Today's email will again be less of a Hannah update than a summary of what's been on our hearts lately. Hannah continues to slip closer to Heaven....she is now pretty much sleeping around the clock, with very brief periods of wakefulness when she tries to communicate. She did not eat at all today, but was able to drink a little bit of water this evening. We have difficulty understanding what she is saying to us, but she seems to understand everything that is said to her. She is also beginning to experience some pain, but we've been able to keep it well under control with morphine. We continue to pray for her earthly healing, while knowing that Jesus is ready to receive her in Heaven.
We were initially hesitant to share the story about Hannah praying for a storm in her life because we didn't want anyone to misunderstand the situation. We certainly didn't want to give anyone the impression that God would intentionally and maliciously inflict brain cancer on a 16-year-old girl just because she prayed for a storm. We believe that God has a specific plan for everyone, and that He knows what every day of our life holds before we are born. In His sovereignty, He knew that Hannah would one day battle brain cancer, and we believe that He was preparing her for this two years ago when she was at the Disciple Now event. For her, and for us, that prayer for a storm has been a source of comfort and an answer to the question "Why?" Every email we receive, phone call we answer, and person we talk to who tells us that their life has been changed because of Hannah is the answer to that question.
I recently read a book by Steven James titled Sailing Between the Stars: Musings on the Mysteries of Faith and in one chapter he deals with the question of why a good God would allow people to suffer in this world. I'd like to quote him here:
"I am left with three choices: 1) I can give up on God and tell my heart that he doesn't exist, that he couldn't possibly exist, that life really is as senseless, random, and pointless as it so often appears. 2) I can believe that God does exist but is either too impotent (powerless) to stop the suffering, unaware of the suffering (foolish), unconcerned about those who suffer (apathetic), or just plain out to get me (malevolent). None of these kinds of Gods would be worthy of my worship or my life. 3) I can cling to the belief that God really is in control, and really does love me, and really does work good out of both the joys and the hardships, the rights and wrongs of the world. I can keep leaning on the invisible arm that has supported me in the past and trust that the one who can shape a star on the tip of his tongue can also shape blessings out of my pain."
Hannah chose #3, and so do we. God is good, all the time!
Jill, Brad, and Bethany