I know I've been a bit absent the last few days. What can I say? Life came a callin' and I had to answer. It's been a busy week here.... and will be a busy next week as well. My good good friend and her family lost their youngest son this past weekend. He was just shy of one year. He was a total doll. See:
Life can be so unbelievably cruel and undiscriminating in it's cruelness sometimes. It is impossible to make sense of or understand. And yet.. at the same time... life can be so good elsewhere.
My sister's wedding is approaching, my friend just found out her assumed ectopic pregnancy is in fact a perfectly healthy and viable one, other of my friends are about to have babies... and so on. These seemingly two realities are so far removed from each other..... it's hard to reconcile that they are in fact one reality.
I remember my first pregnancy loss. My daughter was less than a year old when I found myself pregnant again. Despite the knowledge that it would be difficult to handle two small children, I was beyond thrilled. I was a bit nervous because I had delivered our daughter by c-section and I wondered if my body was up for it again. Turns out it wasn't. I was crushed. I told myself that the short time between the c-section and falling pregnant was to blame. It all happened so fast... I hardly had time to process being pregnant before I wasn't anymore. I was able to move on in time.
Fast forward a few years.... and I found myself pregnant again. I remember thinking I was in the clear because in my mind... "lightning doesn't strike the same place twice". Wrong again.
It's actually a popular myth.
Loss struck again. I was much further along this time... almost out of the "danger zone". I broke. I remember feeling like not only was I shattered.... I was pounded to dust. How do you put dust back together? You can't just take the pieces and glue them. They need to be melted back down to liquid and poured all over again. That's the best way I can describe my healing journey. Beyond being shattered, I then had to be melted. Many things went on during that time to compound my sense of loss. The details are not important now.......... I choose daily to live in the present.
The question on my mind (and on the mind of anyone hurting) is this:
How can an all loving and good God allow tragedy to befall those His word says He loves?
In the weeks that followed our loss, I had no interest in the answer to this question. All I cared about was the presence of it in my mind. I started doubting that God loved me at all. Only now in hindsight to I see how self-focused (understandably) I was during this time. My pain, unchecked, went out of control into depression. People would say, "I'm praying for you" and I would literally respond with.... "that's good... cuz I'm not". I stepped away from worship ministry at church and isolated myself. It took a while, but time does indeed soften. I remember my first prayer in a while being... "Lord, show me how to pray again" The Lord spoke to my heard telling me, "Tell me what you are feeling". So then my prayer was, "Lord.. I'm angry. I don't understand why when good things happen we say 'Praise the Lord' but when bad things happen, I'm wrong to blame you. Do you even love me at all?" The Lord brought the His son to my mind. Everything He endured... the cross.... out of love for me. The fact that He understood suffering and that His was borne out of love for me resonated with me. I came to realize that my salvation alone was reason enough to worship Him. I knew that if the ONLY thing He EVER did for me was offer me salvation, that that alone was worth my worship. With that realization, I rejoined the worship team at church. I started to interact with people again. I started living again. Only after these wheels were set in motion, did I really start to heal. You can't steer a non-moving car. Really. Have you ever tried to turn the wheels of a car in park? As soon as it starts rolling... however slow it may be... all the sudden you can turn the wheel easily. In the same way, I had to start rolling before the Lord took the wheel and pointed me in the right direction.
I still had that plaguing question in my mind though. I knew that the Lord is good... His word says that. But I didn't understand how His goodness allowed for the bad in the world. Significantly further along in my healing process... I decided to find an answer. Now... scripture says, "who can know the mind of the Lord... or offer Him any counsel?" Is. 40:13. I know that I'll never have my "why". What the Lord has shown me is that I do not need it. Here's what it comes down to. I ask myself this: Why am I here? What is my purpose in life? Why was I created? I submit to you this answer:
"The chief purpose in life is not happiness, but the knowledge of God" William Lane Craig in "Hard questions, Real answers"
We forget that the idea that our goal in life is to be happy, is the American Dream, not the Lord's promise. The knowledge of God will bring true and eternal happiness, and validity to our existence. Many evils occur in life, which may be pointless with respect to the goal of achieving human happiness; but they may not be pointless with respect to producing a deeper knowledge of our Lord. Human suffering offers the opportunity to depend deeper on Jesus, not only for ourselves, but for the people around us. Whether the Lord's purpose is achieved is dependent on our response to Him. Do we become bitter? Or do we cry out to Him? It takes balancing the heart and the mind. Our heart tells us we hurt and need to place blame. Therefore, we blame the Lord. Our minds however are armed with the knowledge of the Lord, and tells us He is good and faithful and deserving of our trust. Don't listen to the world that tells you to follow your heart. That worldly line of thinking is straight from the devil. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that the heart is deceitfully wicked above all things. When your heart tells you one thing.. and your mind and scripture tells you another, the mind must always triumph. This is my biggest battle. I have to nail my emotions daily to the cross.
Another thought from Dr. Craig's book is this:
"God's purpose is not restricted to this life, but spills over beyond the grave into eternal life."
This is our hope... our promise of what awaits us as reward for our faith in Jesus. This life is but a moment..... "a cramped and narrow foyer opening up into the great hall of God's eternity" and I am so excited to be reunited with my children in heaven. That dust that was melted down to liquid was then re poured into a completely different pot. I don't even resemble the person I was before. I have been forever altered. I've been recycled if you will.
There is good in the world. There is more good than bad in the world in fact. If there was no hope, promise of better days, all the world would be suicidal. Even when things are bad, we have the sense that we can hope for a better tomorrow. I now have my beautiful Rainbow Baby... my son.... and our family has been blessed in this past year. I'm not so foolish as to think that I won't experience hard times again at some point... I have been reminded this past week that we are not promised tomorrow. I have also seen, however, that everything has a season... including suffering. Good times will return. We have been given a blessed hope.....
So, with a deeper dependence on Jesus, I face this next week where I'll attend a very sad funeral, and a joyous wedding in one weekend. Such contradictory emotions, but both part of the Lord's plan for me. Pray for my friend's family. They are in the thickest part of the darkness. Pray that the Lord reveals His glimmer of hope to them. Pray that the enemy would be bound from sowing further discord. Pray that the body of believers would be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit and rise up to comfort in this time of need for their family. Lord, if you would allow it, use me to minister your love an peace.
It makes me think of this song:
Truer words are rarely sung.
Karson Haefele~ I know you don't hear these words, but I take comfort in knowing that rather than my words, you get the distinct privilege of hearing the voice of Jesus Christ. You are at this moment wrapped literally in the loving hands of your heavenly father. There are no arms here on earth that could hold you with as much love as those. That being said, you are so passionately and painfully missed. Not a day will go by as long as they have breath that your Mother, Father, Brother and Sister will not miss you. You made big changes in your short life. We look forward to the day that we will be reunited with you in the presence of Jesus. Enjoy paradise, worshiping our Lord with my children that are there with you.
Lord~ Help us to keep our eyes on you and not to be taken under by the stormy waves all around us. With our eyes on you, we can walk on the waters. Even still... come quickly Lord Jesus!
Job 13:15, "Though he slay me, yet I will hope in him."
Edited to add:
If you would like to help my friend's family out with their funeral expenses, you can find the information here:
Every little bit helps. Thanks!