This past Sunday was my normal weekend at work, but I was put on-call and allowed to go to church. Which is something that has never happened to me in the four years I've been working there.
I should have known there was a reason God wanted me to hear the message Sunday. I just wish the personal application piece could have been avoided.
As I've mentioned in a previous post, we've been going through a series at church on the theology of suffering focusing on David's life. This past Sunday we looked at some very difficult questions involving suffering. One of the points that really stood out to me during the sermon was how suffering allows us to know God more fully. If we never were without, we would not know God as our provider. If we never needed comfort, we would not know God as our comforter. So on and so forth.
I believe I have the awesome privilege of being used by God in my profession to both help bring life into the world and prolong life from leaving the world. In my experience with death, it often felt to me as if I had no part in helping God, but that I was simply able to witness and be reminded once again that God is in control.
I think now the better description for what I do could be termed "wrestling with God".
Jacob wrestled with God. The deceiving con-artist went up against God and won, taking only the small souvenir of a dislocated hip. And he was rewarded with a new name and being the father of God's chosen people.
Yesterday I wrestled with God and a life hangs in the balance.
In my profession, loss of life in unexpected. I witness again and again life being brought forth, new life being born. When life is suddenly lost, or even expectantly lost, it is a tragedy. But even as suffering allows us to know God more fully, loss of life allows us to appreciate life more. And infinitely more when you are allowed to be a part of the loss.
How can we truly value the preciousness of life if we have not been directly impacted by its loss? How can we expect others to value life as we do, if they themselves have not experienced loss?
Yesterday I was reminded, yet again, of how fragile and precious life is, and how God is always in control. Even when I think I can, like Jacob, win.
Worthy are YOU, O Lord.