From The Pastor's Desk

The Jim Conway Story

In last week’s bulletin, I quoted a story that James Dobson had in his book When God Doesn’t Make Sense.  This week, I would like to follow it up with another story from the same book.  This story involves a Christian pastor named Dr. Jim Conway whose daughter tragically had to have one of her legs amputated at the age of 15.  Leading up to the surgery, Dr. Conway had genuinely believed that God was going to heal his daughter so that she would not have to lose her leg.  Even up to the morning of the surgery, Dr. Conway believed that God was going to intervene.  Let’s pick up his account from this point-MP.

On the morning when the surgery was scheduled, I said to our physician, “Scott, as you go into the operating room, please verify that the cancer has been healed.  God is going to come through.  I’m sure.

He left and did not immediately return.  Forty-five minutes went by, and still, Sally [his wife], my other two daughters, and I sat in the waiting room.  An hour passed, and then two.  I began to realize that a lengthy medical procedure must be in progress.  Then the doctor came out and told me that they had amputated Becki’s leg.  I was absolutely shattered. . . .I was beating on the walls of the hospital and saying, “Where are You, God?  Where are You?”

I was in a state of shock and wandered down to the morgue in the basement of the hospital.  That’s where I felt I belonged, surrounded by death.  I was dealing with more than Becki’s surgery, as terrible as that was.  I struggled to handle the theological implications of what had happened.  I could not understand why God permitted this to happen. . . .

Dr. Conway then related how he voiced his frustrated, disturbed thoughts to a couple of close friends.

They didn’t condemn me even though I was so angry at God. . . .I didn’t have to worry that if I said something disturbing, maybe these guys would doubt God.  I didn’t worry about them giving up on me.  I didn’t have to hold anything in. . . .They let me deal with the pain. . . .

Sometimes we get so used to the “cheer-up” mode in Christianity that we become unreal.  I almost heard people saying to me in those days.  “Shhhhh!  Don’t say those things.  What if God hears them?”

As if God didn’t know what I was thinking and struggling with!  God knew what I was going through, and He understood my passion.  My love for Becki originated with Him in the first place.  So who would I be trying to fool by covering up the agony of my soul?

Probably the most important thing I learned in this entire process was this:  I became deeply aware that there were only two choices that I could make.  One was to continue in my anger at God and follow the path of despair I was on.  The other choice was to let God be God, and somehow say, “I don’t know how all this fits together.  I don’t understand the reasons for it.  I’m not even going to ask for the explanation.  I’ve chosen to accept the fact that You are God and I’m the servant, instead of the other way around.”  And there I left it.

It was in that choice that I came to cope with my situation. . . .I have come to recognize that God has a higher purpose.  I am prepared to wait until eternity to receive answers to my questions, if necessary.  Like Job, I am now able to say, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15).  It’s either despair, or it’s the acceptance of His sovereignty.  Those are the alternatives. 

Let me say it again.  It’s either despair, or it’s God.  There’s nothing in between.  Our family has chosen to hold on to God.

Posted by Pastor Micah Perry on Aug.08, 2015