Parent update – and some hard questions for God

Jesus said – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be
Great is Thy faithfulness, great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me

– author Derek Maul lives and writes in Wake Forest

This post is going to include a bit of an update on my parents as well as some theological reflection. Remember as you read that my goal in this space is always authenticity. I try to think out loud, and to offer a take on truth that is at once both honest and encouraging.

It is not my intention to foster doubt, or to offend anyone’s spiritual sensibilities – but there is no point in inspiration that is not anchored in a true story.

This whole situation is challenging to my experience of faith. Not my belief in the fact of God – that is not in question, but I am struggling with how big ideas such as my understanding of God’s compassion, and God’s personal interest in the lives of particular people, play out in the day-to-day reality of good people like my parents.

My mother turns 90 in week and a half, and I’m sure I will write more about her history then, but longevity for both mum and dad seems less of an achievement and more of a burden. And I am having some pointed conversations with God about the justice in that.

Because both my parents have not just lived long lives they have lived good lives, faithfully and lovingly serving God, always giving of themselves generously, always practicing Christ’s calling to “love your neighbor as yourself…”

Good lives and hard questions:
– Dad, Mum, and Max this week

Thursday was a beautiful day in Wake Forest, with milder temperatures. So I took dad up the driveway and around the cul-de-sac for a walk. It was a bright moment in a difficult week but even the bright moment took more from dad in effort than it gave back in joy.

Friday, we had to visit the oral surgeon for some extractions, and the ordeal was almost more than dad could bear. Getting him out of the clinic and into my car was an adventure I don’t want to repeat, and the long afternoon and evening of post surgical care at home was almost too much for me.

It is not my intention to whine here, or to look for sympathy so much as to open a conversation about this disconnect I feel sometimes between faith in a personal and compassionate God and this difficult (and I believe unfair) chapter of my parents’ lives.

Not to chip away at the edges of faith, but to invite some deeper thinking in terms of understanding.

Me and God are going to be okay, I know that, but we are going to continue to have words so long as my parents suffer.

Peace – and I mean that in every way – DEREK


  1. Derek, consider how your parents must feel blessed by knowing they raised a son who so lovingly cares for them. Certainly there are times of pain and difficulty for them, but I bet there are quiet, reflective moments when they realize that they’ve “done good” with their lives, in many, many ways.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Bob said it best. Your parents have a good son. Derek, I loved the phrase “less of an achievement and more of a burden”. Living to be 90 or any age is only great IF there is quality of life. Before my mother passed away, she said she did not want to be a burden to me. SO there must be a balance between the two. Bless you all.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand. We just visited my husband Paul’s parents for “vacation” in Alabama. His Mom is 91 and asked us repeatedly who we were. She really isn’t mobile and is angry. That may be the last time we see her. She asked why she is still living. We have no answers, just a vivid memory now of a life slowly being erased.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your thoughtful response, Deb. I am grateful that my parents are not angry, and they are so very gracious – they likely have more peace about their situation than I do!


  3. It’s hard dealing with mortality every day of life. But the hope we are promised is a blessed assurance that God is faithful. I believe, as you, that there is nothing wrong with questioning God. In fact I believe he wants us to spend time asking difficult questions. We may never know all the details of why, but God loves for us to come to Him when we don’t understand life. It is our dependence on Him, along with our faithfulness, that he desires from us.
    I have never forgotten my Dad’s final years. He said he could not wait to get to heaven and see his parents and siblings. But first, he wants to see Jesus. He has a lot of questions to ask Him.
    You and my Dad both have a lot questions you want answers to. I do too. We may not get the answers in our lifetime, but rest assured we will in heaven, that is if we are not so busy praising God to even remember them.
    I know you will continue loving and caring for your parents. As care givers it is hard on us and we want answers. Be strong Brother Derek. Enjoy them while you have them and then look forward, as they are, to seeing them in again in a much more precious setting. God Bless!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your good words, Andy.
      I also believe Heaven will involve a lot of deep conversations with Jesus. I am confident there will still be much for me to learn, and I’m definitely looking forward to it. Peace to you, and you are appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Every time I think of your Mum, i see her radiant smile, which always seemed to start in her eyes, much like my own Mum’s.
    I have happy memories of both of your parents (not least was watching the first moon landing on TV in your house is Folkestone).
    Be blessed – and I know you will continue to be a blessing

    Liked by 1 person

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