Just Because It Doesn’t Make Sense. . .

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My daughter is an athlete.  My daughter used to be a really good distance runner.  Her successful running is just one of many things paralysis took away from her.

I’ve rarely struggled with understanding why it had to happen to our family.  Believe me, I get it.  God does His best work with ashes, and if He’s going to do amazing and wonderful things with ashes, there are going to have to be some people who go through the fire.  Those people have to be faithful and strong and point to Him.  I get it.

My daughter has taken up paraplegic swimming.  For eight months she’s been out of her wheelchair and in the pool.  It’s been life changing.  She’s getting a good cardio workout.  She’s having fun and making new friends.  She’s working towards goals, as she’s always been very driven and competitive.  She’s preparing to enter her first paraplegic swimming competition.  She hopes there will be many more to come.  Her best of the four strokes is the backstroke.  In this initial swimming competition she can enter five events, and two of them were going to be the backstroke.

Two of them were going to be the backstroke.

Alissa has hurt her shoulder.  Again.  And guess which stroke causes her the most pain?  Yep, that’s why she’s going to have to pull out of her backstroke events at her upcoming competition.  And it’s not just the disappointment of not being able to compete in her favorite events.  Her shoulders are literally her knees.  That fiercely independent seventeen year old paraplegic depends on her shoulders all the time to roll herself around and try to live as normally as possible.  She really needs her shoulders to work.

It takes a lot to discourage her, but on the night of her second shoulder injury she came home from swim practice discouraged.  Who could blame her?  And when she gets discouraged so do I.  All that night I fretted, “Lord, Lord!  We’re not asking for super easy.  We are not even asking for easy, but couldn’t one dream, just one athletic dream that beats in Alissa’s heart, work out for her?  Lord, what’s going on?  You never guaranteed life would be pain free, but isn’t this getting a little ridiculous?  I don’t understand.  Why does everything in her life have to be so hard for her?”

The next day as I was reading scripture I came to something in the Old Testament which caused me to pause.  On the surface it had seemingly nothing to do with Alissa’s shoulder/paralysis/life situation, but I was reading about how God delivered the Israelites out of Egypt and into the land He promised them.  He told them about all the people who already inhabited the land where He said the Israelites would live.  It says in Deuteronomy, “God will drive out those nations before you, little by little.  You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you.”

Huh.  As an Israelite I’d think it was a problem that God wasn’t giving me and my people the land right away.  In my short-sighted vision, it would be hard for me to understand why living in close proximity to my enemies would be the best plan.  Yet God saw the big picture.  He knew there were other dangers, besides human dangers, and He was going to do everything He could to protect His people, even if it wasn’t on their time table and even if it didn’t make sense to them.

I wrote in the margin of my Bible, “So many things that we don’t even think about go into God’s plan.”  My mind is so small, and so self-centered, and so American-culture-brainwashed that sometimes I actually think just because something doesn’t make sense to me must mean it doesn’t make sense at all.

No!  That’s an arrogant way for me to live.  I may not understand it, but do I honestly think that God doesn’t?  Do I honestly think He who sees the big picture in a way which I can’t even fathom is on my level?

No, I don’t understand my daughter’s shoulder injury.  I don’t understand why she is not fully able to do what she loves to do . . . yet again.  I know God has complete healing power and could choose to heal her even though her spinal cord injury is incredibly severe.  I don’t know why He hasn’t chosen to heal her.  It doesn’t make sense to me.

But it makes sense to Him.  It makes sense to God!  We’d appreciate your prayers for Alissa’s shoulder and beyond.  This story is far from over.  Amen!

Until next week, Lord willing, when things get a bit lighter and I talk about Mrs. Eckstrom’s delicious layered chocolate cake!