Today is the flip side to yesterday's hopelessness. Fertilizer for the seeds I spoke of. As I battle with fear and sorrow, or rather these two solitudes battle themselves out inside of me: I am learning. When all hope is gone, all sense of normalcy, the expected has disappeared, when all is dark and lost and broken, it only takes a very small spark to illuminate the darkness.

It is easy to demand a promise from God that after loosing Gabriel, we will not have to loose another child. It would seem fair to demand such a promise. We, as Christians, so often like to think of God as some strange Santa Clause. If I endure this much pain, this many miscarriages, if I refuse medical intervention, insist on only watering, cultivating the seeds that most women get, rather than the seeds I have, then God will give me a baby. It is faithfulness, we think, to continue to undergo pain and call it 'waiting on God'.

We confuse what is normal for our world, with what is God's will. We say that if it is normal for women to become easily pregnant, and if it is normal for women to give birth to a living baby with ease, then that must be God's will. Any other way is deviant, is out of order, is not in line with God's will. So, we say that if we drop our head in prayer, and refuse to confront the reality of our specific, different circumstances, God will notice and reward us. Obedience, perseverance, patience, they become a cost benefit equation, designed to trick God into rewarding us.

And I have been searching the Bible as Mr. Spit and I try to decide what to do. Very closely. I read of Sarah, who waited 100 years for her baby. And Issac was a joy to behold. I think of Mary. Who received her baby in an unexpected way, at the worst of all times. I think of another mother, who held a son born to die. I read of other people too. Those who lived lifetimes of pain and sorrow. Whose sorrow was never mitigated. Nothing in their life appeared to be fair. Those who were faithful and patient, and were rewarded with more pain and more sorrow.

I think of Job- who lost it all. Whom God allowed to loose it all, in a bet with Satan. His property, his belongings, his servants, even his children. He was left with a nagging wife and three friends who told him he must have done something wrong. He got it all back, you see. His house, his belongings, but not, his children. Those were gone. Instead, Job was given more children.

I wonder though, did he ever think of that first set? Surely he must have. Surely on birthdays and anniversaries, at weddings and at funerals. At the going down of the sun, and at its rising, he would have remembered those children. But he would have remembered this: In the midst of sorrow and pain, when all was stripped away. As his wife said "curse God and die", he would have remembered his own words:

I know that my Redeemer lives. And that in the end He shall stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God. I myself will see him, with my own eyes. I and not another.

A tiny light of hope. Fertilizer for the seeds I spoke of yesterday. I turn these words over in my mind. Glossed over in my Christian life, until I choose them for my son's funeral. I hold on to these words, feeling them come off my tongue. I think of the promises, and of the sorrow. I think of the end for Job, all restored but his first children, who could not be so easily restored to him. It interests me to read that Job's friends restored much of his wealth to him. But no human could give him back his children, and God, who could have, gave him other children instead.

I have learned this about hope about faith, about the Christian life. There is no moral imperative to have another child. There is no verse in the Bible that says "Mr. and Mrs. Spit, have another baby". God does not require us to do this. He does not hand out medals for blind faithfulness in another pregnancy. He does not expect that we will ignore significant risk, frightening statistics and blindly become pregnant. He does not necessarily expect us to plant the seeds that could kill us. He expects us to do the best we can with the circumstances, the seeds, we have. He is the God of all circumstances, not just the normal ones. We won't get extra points for going through the terror and danger of a second pregnancy. Heaven will not be any more or any less assured for us. He does not require us to go through X amount of pain before he blesses us.

I talked yesterday about my tendency to see life as a series of projects. God is not about projects. He is about process. God does not say "I will promise you that you will have another baby." He does not say "I will tell you how a next pregnancy will turn out." He says "Do you believe I will stand upon the earth? Do you believe that there will be an end, and that I am the master of it? Do you believe that I am larger than your fear, your sorrow, your frailty, your statistics?"

The point is not in knowing the answer. He doesn't want me to know the answer, He wants me to say "amen." It is not in mindlessly suffering pain that we learn about God. We learn about Him when we search Him out. And when we find Him, where we find Him, that's where we say "amen". A word that means, quite literally: so be it Lord, what your will is Lord. The point is in proclaiming that God is still God, in the midst of my sorrow, my pain, my worry, my joy, my delight, my heartache.

Amen came for me, perhaps, when I realized that a second pregnancy was not a requirement, not something that was going to get me extra points. God does not expect me to subject myself to mindless pain, because I think it will buy me what I want - a living baby. Realizing that it was just bad theology to go through mindless pain for the sake of an attempt at buying points from God. When I realized that there was no requirement, I could not buy any points, this was not a project, but a process, I became more free. To think about what I wanted, what Mr. Spit wanted. And we still don't completely know. But we can begin to gather information, make a decision that is informed. And pray for direction. In the interim:

I know that my redeemer lives.

That's the sum total of all I need to know.

In this place, in all places, I am learning to say amen.