The one thing Charlotte has never asked me, whilst in this perfect storm of ill health, is ‘Where is God?’. Yes, she has felt the Charlotte we all knew and love be shattered into a million tiny pieces. She has felt the hopelessness of not being able to plan more than one day in advance, and sometimes even that is not possible. My incredible, strong and passionate daughter has watched as almost every dream she had for her life has trickled from her grasp.
I can honestly say that she has not felt sorry for herself once. Oh, she has felt disappointed, angry even, and let down by her own body, and she has certainly asked the question of ‘Why me?’ But every morning she wakes, the one thing she never forgoes is time with God. Her Bible study time is a time she clings onto, draws strength from and depends on in these tumultuous years of exhaustion, pain and seizures…and now horrendous tics. Charlotte, even as her life is in pieces, has that undeniable and inexplicable Peace, which surpasses all understanding. She draws strength from the one who went before her; a man who faced His own suffering with a quiet courage, a man who died so that we could live.
Charlotte has stopped her education for now. She wants to spend the next year recovering. And she understands, perhaps for the first time in her life, that her value does not come from her ability to pass exams, her ability to read any and all books, her ability, in fact, to do anything. Because sometimes she is literally unable to do anything at all. She now has a very deep understanding of what it means to find one’s value in Christ.
Bizarrely (although not really), my own devotions this week have been focussed on suffering and our response to that suffering. God’s will is simple. Regardless of what is going on in our life, regardless of the storms we face, and regardless of our situation all God wants from us is rejoicing in Him, praising Him, and, perhaps the most important practically speaking, thanking Him. It is easy to do all those things when life is going well, but what about when everything around is falling apart.
Charlotte has taught me the importance of praising, rejoicing and thanking God in the storm. As she chooses each day to believe in the Goodness of God, as she finds Peace for her anxiety in Jesus, she points the rest of us to follow her trust in a God who has promised never to leave or forsake her.
My children blow my mind every single day. They all have a simple faith, based on years of trusting God, regardless of their circumstances. I don’t want to pretend that this means everything is hunkydory in the angelicscalliwags’ home. It is not. It has never been. And it will probably never be. There are tears, confusion and at times helplessness.
But then there is Jesus. Deep in our hearts. And we all know that at the end of the day only Jesus matters. Not the money. Not the education. Not the possessions. Not the talents. Not even the health.