I am a happily-married thirty-one-year-old woman. I have a teenage daughter who is fourteen years old and a five-month-old son. We wanted him very much! When we found out that we were going to have a boy, we jumped for joy. But the day he was born, we were in for a big surprise: he was born with a cleft lip and palate.

Because I cannot understand why God would send him that way, I have started to distance myself from God. I am afraid of what might happen in the future to my son and my family…. It’s all very confusing. Aren’t the blessings of God supposed to be perfect?

Dear Friend,

We are very sorry for the anguish that you are going through. The birth of a handicapped or deformed child is almost always reason for emotional turmoil. The questions and confusion are understandable. Thank you for consulting us.

For those who are not familiar with the cleft lip and palate, it is important to stress that these medical conditions are correctable by one or a series of surgeries. Those who do not have the medical resources or funds to pay for the surgeries should research the humanitarian options in their countries. Children with this condition are often eligible for donated medical services, or even treatment in another country, paid for by donations to an organization established for this purpose. Don’t give up until you find the services that your son needs. Ask every doctor you meet, and seek help from the government health agencies. Research more options on the Internet. Many times people don’t get what they need because they lose hope and don’t try to find help.

God is not offended because you question Him. However, it is important to read the Holy Scriptures to answer your questions about His blessings being perfect, and to find examples such as the following: Before becoming a very high ruler in Egypt, Joseph was sold as a slave by his own brothers and then imprisoned for years because of a crime he did not commit. Had he chosen to do so, while in prison he had plenty of time to complain and question God about such injustice.(1)

Jonah pleaded his case before God when he was in the belly of the great fish.(2) Daniel could have questioned God while staring down the ferocious beasts in the lions’ den, but his trust in God’s perfect purposes gave him the faith to go forward with confidence.(3) Paul the apostle spent much time in jail, and could have questioned God, but praised Him instead.(4) The Scriptures are full of accounts of people who did not receive the “perfect blessings” that you ask about. We recommend that you read the Bible to understand this concept.

God is not our personal assistant, working to make everything pleasing to us. But He has a perfect plan that will work out for our good (and the good of His Kingdom) when we trust Him.(5) We may never know the reasons why God acts as He does, but faith allows us to trust that He knows what He is doing. Faith that only accepts the good from Him is no faith at all.

We wish you and your family peace,

1 Ge 37:12-36; 39:1–41:57
2 Jon 1:17–2:10
3 Dn 6:16-23
4 Acts 16:12-34; Php 4:4-7
5 Ro 8:28