Mommy, Why did God make me this way? ~ 3 of 5

The Path that God Ordained

Mommy, Why did God make me this way? by Debbie Taillefer

One night as I was tucking my daughter into bed, she stared up at me earnestly, her eyes filled with grief.  She whispered, “Mommy, why did God make me this way?”  I was silent.  I could tell some trite answer would not suffice.  I was shaken as I faced the sober reality that my child expected me to give her a reasonable explanation that would satisfy her troubled spirit and make sense out of all of the suffering she had been through.  I felt like any illumination I could shed would be like shining a flashlight into the night sky and expecting that it would light it up.  Or like throwing a cup of water into the Grand Canyon and expecting that it would fill up.  How could I, as small as I am, answer one of the questions of the ages?

Many have written great discourses and debated such questions for thousands of years, yet I believe the answer is really quite basic, although difficult for our minds to grasp.  The answer, simply stated, is for the glory of God.

“And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.  And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?  Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9:1-3)

“When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” (John 11:4)

1997 JessicaeeeIt is hard to explain to a child that God cares, when they have been teased mercilessly.  She had endured physical threats, constant bullying and name-calling.  She was always the last to be picked for every team, because she was “no good.”  She regularly struggled with disappointment at not being able to run and have fun playing backyard games with other children.  When she was very little, she battled envy and jealousy against her sister, who could do all the things that she couldn’t do, and excelled at them.  How could God love her, and let her go through so much suffering?  I can imagine the weight of guilt on her little shoulders.  She believed in God’s goodness and wisdom, so therefore she should trust Him.  Yet she was feeling sad, abandoned and confused.  Her cross was too much for her to bear.  She wanted answers.  Don’t we all?  Why God?  Why me?  Is He angry with me?  Is He punishing me?  Doesn’t He care?  And the answer is still the same now as it was in Jesus’ day: for the glory of God, that His works would be made manifest in us.

As I held her gaze in mine, I gently explained that since she was God’s child, He loved her very much, even if it did not feel that way or look like it sometimes.  We are always looking at things from our perspective, rather than how He sees them.  I explained that God’s ways are not our ways, and we need to look to Him and the Bible for answers to these questions.

I desire to bring out from these questions and our experiences what I believe are just two of the many aspects in which God glorifies Himself in the way He has made us.  First, I believe that God actually shows greater love towards that which this world calls “weak,” because what is weak looks to God for strength.  This makes Him look strong and reveals Him to be the One who provides.  We have a “limited” picture in men.  What man does not love it when his wife or children look to him to be their hero?  It is God’s will to show great compassion, love and mercy upon those things that are “weak” so that He can actually show them (for their own good) that they really have nothing in themselves for which to trust in.  Yet, if they would just look to Him, He would be their all.

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:” (1 Corinthians 1:27-28)

It was never God’s desire that we glory in strong bodies, power and riches.  He wants us to see how weak and corruptible our bodies really are, so that we would look to Him now in this life and that we will look forward with great anticipation to this wonderful life and powerful body that He has in store for us.  So, actually strong bodies in this life can sometimes blind or blur the need to look up to God and to look forward in hope to the “strong body that is to come.”  God wants us to look at our bodies and weaknesses and think, “Oh, how great it is that God is so strong and perfect and that He will rescue me from this body of death.”  He wants us to see how easily we are given to weakness and immorality apart from Him and that to truly be a giant among men, is to perfectly do what is right, all of the time.  For that, we need a new body, a new mind and a new spirit, not this old worn-out thing that can’t do anything right!!  A weak body helps us to see that.

“So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)

“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Those that have power, strength and riches in this life, often (not always) look to those things and do not realize their need of God.  These things fill them will pride and lead to destruction.  God leaving someone to look to himself and his riches, power, and strengths, is not Him showing them greater love and blessing, but often the opposite.  Those He gives a thorn in the flesh in this life, He is actually giving them a “leg up” for the next.

“Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.” (Hosea 10:13)

“But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.  For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.  For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain. … Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish. … They speak loftily.  They set their mouth against the heavens … And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?  Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. … For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. … Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.  How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. … Thou shalt despise their image.  So foolish was I, and ignorant.  Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.  Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.  My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.  For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.  But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.” (Psalm 73:2-28, Shortened because of length)

It is actually a blessing to see our weaknesses in this life, because it helps us to look to God and not to what we can do.  It teaches us how to comfort others with the comfort that Christ has given to us.  Those who do not suffer have no need for Christ to draw near and comfort them.  Those who suffer much, have Christ regularly comforting them, therefore they are much more experienced and able to comfort others when they suffer.  As our sufferings abound, our comfort from Christ abounds.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

IMG_1795eeeMy daughter has the wonderful luxury of looking back now and seeing all the wonderful works that God has done in her life.  But at the time, it was a sincere act of faith to suffer and just accept that God knew best what He was doing.  The apostle Paul asked God to remove what he called a “thorn in his flesh” three times.  Jesus also pleaded with His Father to let the cup of His wrath pass from Him and asked if there might be another way.  I am sure that there was many a prayer sent up to God for her thorn to be removed from that little bed every night.  The larger bed down the hall was also covered in tears and pleadings to God to heal and give strength to that little body.  However, our answer was the same that Paul received.

God explained to Paul that His grace was to be sufficient for him, for His strength was made perfect in weakness.  He would glorify and reveal Himself in mighty ways through her weakness and our inability to fix it, therefore helping us to remain humble and not lifted up in pride before Him.  That is difficult for an adult to comprehend and live with, let alone try to make plain to a little child.  But God is so kind to us and such a good and gentle Father, in that He gives us experiences to help us understand what He instructs.  One weary night, the answer came to my heart as I prayed, as a still, small voice.  I never heard anything audible, but everyone that knows God, has experienced that certainty when God has spoken to your heart.  It went something like this:  Fear not, for though I will not remove this burden at this time, I will always undertake to care for her and all of the needs that it creates.  And God has done more than either of us could ever have possibly imagined or asked for, in fulfilling the promise that His strength and mighty works are manifested and formed through our need and weakness.

Another reason for God making her this way, is the flipside of the previous point.  As much as God wants us to look away from ourselves and look to Him, He also wants to look at what He has given us, our abilities, strong bodies, money and talents and with thankfulness, use them to touch others with love as He has touched ours.  These two truths are true at the same time.  They go something like this: Don’t look to your strengths and exalt in them, look to your weaknesses (given to you by God) and exalt in God’s strength.  Yet, look to your strengths (also given to you by God) and give to those who are weak, as God has looked to your weaknesses and gave to you from His strength.

We experienced this second aspect of God’s glory in many ways.  As already expressed, my daughter’s bone disorder was extremely rare.  So rare in fact, that at the time there was only one physician in the world that we were aware of dedicated to researching it.  Once we located him and realized he was an American, we became so discouraged.  How in the world would we ever afford to pay the travel expenses, let alone the medical bills?  The bitter disappointment at finally having found a doctor and losing him all in the same moment, was almost too much to bear.  “Oh God,” we cried out, “What are we to do?  Help us!”  We were then advised that since he worked out of the Shriner’s Hospital in St. Louis, we should get in touch with the local Shriners in our area to see if they would cover our travel expenses.  The hospital, we were informed, would cover our medical bills.  We were amazed!  What appeared to be impossibility, turned out to be an incredible opportunity for others to give from their strengths to help our weaknesses, thereby giving glory to God.

The blessings that came from being at the hospital cannot be quantified.  My daughter saw children the same as her, far worse, and everything in between.  The Metabolic Research Unit and Shriner’s hospitals work so hard with these kids to make them see that they can make valuable contributions through their lives.  The tests show their weaknesses, but programs and staff show them their strengths.  They also strive to correct our view of “normal.”  Normal for Miss Athlete might be gold every time she takes a fitness test.  Normal for Mr. Artist may be bronze.  Those same two people in another setting would be just the reverse.  Normal for Miss Fitness maybe that she can’t draw a straight line, and normal for Mr. Artist is that he can draw pictures that takes peoples’ breath away and wins accolades everywhere he goes.  Dr. Whyte put it to my daughter this way, “How many people do you know personally that make their living as Olympic athletes?”  To this she replied, “None.”  “So,” he said, “You need to change your perspective.  Seeing as the vast majority of people have to make their living another way, then what I want you to do is stop focusing on what you can’t do and look at what you can do, and put your heart into that.” One of my daughter’s teachers once sat me down and set me straight.  She said, “I would really like somebody to tell me definitively what is normal.  In a class of thirty children I have two that are still wetting their pants, eight that wear glasses, one diabetic, seven with various learning disabilities, two that can’t sit still for five minutes, one that won’t talk to anybody, three that are stuck to me like Velcro, one that is stealing from everyone, two that strut like peacocks and boast like the world couldn’t turn without them, and three that have habits that I would really rather not discuss.  So you tell me, what is normal?”

God taught us so much about ourselves, others and about His perspective of human value, compassion and dedication that could never be expressed in words, through these many experiences.  I remember my daughter’s awestruck voice, filled with excitement and hope as she explained during one hospital visit, “For the first time in my life, I feel normal!”  God was using our weaknesses to show His power and strength and other people’s strengths and talents to reveal to us how we could use the strengths He had given us to bless others.

The impact that all of this had in our lives is hard to describe.  We experienced so much love, concern and prayers from so many people.  The hard work and charity of those that came along side us to help carry our burdens, blessed us.  We witnessed countless lives changed and we were transformed by it.  We were the recipients of blessings far greater than we could have ever imagined, through being around so many incredible people of all walks of life, whether they were weak or devoted to helping them get strong.  We became a part of something far greater than ourselves and our own little issues.  I found myself thanking God for HPP and for all of the lessons and character building that it was working in all of us.  And we ourselves were used of God in ways we could never have fathomed to glorify Him.  Suddenly, countless folks wanted to hear our testimony and be a part of what God was doing in our lives.  People were encouraged, built up, drawn together and filled with hope and joy when they heard about all of the wonderful mighty works that God was working through our weakness.  God commands us to glorify Him with our lives, yet through our weaknesses and strengths, He fulfills that command for us.  Who alone could do that but God?

The ultimate blessing came about during one of our visits to Shriners.  I was simply at loose ends one day at the hospital and decided to pick up the phone book and look up Churches.  I was hoping to find somebody to talk to about some of the recent studies called “Word Pictures” that my husband and I had been exposed to up in Canada.  I ran my finger down the list, picked one and called.  Next thing I knew, the Pastor had a very nice couple come and pick me up and bring me to Bible Baptist Church in Maplewood.  I was overwhelmed by the people there who made me feel like I was family.  One of the elders told me about their seminary and sent me home with a pocketful of information.  They had an interest in my husband and wondered if he would like to speak with them.  I politely said, “No, I don’t think so, as this is America and we live in Canada.”  For a number of years, my husband had been an accountant.  However, he had begun to experience a call on his life to the ministry.  He was meeting with various ones to get counsel and was at the point of taking classes in seminary.  Yet, I was sure he wouldn’t be interested in attending seminary there.  Even if he was, how in the world could that ever come about?  They wanted him to start in January.  We had a home to sell, a career and life to dismantle; it seemed impossible.

Well, low and behold, that was October.  Three professors from the seminary were attending a conference up in Milton, Pennsylvania just a couple of weeks from then.  My husband decided to have a chat with the Church, just to find out more about these studies we had been working through, and the subject came up about the seminary and meeting.  They were going to be seven and half hours south of where we lived during this conference, so they wondered if maybe it was “doable” for him to go and talk with them.  What could it hurt?  Well, the next think I knew, we were packing, selling our house, my husband was quitting his job and we were at the border, attempting entrance into the country.  My husband had been offered a job in St. Louis, and because of his accounting designation (strength God was using), was attempting a NAFTA visa.  We were accepted and left everything behind to start a new life in St. Louis.  The date – December 16th!  Again, the mighty works of God through our weaknesses (inability to make the move happen so quickly and completely change the direction of our lives) was manifested.

The ultimate result came about on another night tucking my daughter into bed, years later.  This time the gaze was filled with joy and certainty.  The same little voice although older, wiser and more experienced, shared some new understanding.  “Mom,” she said, “I don’t want to presume that I have all the answers or that I can say that I know all of the mind of God of why He made me this way.  But if I had never had this bone problem, then we would never have gone to St. Louis.  If we had never gone to St. Louis, then Dad would never have gone to seminary, and we would never have met all the people at Bible Baptist Church.  And Dad maybe wouldn’t be doing what he is doing now.  So, I am glad Mom, because there was a good purpose that God had for making me this way, and it has changed our lives for the better.”  And praise the Lord, what seemed to be such a debilitating weakness has proved to be God’s greatest gift and means of showing Himself strong on our behalf.

I know this verse is used in the context of God bringing Israel out from Babylon and back home.  But I hope I can use it in the spiritual sense to capture God’s overall perspective towards us, His believing children and why He makes us the way that He does: “For I know the thoughts (plans, intentions, curious work or purpose) that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace (welfare, health, prosperity, rest, safety), and not of evil (harm or hurt), to give you an expected (expectation, hope, thing that I long for) end (future, posterity, reward).” (Jeremiah 29:11)

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