I just finished talking with my son. He is grappling with some really tough questions. The sort of questions that even the best, most scholarly of theologians are unable able to satisfy. Why does God heal some people but not others? Why does an innocent child suffer? Why us? Why me? The sort of questions that can shake your faith.
My heart aches for him and his family.
It’s a mixed bag of the good news and bad news all at the same time. On July 25th I became a grandfather to Lucy Paige Neighbors. She was born 6 weeks early, weighed in at 4 lbs. and is the cutest baby in the world (no bias here!). Wonderful news!
The doctors knew before the birth of a potential heart defect and their suspicions proved correct. Lucy would require open heart surgery. It would be a very risky surgery, especially considering her size as a premature baby.
Say what you want about the evils of social media, but within a matter of hours literally hundreds of people were made aware of Lucy’s condition and prayers and words of encouragement poured in from around the world. Church prayer chains were activated, prayer chains that were from people we barely knew. People were praying for a miracle, that Lucy’s heart would be healed.
Surely with so many people praying, God would work a miracle, right?
Well, the miracle we were seeking didn’t happen before the surgery. Lucy had surgery and it went as well as could be expected. As I write this, she is stable. Her Mom and Dad are by her side, and really have not left her side since her birth.
Where is God in all this? That is the heart of the questions my son is asking. There are no easy answers. But I believe He is there and has been there all along. While this story is heart breaking, we choose to believe God has been with them through it all… even when we can’t answer the “why?”
Lucy is in one of the best hospitals with some of the best doctors in the world. She has responded better than expected in the recovery and we have reason to hope! And while this is a crisis of faith for her parents, it seems that their faith has been strengthened. Maybe, just maybe God is at work here in ways we will never understand.
That may be a lame answer for some… but we do live in a fallen world and even the most exalted heroes of the faith have stories of trials and suffering.
Is that an answer that satisfies? Probably not in the midst of the suffering. But it may be the best we can do this side of heaven.
One of the other blessings has been that good friends have set up a GoFundMe account to help the family during this time. If you would like to join #teamlucy we would be delighted. Here is the link: Support #teamlucyPosted by Chuck Neighbors | 18 comments
Thanks for your thoughtful article Chuck. There are no easy answers to life’s really hard things. We are praying “without ceasing” for sweet little Lucy, and your family.
Thank you Chris!
Chuck, Lorie and all ~~
Your insights are God’s truth … Love is at work here, and will continue … it is how the Face of God is shown …
Know that Peter and I praying and holding you in our hearts.
Thank you Denice. So appreciate it! Love to you and Peter!
Not lame at all my friend . . . the answer to the age old questions is . . .
God is here . . . closer to Lucy than anyone.
Stand strong my friend.
Thanks Tim. Appreciate the encouragement!
Thank you, Chuck, for sharing your newest story. It’s a hard one, but a good one in that it embodies what so much of life entails. Suffering, pain, injustice, etc. are all hanging around very close. We may have times of relative peace and safety, but sooner or later the unexpected or unwanted happens…then what? What become of our faith? Was our faith built upon a God who always protects us and keeps us from all harm or was our faith greater than our circumstances and situations? Can we believe in a God who allows such things to happen? And if He does, then what does that mean?
As a future thought, I am interested in Wm. Paul Young’s new book when it comes out ‘Eve’. He will be grappling once again with suffering as he did in the Shack. At the very least it should stir up the larger conversation.
In the meantime, my prayers go up for little Lucy and her extended family that cares so much for her.
Thanks Steve! Each new question raises even more questions! His Grace is sufficient!
There are two ways to gain knowledge. One is to read it in a book. The other is to have been there and seen the flash ;heard the bang; felt the heat and the shockwave, smelled the odors of detonation and the resulting incineration of people and things. We can scoff at one who says “I read it in a book”, but we unashamedly weep with those who say, ” I have been there” It matters not whether they are civilian or military, The heart is pierced, the body reacts many different ways and pain is both physical and emotional.
There was a man needed surgery. The physician said the alternative, was to go blind and die. I had the surgery. I was laying in bed recovering and read page 10
of a book The Valley of Vision. My spiritual vision was also better than it had ever been. I did not need corrective lenses to pass my driver’s test
42 years ago I came across I Thessalonians 5:18 Above it are 5;16 and 5;17
That seems like a no brainer doesn’t it? But as I was reading in the Greek text I saw something missing which completely changed my thinking! What was missing ? . and . Yes, two little dots We call them periods. They mark the en of a complete thought. BUT vs 16 DOES NOT end with a period, and vs17 DOES NOT end in a period! Therefore, the complete thought is Rejoice Evermore; (and a semicolon is used when multiple words need separated in a sentence…a comma is is used between single words) pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks for THIS [ a singular pronoun, not a plural these] is the will of God, in Christ Jesus, concerning you. We refer to a triangle as a THIS not as THESE.
For what is happening, and what happened to me 16 months ago when my wife suddenly went to be with The One who had loved her from before the foundations of the world , four words are more than a mouth full, or a brain full.
IN at the time, and totally surrounded by
EVERYTHING whatever is happening (no exceptions)
GIVE freely offer
THANKS sincere appreciation
It is harder to NOT do it than to believe Him and JUST DO IT. We were about to have our 40th anniversary. I had plans to take her to the earthly island paradise called Hawaii. His plan was to take her to the real Heavenly Paradise..
ALL to Jesus I surrender, ALL to Him I freely give. As I point a finger at Him and ask questions….. what about the three pointing back at me?
I shall send Chuck pages 10 and 11 of The Valley of Vision it is applicable constructive consolation during all circumstances, whether satisfactions or sorrows; pains or pleasures; triumphs or tragedies.
Grace and Peace,
Thanks for sharing. This is a tough situation. Lot’s of questions arise don’t they. But, i’m glad for what you shared that “maybe God is at work in ways we will never understand.” I’ve found that to be true. Our love and prayer goes out to you and the family!.
Thank you, Victor! We so appreciate you and your prayers!
Sometimes we just have to pray the prayer that is always answered, “Thy will be done”, and save the questions for when we see Him face to face. Thank you for sharing Lucy’s story with us and our prayers will continue for her and your dear son and his family, that includes grandma and grandpa Neighbors. Love, Muriel
As I’ve been following Lucy’s story and hearing about her parents’ love and care for her, I’ve been reminded of the love the Father has for us. We are all broken and in need of heart surgery. As that is being done and our hearts are being repared, the Father is right there, holding us, hovering over us, singing over us, speaking blessing into us, crying, smiling, sighing, loving us. I see this example as Lucy’s parents show us exactly what the Father is doing. Please thank them for reminding me of the Father’s deep, deep love for me. (and each of us) They are resting in the palm of His hand.
Thanks Dody! I’ll pass on your comment to Jon & Mal.
Take heart, Chuck- I was born 8 weeks premature and weighed 3lb 5oz. That was in 1972 without a lot of the current medical advances. Praying that Lucy would be able to come home soon.
Looking back at 2015 - Chuck Neighbors - actor and storyteller– Chuck Neighbors – actor and storyteller
[…] a personal note, the biggest highlight of our year was that Lorie and I became grandparents to Lucy Paige Neighbors. This precious child was born with a heart defect and spent the first 2.5 months of her life in the […]