I have learned a new word. “Pessimum”, a noun meaning the least favorable environmental condition under which an organism can survive. I think my life provides an example of this word.
In my book, God Is In the Doubt, I explain how faith dominated my formative years. I grew up believing God had my back even though we were extremely poor and lived in a church basement, a fellowship hall, and old project housing. The book also details many of our hardships with infertility, miscarriages, and death.
Donna and I have prayed for many, very long, years. We cried, yelled, pleaded, and sought answers. We begged Him to remove the desire for a family if it was not what He wanted for us. Not only us, but our church family and others prayed for our health problems, which have continued and worsened.
On this day last year, I wrote “Every day is an excruciating torment.” This is the fourth Father’s Day since Caleb died, and every day for six weeks has been harder than the first three years combined. Not exaggerating the pain, the shock has recently worn off and I am coming to terms with what surviving without him entails. Time is not making things easier; it is harder.
I pray to God constantly. I beg for a reprieve. Can these losses be enough of a penance for whatever wrong I committed? If the answer to prayer was a ‘No’, then why allow Emily’s conception? Why allow her death? I am not getting a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’. There is no ‘Maybe’, and no ‘Later’. I get silence. Despite this, I continue to believe in prayer. I meditate on Ephesians 3:20, Hebrews 4:16, James 5:15-16, John 9:31, John 14:12-14, John 15:7, 1 John 5:14-15, Matthew 2:22, Matthew 7:7-11, Matthew 17:20, Matthew 18:19, Mark 9:23, Mark 11:22-24, and many more. My favorite is a story Christ told:
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” … – Luke 18:1-43
No, I do not get answers, but others do. I have been binge-watching American Idol the last few evenings with Donna. One contestant sang Anyone. I had heard it before, but this time it resonated with me. While I believe God hears us, I do not feel heard.
I tried and tried and tried some more Told secrets 'til my voice was sore Tired of empty conversation 'Cause no one hears me anymore … Nobody's listening to me Nobody's listening … I feel stupid when I pray So, why am I praying anyway? If nobody's listening Anyone, please send me anyone Lord, is there anyone? I need someone, oh Anyone, please send me anyone Lord, is there anyone? I need someone (Clean cover by Ricky Braddy)