He Gives and Takes Away

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Around three months ago, I got a call from my wife Pauline. She was frantic. She was crying.

“I don’t know what to do.”

She was pregnant with what would be our fourth child.

She was pregnant only after a few months of giving birth to our third child.

With all the strength I could muster, I talked to her as calmly as I could, saying I would be home soon and we could sort it out.

On the way back home though, it hit me. Hard.

I thought and worried about escalating tuition fees multiplied by a larger factor, an ever-expanding household, how we won’t be fitting in our current family car anymore, and my ability to be a loving father to four children. I was worried also for my wife, and how she would go through yet another pregnancy just on the heels of another. I also knew she was worried about the ramifications it had on her career (she talks about it here).

I was filled with fear and doubt.

In my prayer time, I was asking God “Why?” all the time. Why now? What will we do?

It took a bit of time, but soon enough, Pauline and I were embracing this Plan for us. We realized – in mind AND heart – that children are always blessings. We tucked our doubts behind us and looked at the future with hope and faith.

We talked to our kids about how we were going to be blessed with another member of the family. We imagined how each of them might interact with the new baby. We wondered as a couple as to what the gender might be, and as usual, playfully squabbled with names.

I began mulling what car would be suitable, and toyed with the idea of expanding the house to create an extra room or two.

Last week, this all came tumbling down.

I was awakened by Pauline in the middle of the night.

She was bleeding profusely.

I asked if she thought we lost the baby. She nodded her head and cried softly on my shoulder.

On the way to the hospital, all I could do was to pray furiously it wasn’t so. It can’t. 

We reached the hospital and I was asked to go to the waiting room while they did some tests to check if the baby was alright.

It was agonizing wait. Around 30 minutes later, they confirmed what I had feared – they couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat.

Further tests revealed that we were supposed to have twins.

A gamut of feelings rushed into me as I waited some more in the hospital – guilt for my earlier feelings about the baby, concern for Pauline, confusion as to why this happened, and just a profound sense of grief.

I spent the next day with Pauline and the kids. When I gazed at my kids, I felt the pang of loss even more – I could never look at them again and feel like a complete family.  There was that what-if.

Twins.

And so I bombarded God with my confused and angry why’s. Why give and then take away? Why was this part of the journey necessary? Why?

This would dominate my prayer time for the next few days, until I just veered off from praying altogether.

Last night I had Sharedmeal with my small group from community. It was a venue where we all broke bread together and shared God’s Word.

It was last night when I realized something about myself – that I was always attached to the answer.

It began to make sense.

I realized that I have very low EQ as far as waiting for the answer is concerned.

I would read wikipedia to check how a popular TV series would unravel. I would fight myself from doing the same thing with fiction. I absolutely hate and would have no patience on what I call “irrational traffic” – traffic jams which just had no explanation.

It was also precisely why I always asked “why.”

I would always recount the difficult things which have happened in my life and then quickly identify the bigger reason why God allowed those difficult things. This gave me a strong sense of closure and satisfaction.

I concluded that my faith was heavily tied onto the answer. When a difficult thing would happen to me, I would remain faithful because I know that soon, God will provide an answer.

I realize now though, that in some instances, no answer would be given. Sometimes, I just would never understand why.

For my faith to grow, I would have to let go of this attachment. I would have to accept that this Great God of ours has every right to give and to take away, that there is nothing that is truly mine, that in greater scheme of things, nothing else truly matters except for loving and following Him.

Even if it hurts. Even if it doesn’t make any sense.

I don’t know why I’m sharing this here, in a startup blog, of all places.

Perhaps it is to release. Perhaps a part of it is. (thank you then for listening)

But the bigger reason really is to just to express that life is so much more than startups and innovation and the bottom line. (and I think you know how passionate I am about those topics)

Life is about your parents and your relationship with them. It is about your kids and how much time you have for them. It is about being true to yourself. It is about the simple joys. It is about seeing the beauty of the world despite frustration and problems. It is about being there for a friend. It is about not merely IF you are making money but HOW you are doing it. It is about how you treat the people around you, especially those below you. It is about pain and how you grow from it (which is why you should always be dubious with “abundance” mongers) It is about getting up.

Most of all, life is all about filling that gaping emptiness we feel in our chests. We try filling it with money, romance, friends, booze, and even work. Sooner or later though, the hole proves too big to fill, doesn’t it?

We need to fill it with God. Only then would things be complete.

The biggest leap isn’t the great startup leap.

It’s still the leap of Faith.

Comments

  1. Elizabeth Hofer says:

    So sorry for your grief and I pray God’s Spirit of Comfort over you. I hope you find this article helpful. http://escapetoreality.org/2010/08/02/does-god-give-and-take-away/

Trackbacks

  1. [...] don’t think I’ve ever felt pain like this (as with Peter, who has his own story to tell here). I couldn’t seem to get over the violence of it all–like a big chunk of my soul, my being, [...]

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