On the advice of a family friend, I went back and re-read my blog from the beginning. I realized something that I think I've known all along but was afraid to say. I should have never gone down the path of asking for healing. God does not heal on earth. It's just not something He does. If prayer + faith = healing, then almost no one would die from illness or disease because I guarantee you there is someone who loves that person who would be willing to pray day and night for their health. The fact that I bought into it so much leaves me feeling disgusted and irritated. But I can also realize that I needed to have something to hold on to; even false hope. As I was reading over my original entries just after Samuel was diagnosed, I can hear how Bryan and I were devastated, horrified, and filled with anguish over the impending death of our precious little guy. Then, I notice that we start taking steps to come to terms with it and make peace with it. We were going to enjoy every second we got with him, but we also were preparing for his death. Then IT happened.
A family friend had given my parents a DVD of a man who was talking about how we can ask God for healing and expect it. "God can't lie" he claimed. Then, he went on to tell an "amazing" story of how his granddaughter had been miraculously healed from a fatal car crash injury. He quoted scripture after scripture that spoke of how we can ask for healing and expect it. Now, as I've mentioned so many times, I was not a believer in healing before this (come to think of it, I'm still not!) I'm also a very critical person when it comes to miracle-healers and other such craziness. So, when my parents came down to give us the DVD and make the very heart-felt plea for us to watch it, I internally scoffed and set it aside. For weeks, they tried to convince us to watch it but we would have none of it. Then, one day, after a particularly hard and emotional day, we had stopped by my parent's home to pick something up. During our conversation, I told my mom "You have to come to terms with this. He is going to die." She looked at me and said something about how we had to have faith if we wanted him to be healed. (I feel sick just writing this - that is SO wrong!) Then, she said, "Don't you want him to be healed?" I honestly could just throw up thinking about this now. I will never forget that moment. The overwhelming guilt that came when I thought that maybe my lack of faith in miracle healing was keeping my son from living was sickening. The fact that she thought I'd be to blame if he died was so unfair. (Nothing like adding guilt to the already unending pain we were experiencing). Telling someone that the person they love was going to die because they weren't praying hard enough or having enough faith is absolutely disgusting. I sobbed that "of course I want him to live, but there is nothing anyone can do" and shook with pain and rage and anguish. Thankfully, Bryan pulled me out and we left. That was a nightmare unto itself. But, of course, since when someone you love is sick and there is nothing you can do but try anything/everything that comes your way, we decided we had nothing to lose so we watched it (is there anything like a mother's guilt?) We tried to be open-minded, but found ourselves very questioning of his story/facts. A few days later, we watched it again. (I think at that point in our despair and hopelessness, someone could have told us about little pink fairies that live in the forest that would heal Samuel and we would have gotten in the car with nets in search of them that very day!) In our desperation, we decided to believe that God was going to heal Samuel. It didn't match my belief, but I was willing. (Like I said in one post, "if all it takes for Samuel to be healed is my faith, then I'm going to believe.) I began searching the Bible for something to back up this new-found faith. Really, there are quite a few verse that suggest it. But, if we were all to be honest with ourselves, we would realize that it's just grasping at straws. How many of us truly know someone who was honestly healed? Not many! So, looking back, that's where we went wrong. Instead of asking for a healing that was never going to come, we should have asked for the courage to face the situation with love for our son and the strength to make it through. None of this buying a dying baby clothes, planning baby showers, expecting him to live despite TONS of medically sound facts. I would have done things differently if I wouldn't have been expecting him to live. Maybe his death wouldn't have left such a huge gaping hole in our faith if we wouldn't have put it in the wrong supposition to begin with. I'll never know.
As I try to come to terms with who God is and what His role was in Samuel's life/death, I keep trying to remember that He never said He would heal Samuel. We forced that belief on Him and now feel bitter because of it. I have to try to go back to my original belief that God doesn't intervene in our lives as much as we'd all like to pretend He does. He can do things like comfort us and give us peace, but He doesn't do tangible things: that would remove faith. So, really, my anger should be at my parents for forcing the faith-healing nonsense on us, at us for believing it, and at the fact that some babies die for no reason. I'm angry that he died when so many people get to keep their babies. It's not fair. But I'm trying to remember that God had nothing to do with it. He did not kill Samuel or ignore our prayers. We were wrong to ask Him to do something He doesn't do. And it's so wrong to tell people He heals when He doesn't. Why add to someone's pain by making it seem like they have control over a situation they don't? (A great way to get someone really hurt and mad at God is to tell them He is going to do something. When He doesn't do it, and believe me, He won't, that person will have no choice but to feel upset.) Instead of that, why don't we tell people to ask God for the things He does give - like faith and hope and courage and strength? I think that would make picking up the broken pieces of life after a tragedy easier because there wouldn't be the whole "maybe I didn't do enough" guilt. Instead we could know we did all we could to love him while he was here and that was enough.
(To be fair, I do know how deeply my parent love us and Samuel. I know they would never, ever, intentionally do something to hurt us. I know they wanted to believe in God's healing power just as much as we came to. So, really, I guess the blame falls on us for believing right along with them. Also, there is absolutely no way to know how things would have turned out differently if we had taken another path. My hunch is that I might not feel so upset with God, but who knows? We took the path of faith and that's all there is to it. I guess I just hope that in writing this, we all might re-consider what we put on people in times of illness. Let's all try not to speak for God and instead just let Him be who He is.)