Pain.

“The Christian does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us.” ― C.S. Lewis

These stories crop up here and there, and they usually go something like this: I had an ultrasound and the doctors said something terrible was going to happen to my baby, but I trusted in God and when my baby was born everything was okay. The doctors were wrong. I am so blessed. And then at the end in a sort of obligatory way – and even if my baby had been born with a disability, I’d still be blessed.

Lately when I read these stories, I feel like the big elephant in the room. I’m the person whose baby didn’t turn out okay.

The doctors were right. The ultrasound had been accurate. My baby was born with Down syndrome and a hole in her heart, and then I was left to wonder, “Why us?”

But the reality is that life isn’t a punishment/reward system. Do the right thing and you get a prize and do the wrong one and you get smote by the Lord. It’s far more complicated than that.

Over time, I’ve realized that God doesn’t just bless us with healthy babies. He also blesses us with babies who have hardships and disabilities, and the recognition of that shouldn’t just be one line at the end.

Don’t get me wrong. These stories are wonderful and miraculous and have amazing endings, but there aren’t very many stories about the other side of that coin – the story without the happy ending. Is it just easier to tell these “happier” stories? I’m certainly rejoicing that the babies in these stories are healthy and living healthy full lives, but do we usually ignore the harder stories because we don’t have to ask ourselves the difficult questions about pain? Is it because we can rest in the comforting thought, “Good things happen to good people?”

But that’s not the way it works. Read Job to understand that this is just not always the way it works. Sometimes things go horribly wrong.

And then we have to figure it out. We have to accept what we can’t change. We have to go through the stages of grief and we have to come out the other side. We have to trust in the Lord even when our trust is met with pain.

Because many, many times the doctors are right and we have to deal with that truth too.

Sometimes bad things happen to good people, and we get pushed outside our comfortable box of truth into an entirely new one – a box in which things are just not so simple. Sometimes blessings take on a different form all together. Sometimes blessings don’t come with happy endings. Sometimes God lets us get bashed over the head and we have to deal with that too.

The truth is that sometimes our blessings are really going to hurt.

“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” ― C.S. Lewis