My heart is heavy this week because I have had dear friends and even some strangers attacked by tragedy. Unexpected death of a parent, contracting an illness while doing God’s work, stillborn baby, failed cycles, adultery in a Christian marriage, birth defects in the womb….pain after pain after pain. Some of these tragedies I cannot directly relate to (Praise God or maybe just not yet), but they all fall under the big umbrella of “Why God?” Being confused with God is something I can relate to very well. When I speak with people directly going through the storm, I can look back and reflect that I have been there…that lonely, angry, and confusing place. Even as a Christian, hearing the words “This is all part of God’s plan” stings. It burns in fact. How could God want my child to die? How could God be okay with the death of my father? How could God see a baby suffer?
The truth is He doesn’t. I think people often confuse this. He is just as angry as we are that we live in a fallen world. God is grieving the utopia He intended it to be with us. God grieves with us and that is the first truth I share with people hurting: Let God cry with you. He understands every pain we feel-especially betrayal. He can hold every tear, so let Him-let it out because it is needed.
The next truth I share is “It is okay to get mad.” As Christians, we feel guilty if we are angry about our circumstance. I mean who promised us a pain free life anyway? After all, God knows best and this is part of God’s plan so we must accept it. But, I don’t know about all that. I think God is angry too about the injustices of this world and I think He is powerful enough that He can take our rants. Hiding them from Him won’t work–just be careful that you do not forget you are talking to God. And remember as angry as you are-He still loves you. I stood in my hallway and wailed at God. I screamed, cried, hit, and complained. I let it be known that I have had enough and I was over all this—He listened. Later, he comforted and then put people in my path that could pick me up. I tell people that what you are feeling is real and meaningful and it is okay to be mad that bad things happen because it is hard.
I share with others to take the time you need to grieve. I took a day off and just was still. I allowed myself to be numb and separate from my surroundings. I needed to embrace the pain. Take a vacation, take a day or an afternoon, but grieving is not a bad thing and being still can actually give you the best chance possible to hear God’s voice and feel God’s presence. In that stillness He will say “I love you” and will give you the wisdom you need to move forward, but often we get so busy trying to fix it that we fail to let God take control. Let him.
Finally, tragedies like these and many others that I have not named or experienced are the best reminder that we are not home. This Earth and all its beauty is not the end. Sadness, sorrow, grief, tragedy, death, sickness etc. should make us more homesick than ever. It should make us eager to be home in Heaven. I saw a poster recently asking if you could speak to anyone from the past, while here on this Earth, who would it be? My first thought was my grandparents, but then I rethought it. Why would I take them away from Heaven to be here? How selfish to pull them from paradise! This place may feel pretty great, but they get to experience perfection every day…so keep them there-they are home.
My heart hurts for you if you are suffering during this season of your life. I pray that you will be reminded it is a season and seasons change. Sorrow will endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Even if you (like me) suffered in part from your own sin, knows God’s goodness is even bigger than your shortcomings and God’s grace is larger than we can ever fathom or deserve. Although, God does not place horrible things in our lives…He does bring good from them. Somehow or someway…maybe not immediately, but good will come from it eventually. It might be a connection from a blog like this, an opportunity to encourage or comfort someone in pain, a foundation or organization to help others that was birthed in the pain of loss, an adoption of a child that would not have come any other way, a birth of twins after many failed cycles…the list goes on. But God’s promises are true and He is good even when He does not make sense.
The good news is: I can say with certainty that the trials that have been placed in my life have given me wisdom and built my character. Through faithfulness, God has redeemed every mistake or sin I made and brought beauty from ashes. I am also thankful that I have been spared from a lot of hurt that I probably deserved. Just remember that-we all hurt at some point and no one (not even Christians) are exempt from pain. During these times of deep sadness, I can also declare great victories. I can rejoice and celebrate with new births, new families, healing, reconciliation, promotions etc. Often times the hard times bring an appreciation of the good times and victories come from defeat.