does love you and is holding you.

I just googled the verse to see if there was something I didn't understand about it, some deeper meaning.  I found this article: Don't Be Dismayed. It almost seems as trite as the horrible things people say at funerals when they don't know what to say, but there is some truth in there too.

 

 

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Sometimes I think that people who say things like that guy did have been prompted by the devil.  THat's maybe magical thinking on my part, but it's a very strong impression nonetheless.  That' not to say that is their intent, or even that they are saying something totally untrue - after all, something totally untrue might not be very convincing.  It may well have been just what the postman needed.  But why does a statement like that appear exactly where it is (not!) needed?  It does almost seem malevolent.

Anyway - this business of there being some greater good that comes out of suffering, even if we don't see it.  Well, sure, God can create good out of bad.  But suffering as an act of God to achieve some outcome - no no no.  I think that's a very unchristian view.  Suffering is a result of the Fall, and all of the fall-out from that - disease, death, unkindness, cruelty, etc, are the playing out of the rift between God and the world.  I think there is a huge difference between saying - God allowed free will in order to preserve a kind of consciousness, and God purposefully inflicted a painful event on someone to get some result like a cure or whatever. It may be that God uses the suffering and bad things to create good outcomes, indeed Scripture refers to this, but again, that seems very different to me.  

There are lots of questions around how that works of course, but I think the idea that God will make something bad happen to achieve some good should be clearly identified as not from a Christian worldview.  

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Quill, your posts here have broken my heart, and I just want you to know that you are not alone in your feelings. As others have testified, there are many of us who struggle with believing and feeling that God loves us. I also find myself often with the same sense that you have, that I am not truly LOVED by anyone, that I wouldn't be missed if I were to disappear. The things I DO might be missed, but not me, personally. I'm just not that special, especially considered apart from the tangible contributions I make into others' lives. I can't see much reason why anyone might care whether I'm here or not, otherwise.

But for me, the question of being loved by God is more a question of what I believe about God than what I believe about myself. And what I believe about God does come from what he has revealed about himself through scripture, and especially through the history recorded there. Understanding how all of scripture, even the most obscure parts of the Old Testament, point us to Christ and his saving work, was a huge turning point for me. God continually makes promises, and then keeps them -- not often in the way we would expect, but he keeps them. And so I gradually have learned to trust that when God says he loves me, he is telling the truth.

I think Katie is onto something when she suggests looking into other expressions of Christianity. The evangelical church did much more to harm my faith than to help it, mostly because of its perpetual focus on ME. There was always a sense that God loved me for what I did for him -- which came as no surprise, because, as I said above, this is how I experience love from other people. So when I was a "good girl" (and I was almost always a "good girl"), God loved me and things would go well for me. When things went wrong, it was because I had done something wrong. Even though my church would affirm that God's love is unconditional and that my salvation was by grace through faith and not by works, the functional message was always that God expected and would bless certain temporal decisions, and would punish others.

Let me just say: That's not true. God certainly blesses, because he is good -- he causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. But the bad stuff that happens? WE have brought that on ourselves. Don't misunderstand me: I don't mean that each individual bad thing that happens to you is caused by YOUR individual sin. Sometimes this can be the case. But sometimes, often, the bad stuff is caused simply by the fact that sin exists in the world, and as a human race, we have let it in. But this isn't God's doing, nor is it what he wants for his creation.

God's love isn't tied to me, what I do or don't do. It isn't tied to my circumstances; whether life is good or bad is no reflection of how God feels about me. God has demonstrated his love in Christ, by taking on flesh and living in this world, and suffering and bleeding and dying in order to reconcile me to himself. And he has promised to restore all things in his own time, and is restoring them -- a promise I trust him to keep in full because he has kept the others he's made. God's love for me just IS. It existed before the world was created, and it has endured to this day. That's because love is who God is.

One of the things that was seriously lacking for me as an evangelical was any understanding of the sacraments. Finally understanding baptism and the Lord's Supper as gifts God has given TO us in order to apply his grace and love to us each individually (as opposed to my old evangelical understanding of them as something I was doing FOR God, to show my devotion) helped me at last to be at peace with God's love FOR ME as an ontological reality. A branch of Christianity that recognizes this, and places its focus on what God has done FOR YOU in Christ, rather than what God expects of you as his follower, might be of comfort to you. 

I wish you peace and rest in your journey.

 

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4 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

Sometimes I think that people who say things like that guy did have been prompted by the devil.  THat's maybe magical thinking on my part, but it's a very strong impression nonetheless.  That' not to say that is their intent, or even that they are saying something totally untrue - after all, something totally untrue might not be very convincing.  It may well have been just what the postman needed.  But why does a statement like that appear exactly where it is (not!) needed?  It does almost seem malevolent.

Anyway - this business of there being some greater good that comes out of suffering, even if we don't see it.  Well, sure, God can create good out of bad.  But suffering as an act of God to achieve some outcome - no no no.  I think that's a very unchristian view.  Suffering is a result of the Fall, and all of the fall-out from that - disease, death, unkindness, cruelty, etc, are the playing out of the rift between God and the world.  I think there is a huge difference between saying - God allowed free will in order to preserve a kind of consciousness, and God purposefully inflicted a painful event on someone to get some result like a cure or whatever. It may be that God uses the suffering and bad things to create good outcomes, indeed Scripture refers to this, but again, that seems very different to me.  

There are lots of questions around how that works of course, but I think the idea that God will make something bad happen to achieve some good should be clearly identified as not from a Christian worldview.  

 

Great post.

I do think that this business of God purposely inflicting pain can get very tricky for a great number of xians, particularly when studying the OT. I know that it is always hotly debated in the adult Sunday School class.

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3 minutes ago, 8circles said:

 

Great post.

I do think that this business of God purposely inflicting pain can get very tricky for a great number of xians, particularly when studying the OT. I know that it is always hotly debated in the adult Sunday School class.

 

Yes, it really does.  I think part of it is a poor understanding of where the OT fits into a Christian reading of Scripture.  And this again is something I see a fair bit in evangelical circles, very little emphasis on how to filter different parts of the Scriptures, they tend to be treated all the same.

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2 minutes ago, Bluegoat said:

 

Yes, it really does.  I think part of it is a poor understanding of where the OT fits into a Christian reading of Scripture.  And this again is something I see a fair bit in evangelical circles, very little emphasis on how to filter different parts of the Scriptures, they tend to be treated all the same.

For sure. Unfortunately, it has also affected non-Evangelical circles (I don't attend an Evangelical church). I find it extremely frustrating.

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9 minutes ago, PeachyDoodle said:

Quill, your posts here have broken my heart, and I just want you to know that you are not alone in your feelings. As others have testified, there are many of us who struggle with believing and feeling that God loves us. I also find myself often with the same sense that you have, that I am not truly LOVED by anyone, that I wouldn't be missed if I were to disappear. The things I DO might be missed, but not me, personally. I'm just not that special, especially considered apart from the tangible contributions I make into others' lives. I can't see much reason why anyone might care whether I'm here or not, otherwise.

But for me, the question of being loved by God is more a question of what I believe about God than what I believe about myself. And what I believe about God does come from what he has revealed about himself through scripture, and especially through the history recorded there. Understanding how all of scripture, even the most obscure parts of the Old Testament, point us to Christ and his saving work, was a huge turning point for me. God continually makes promises, and then keeps them -- not often in the way we would expect, but he keeps them. And so I gradually have learned to trust that when God says he loves me, he is telling the truth.

I think Katie is onto something when she suggests looking into other expressions of Christianity. The evangelical church did much more to harm my faith than to help it, mostly because of its perpetual focus on ME. There was always a sense that God loved me for what I did for him -- which came as no surprise, because, as I said above, this is how I experience love from other people. So when I was a "good girl" (and I was almost always a "good girl"), God loved me and things would go well for me. When things went wrong, it was because I had done something wrong. Even though my church would affirm that God's love is unconditional and that my salvation was by grace through faith and not by works, the functional message was always that God expected and would bless certain temporal decisions, and would punish others.

Let me just say: That's not true. God certainly blesses, because he is good -- he causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. But the bad stuff that happens? WE have brought that on ourselves. Don't misunderstand me: I don't mean that each individual bad thing that happens to you is caused by YOUR individual sin. Sometimes this can be the case. But sometimes, often, the bad stuff is caused simply by the fact that sin exists in the world, and as a human race, we have let it in. But this isn't God's doing, nor is it what he wants for his creation.

God's love isn't tied to me, what I do or don't do. It isn't tied to my circumstances; whether life is good or bad is no reflection of how God feels about me. God has demonstrated his love in Christ, by taking on flesh and living in this world, and suffering and bleeding and dying in order to reconcile me to himself. And he has promised to restore all things in his own time, and is restoring them -- a promise I trust him to keep in full because he has kept the others he's made. God's love for me just IS. It existed before the world was created, and it has endured to this day. That's because love is who God is.

One of the things that was seriously lacking for me as an evangelical was any understanding of the sacraments. Finally understanding baptism and the Lord's Supper as gifts God has given TO us in order to apply his grace and love to us each individually (as opposed to my old evangelical understanding of them as something I was doing FOR God, to show my devotion) helped me at last to be at peace with God's love FOR ME as an ontological reality. A branch of Christianity that recognizes this, and places its focus on what God has done FOR YOU in Christ, rather than what God expects of you as his follower, might be of comfort to you. 

I wish you peace and rest in your journey.

 

 

Your post made me think of the beginning of one of the important prayers in the eucharistic liturgy in my tradition:

BLESSING and glory and thanksgiving be unto thee Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of thy tender mercy didst give thine only Son Jesus Christ to take our nature upon him, and to suffer death upon the Cross for our redemption; who made there, by his one oblation of himself once offered, a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction, for the sins of the whole world; and did institute, and in his holy Gospel command us to continue, a perpetual memorial of that his precious death, until his coming again.

It's really not about what we've done or not done - God acts for us all, as pure gift - we just have to come to the table, every week if we want.

 

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5 minutes ago, 8circles said:

For sure. Unfortunately, it has also affected non-Evangelical circles (I don't attend an Evangelical church). I find it extremely frustrating.

 

Yes, it reminds me a bit of people thinking going to heaven and being a spirit is what Christians believe is the goal of life.  Except a heck of a lot of Christians, even from very orthodox mainline churches, think that is what is taught too!  I've rarely seen any very explicit teaching about how to look at Scripture in what you might call an organized or hierarchical way, in any church.  I think in liturgical churches, it is at least implicit within the liturgy itself, and the clergy know even if they don't say it, so that helps a bit.

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1 hour ago, Quill said:

I do not necessarily think the last word on my faith has been written, or else I presumably would not continue to have anything to do with God. But I don’t think I can ever accept that the baby I prayed for for a long time (through unimpressive fertility), who seemed so much like a miraculous gift of grace, did not get to live outside the womb for so much as one minute, and that it was intended by God for some reason. It’s really just not okay with me. 

I cannot worship a God who kills babies to prove He is more Important. If the later, why was I not protected from this Enemy? 

 

I do not believe God intended your daughter to die. I don't understand why it happened, but nothing about God makes sense if he wanted babies to die. I believe that this world is broken in ways we do not understand, so that bad, terrible things sometimes happen, and that God grieves when they do. 

He saw his own son suffer, be taunted, be tortured, and die on a cross. Surely he grieved that as well, although it did make the world better. But of course, he got to be with Jesus again right away and we have to wait a very long time (to us) to be reunited with loved ones in heaven. 

Again, i don't understand why God allows awful things to happen, but I am sure it is not out of spite or jealousy, and that his own heart hurts with you. 

There is a section from Night that a priest once read on Good Friday, basically a small child is being hung from the gallows and one person turns to another and says, "Where is your God, when this is happening?" and the person replies, "up there on those gallows". That God sufferer with us when we suffer, just as I suffer when I see my own children suffer. 

I don't know that that will help you at all, but maybe a bit. 

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Also, maybe spend some time exploring other aspects of Christianity, like reading about and meditation on Mary? Sometimes as women that is an easier starting place. (please no anti Catholic attacks anyone). She also watched a child die. She knows grief. She knows struggle. I often find comfort in asking her to pray for me, and feel close to her. When I am at my worst in my parenting I pray a Hail Mary and it helps so very very much. (I also pray the Jesus prayer, no one worry I've put Mary above Jesus). But she is our spiritual mother, and perhaps, if your earthly mother isn't someone you can find comfort in in the ways you wish, looking to Mary might help. It might not, but perhaps worth the exploration for a time. You could even look into the Rosary and the Suffering mysteries, if that would ring true to you right now. 

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And the more I think of this book you started out talking about, th more I think it is utter hogwash. JESUS got frustrated!!!!! God got frustrated!!! They got angry and annoyed and offended! So of course we will feel those things too!!!

A priest once told me, in confession, that "righteous anger is not a sin". I'm pretty sure legitimate frustration or offense are not either. 

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I guess I am thinking after reading all this is that the only way I can reconcile the personal pain and tragedies we face is because of an eternal hope, which is what I think God has given us through Christ. If there was no way out, or if suffering or heartache were pointless with no discernable promises attached, I would have to conclude that it was a cruelty at worst, or meaningless at best. If that's true, then I think I would definitely be angry or despairing a lot of the time. That is the temptation I face with my cynicism. That's not to say those feelings aren't important or that they don't really, really hurt, but that there is an eternity outside of those things that has already been healed and redeemed.

As for God not giving us more than we can handle, I don't think that's true. I don't think the intention is that we, individually, will only be given the things we can bootstrap up and handle on our own and just get past. The verse in 1 Corinthians says that He has given a way for us to bear it. "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." The only thing I can think of that has allowed me to bear any of my deep personal pain in my life is the confidence of an eternal truth of redemption through Christ. That is the way of escape. That is the hope. The hope is not that I somehow could just brute force myself through to a place where things don't hurt anymore, or that the grief isn't very real and awful, but rather that it isn't the ultimate end.

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29 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Also, maybe spend some time exploring other aspects of Christianity, like reading about and meditation on Mary? Sometimes as women that is an easier starting place. (please no anti Catholic attacks anyone). She also watched a child die. She knows grief. She knows struggle. I often find comfort in asking her to pray for me, and feel close to her. When I am at my worst in my parenting I pray a Hail Mary and it helps so very very much. (I also pray the Jesus prayer, no one worry I've put Mary above Jesus). But she is our spiritual mother, and perhaps, if your earthly mother isn't someone you can find comfort in in the ways you wish, looking to Mary might help. It might not, but perhaps worth the exploration for a time. You could even look into the Rosary and the Suffering mysteries, if that would ring true to you right now. 

As an aside, I have found more resonance in non-evangelical forms of Christianity, or in non-Christian systems, but there are some familial reasons I don’t pursue those right now. I ocassionally attend a traditional Lutheran church with my DD and even that makes more sense to me than the church I attend mainly for the sake of DH and my youngest child. DH would not go to an EO or Catholic mass, which is what I would do if I were to do just what I want. So, maybe in the future, but not right now. 

I considered converting to Catholicism at one point, but there are still problems because there are many things I don’t believe that are anti-thetical to conversion and Catholicism is different in that you can’t just decide to be Catholic one day. 

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(((Hugs)))) my belief is that there is a very good reason God allows suffering---which is quite different than believing he causes it.  Remember a 1000 years is a day to God......what feels like endlessness to us is a temporary state to God who promises to undo all the effects of sin in time. 

 

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15 minutes ago, Quill said:

As an aside, I have found more resonance in non-evangelical forms of Christianity, or in non-Christian systems, but there are some familial reasons I don’t pursue those right now. I ocassionally attend a traditional Lutheran church with my DD and even that makes more sense to me than the church I attend mainly for the sake of DH and my youngest child. DH would not go to an EO or Catholic mass, which is what I would do if I were to do just what I want. So, maybe in the future, but not right now. 

I considered converting to Catholicism at one point, but there are still problems because there are many things I don’t believe that are anti-thetical to conversion and Catholicism is different in that you can’t just decide to be Catholic one day. 

I completely understand the logistical/relationship issues around changing to a different type of church.

Would you feel comfortable reaching out to the pastor of the Lutheran church with some of your questions? IME, Lutherans are very understanding and open to discussing these types of things without the judgment or heavy-handedness that can sometimes be seen in other denominations.

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13 hours ago, lmrich said:

Here is my simplified version... Yes. 

I have explained to non-believers or those who are questioning this rationale: 

God is like a great-grandma. Great-grandmas just love you. They usually don't ask about your record card or how you did in the game; you cannot earn their love by doing good stuff. They care about those things if you want to tell them. But they just love you. Just the way you are. The only thing you have to do is love them back and honor them.  (nice to send them a card on Mother's Day). They are always thrilled to see you; they honestly think you are beautiful and wonderful and lovely. As a child, you knew great-grandma loved you. 

 

Probably not a great answer to your question.. but I get what you are saying. Why would the God of the universe care about me, let alone, love me? Because he chooses to. I think, again from my limited knowledge, that God created the world, tried really hard to control the people throughout the Old Testament (a lot like how we treat our children and probably our grandchildren - trying to teach them lessons), and then He realizes we, as people, are kind of a mess. He can either keep trying to control the mess, or He can love us the way we are. The New Testament is His way of saying, I just love you. Stop trying to earn it; start feeling the love. Just like a great-grandma. Accept the love. 

 

Ive been trying to stay out of this thread for lots of reasons but I just have to say that I love your great grandma analogy! It's pretty spot on for me. 

I guess I equate love to acceptance. God accepts me for who I am and meets me where I'm at. 

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30 minutes ago, PeachyDoodle said:

I completely understand the logistical/relationship issues around changing to a different type of church.

Would you feel comfortable reaching out to the pastor of the Lutheran church with some of your questions? IME, Lutherans are very understanding and open to discussing these types of things without the judgment or heavy-handedness that can sometimes be seen in other denominations.

 

I’m sure she would be terrific but I can’t see myself seeking that out. I have laid a lot bare in this thread but IRL? With a human being watching me snivel and sob? Very improbable. 

Besides that, I doubt there is a theological “explanation” I have not heard. I have also read many books, including Dobsons, and also many others. The closest one to really being helpful was by a Catholic priest, but still. Nobody really knows why one baby lives but another dies. It is theological stabbing in the dark. So far, those stabs in the dark have not much helped me. 

 

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10 minutes ago, Quill said:

 

I’m sure she would be terrific but I can’t see myself seeking that out. I have laid a lot bare in this thread but IRL? With a human being watching me snivel and sob? Very improbable. 

Besides that, I doubt there is a theological “explanation” I have not heard. I have also read many books, including Dobsons, and also many others. The closest one to really being helpful was by a Catholic priest, but still. Nobody really knows why one baby lives but another dies. It is theological stabbing in the dark. So far, those stabs in the dark have not much helped me. 

 

I understand. I'd be very unlikely to do so myself. Crying in front of a stranger (er, anybody)? No thanks. I could do it via email, perhaps...

I think you are right that the question of why a good God allows evil to exist is not one that we can answer to our satisfaction. I suppose that's the essence of faith, to trust what God says instead of what we see. 

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I am so so sorry Quill. What a heart breaking tragedy. No wonder why there are trust issues. Sometimes I wonder if people with faith can suffer more than those without. I watched a documentary on campus rapes where they interviewed women who were raped and the universities tried to cover it up. The women who were interviewed were obviously traumatized and angry, but the two women who were religious were shattered. One commited suicided and one could barely talk or function in life. If was as if these women had to deal with both the efffects of the rape and the feelings of betrayal from God. The idea of knowing that God could have stopped something but chose not to is devistating. Like Katie said, I have to believe that at these times God is grieving with us.

Elizabeth Smart wrote a book called "Where There's Hope". She shares her story of how she and many others picked up the pieces after their tragedies. I found it very inspiring. Like Scarlett said, time doesn't mean the same to God as it does to us. I think that means that it is okay for us to take as much time we need to heal and come to terms with our own personal faith and beliefs.

I've read many near death accounts and there are a few common themes. One is that when they pass over they are either greeted by Jesus or a group of loved ones. The ones who died felt totally and completely loved. They also felt a complete acceptance. The things that troubled them in life were not troubling to them when they died. The message I glean from their experiences is that love and peace are there for us. Life is just really messy and sad and hard and can get in the way of us feeling it.  Keep praying!  Even if it's as simple as "God why?" or "God help!" or even "God, how could you?". I find sincere prayer to be one of the most powerful tools in my life to finding the connection and peace that I crave.

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4 hours ago, Quill said:

For myself, it wasn’t like my daughter died and then I immediately concluded God does not love me. There was much convoluted wrestling for years. I was still “ServantofGod” for at least three more years. But a big difficulty was in my subsequent pregnancy, especially towards the end when things did not look good. I could not pray. After all, I had prayed before and look what God chose for my life? It came to this question: If this baby also dies, can I accept that this is what God has planned for me? The answer was no, I could not accept that. I could not go on praying for children who die on their birth day. 

My girl would turn 15 this Sunday. I accept the tragedy as part of my life, but I still cannot accept that it was somehow good or better than if I were planning a great party right now. The experience made me a better person in some ways but (obviously) worse in others. I just think if that scripture about God not tempting or trying us greater than we are able to bear should have precluded some of the things that happened. 

 

 

Aww Quill, you have experienced deep pain and loss and fear of loss with the subsequent pregnancy. These are traumatic experiences. I don't think God is appalled or surprised that your faith is a little fragile or dented. But - if you feel it sometimes, occasionally or never - he tells us that he loves us with all the broken pieces. It sounds as though you feel you have been taken through more than you could handle (reference to this scripture in your post). Perhaps it feels that way because when a person dies there are memories, reminders that come up every year, every holiday, and at other random times and the pain washes over you again and again. I think it may be worse when a baby dies because there are no memories of this girl living, talking, doing something. The loss is almost magnified because of the potential never fulfilled. The thinking of "what could have been" is possibly harder on us than the memories of what has been.

You did say it made you a better person in some ways but perhaps worse in others. You have grown through this horrible experience in spite and because of the pain. We don't always emerge shinier, more whole or more functional on the other end of trauma; sometimes we are just different, more empathetic, more able to feel others' pain, more reflective. 

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1 hour ago, Arctic Mama said:

Gently, there is an answer that isn’t theological stabbing in the dark and grounded completely in scripture, but it isn’t one easy to hear.

 

As an aside, but related, in my own experience God gives us plenty we cannot handle.  He often brings us to the end of ourselves so that we have to cry out “God!  I can’t!”.  And in my experience, that coming to the end of myself and my own strength is when God has worked most powerfully in my heart.  When I am weak, he is strong.  That doesn’t mean I get what my heart desires or that the work of God means I’m receiving love in the way I’d want it for myself, though.

 

I know you have a difficult relationship with scripture, but there is an answer, which I’ll keep to myself unless you PM me and want to discuss further.  Gentle hugs, Quill.  This is terribly painful and difficult, and the ache of that loss won’t go away on this earth. But it isn’t supposed to.  

 

I hope you find answers and peace, and I’m willing to help if you want.  

To the bolded, the relevant scripture is that God will provide a “way out” of the things we cannot bear. Presumably, that would be, say, community or a best friend or whatever that helps to carry us when we cannot make it alone. But I felt like I did not get to have that. There’s a lot of complicated stuff and not stuff I’m willing to blather about here, and I also don’t want to fail to recognize people who did step up and helped us in that very dark time; there were people who helped, it is not that there was no living soul, but there was also bald betrayals from some of my closest friends and family members. It was shocking and I never knew people could be so selfish and cruel and uterly useless in bad weather. Everything from my mom asking me to reimburse her for postage she bought to send out my announcements to my dearest friend instructing me to “really pray” for my subsequent pregnancy to that horrible mail guy saying God takes the things we love. It was like I was bombarded by all the crassness and unhelpfulness that could be heaped on one person while I was praying for that promised “way out” so I wouldn’t go on a full-scale bender. 

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14 minutes ago, Quill said:

To the bolded, the relevant scripture is that God will provide a “way out” of the things we cannot bear. Presumably, that would be, say, community or a best friend or whatever that helps to carry us when we cannot make it alone. But I felt like I did not get to have that. There’s a lot of complicated stuff and not stuff I’m willing to blather about here, and I also don’t want to fail to recognize people who did step up and helped us in that very dark time; there were people who helped, it is not that there was no living soul, but there was also bald betrayals from some of my closest friends and family members. It was shocking and I never knew people could be so selfish and cruel and uterly useless in bad weather. Everything from my mom asking me to reimburse her for postage she bought to send out my announcements to my dearest friend instructing me to “really pray” for my subsequent pregnancy to that horrible mail guy saying God takes the things we love. It was like I was bombarded by all the crassness and unhelpfulness that could be heaped on one person while I was praying for that promised “way out” so I wouldn’t go on a full-scale bender. 

Those things absolutely should not have happened to you. I am so sorry.

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11 minutes ago, Quill said:

To the bolded, the relevant scripture is that God will provide a “way out” of the things we cannot bear. Presumably, that would be, say, community or a best friend or whatever that helps to carry us when we cannot make it alone. But I felt like I did not get to have that. There’s a lot of complicated stuff and not stuff I’m willing to blather about here, and I also don’t want to fail to recognize people who did step up and helped us in that very dark time; there were people who helped, it is not that there was no living soul, but there was also bald betrayals from some of my closest friends and family members. It was shocking and I never knew people could be so selfish and cruel and uterly useless in bad weather. Everything from my mom asking me to reimburse her for postage she bought to send out my announcements to my dearest friend instructing me to “really pray” for my subsequent pregnancy to that horrible mail guy saying God takes the things we love. It was like I was bombarded by all the crassness and unhelpfulness that could be heaped on one person while I was praying for that promised “way out” so I wouldn’t go on a full-scale bender. 

 

Good Grief, Quill. How horrific. I am sorry you had such thoughtless people around you at a time of so much pain and loss. You mentioned previously that there were thoughts about the choice of birth place being an issue perhaps. I am wondering if you still carry guilt or doubt about your decision and blame yourself over and over again? We are often relentless in blaming ourselves without mercy even though there is probably no sign that the outcome would have been different had your daughter been born somewhere else.

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That verse from 1 Cor 10 is referring to temptation: "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

I think its application to suffering is a further indication of what I referred to earlier, that evangelicalism intentionally or unintentionally tends towards a tacit implication that God's feelings towards us are indicated by our circumstances. But Jesus said the opposite. He said that those that belong to him can expect to suffer. He understands suffering, and he is fully present through it, and he is at work in it. The church needs to think carefully about the messages that it is sending when it is not careful in its application of scripture.

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30 minutes ago, Liz CA said:

 

Good Grief, Quill. How horrific. I am sorry you had such thoughtless people around you at a time of so much pain and loss. You mentioned previously that there were thoughts about the choice of birth place being an issue perhaps. I am wondering if you still carry guilt or doubt about your decision and blame yourself over and over again? We are often relentless in blaming ourselves without mercy even though there is probably no sign that the outcome would have been different had your daughter been born somewhere else.

At first I did. At first, so did my husband, who was not sold on the birth center idea for this exact reason. “What if something goes wrong?” “What’s going to go wrong? I have had two practically perfect births already!” My friend who is a nurse reasoned with me that babies die in the hospital every day and there is no way to know the outcome would have been better there. I did accept her logic, and it is true, but there were people who directly faulted me for not being in a hospital and there were probably other people who criticized that also, though they wisely refrained from telling me so. 

Would I go to a birth center again? No, I would not. If my dd were planning a birth not in a hospital, I would beg her to reconsider and I would use my story as illustrative. So I guess yes, it is reasonable to conclude that I regret that choice, even if I don’t know how it might have been different in a hospital. But I even “prayed about” that decision to go to a birth center and so even that plays into feeling that God did not arrange things in a way that could have produced a better outcome. So that does bring me back to my belief that God could have prevented it but did not. 

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36 minutes ago, PeachyDoodle said:

That verse from 1 Cor 10 is referring to temptation: "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

I think its application to suffering is a further indication of what I referred to earlier, that evangelicalism intentionally or unintentionally tends towards a tacit implication that God's feelings towards us are indicated by our circumstances. But Jesus said the opposite. He said that those that belong to him can expect to suffer. He understands suffering, and he is fully present through it, and he is at work in it. The church needs to think carefully about the messages that it is sending when it is not careful in its application of scripture.

Maybe, but I have been told and was specifically told by my pastor when Lydia died, that the word used can be translated as “temptation” OR as “trial.” So the trials He permits are supposedly not greater than the “ways out” that are supposed to make it bearable. 

I do think people are tried beyond the ability to bear it, though. That’s why there is catatonia and other psychological disorders like dissociation. Maybe even becoming unable to trust you are loved, even. <smirk>

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18 minutes ago, Quill said:

Maybe, but I have been told and was specifically told by my pastor when Lydia died, that the word used can be translated as “temptation” OR as “trial.” So the trials He permits are supposedly not greater than the “ways out” that are supposed to make it bearable. 

I do think people are tried beyond the ability to bear it, though. That’s why there is catatonia and other psychological disorders like dissociation. Maybe even becoming unable to trust you are loved, even. <smirk>

It can, but the context here is standing firm under temptation to sin, in contrast to the children of Israel in the wilderness, who did not. Ascribing multiple possible meanings of a single word without regard to context is known as illegitimate totality transfer, which a pastor should know. But so many do not, and they do serious damage as a result. What "way out" did God provide for Christ on the cross? There is no way to defend this stance based on the whole counsel of scripture. But you need it if your theology tells you that God doesn't let good people suffer.

Which is really neither here nor there, in regards to your current situation. It just upsets me that people like you continue to be hurt by such sloppy theology wielded by people who should know better. I will get off my high horse now. 

I'm so very sorry that your horrible suffering was compounded by insensitivity and ignorance on the part of others.

Edited by PeachyDoodle
Is anyone else getting question marks instead of emojis??
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42 minutes ago, Quill said:

At first I did. At first, so did my husband, who was not sold on the birth center idea for this exact reason. “What if something goes wrong?” “What’s going to go wrong? I have had two practically perfect births already!” My friend who is a nurse reasoned with me that babies die in the hospital every day and there is no way to know the outcome would have been better there. I did accept her logic, and it is true, but there were people who directly faulted me for not being in a hospital and there were probably other people who criticized that also, though they wisely refrained from telling me so. 

Would I go to a birth center again? No, I would not. If my dd were planning a birth not in a hospital, I would beg her to reconsider and I would use my story as illustrative. So I guess yes, it is reasonable to conclude that I regret that choice, even if I don’t know how it might have been different in a hospital. But I even “prayed about” that decision to go to a birth center and so even that plays into feeling that God did not arrange things in a way that could have produced a better outcome. So that does bring me back to my belief that God could have prevented it but did not. 

 

This is a huge burden to bear. The self-recrimination is usually worse than what other people may imply. It probably felt like you made a decision while other people cautioned you against it and then it turned out to end so devastatingly. I am glad you had a friend point out that babies can and do die in hospitals as well.

This is not at all what you asked originally in your post but I am wondering if some trauma care would be helpful. Trauma is defined now as fear for one's own life or the life of loved ones. You lost a loved one and feared for your other baby. I am thinking it would not hurt to look in the direction of getting some trauma care. HUGS. (I miss the hug emoji).

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Hey...a whole bunch of people loved me today. I just thought I would say that. My homeschool chorus group, it turns out, learned a song “behind my back” to sing to me today because there is a 50/50 chance my youngest will go to school next year and my days in the group will end. So they sang a special song to me and each gave me a rose. ?

 

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