I’m glad October is over. It wasn’t one of my better months. Really, It was one of those months that I wish hadn’t even happened. It was a hard month. A month full of questions and heart ache and brokenness – on so many levels and in so many lives.
I’m thankful for my faith though, a faith in a God that loves me in ways I can’t even comprehend. and I’m thankful that my faith in my God can carry me through those valleys when life does not make sense. It is this tension, this tension of being angry with God, of wanting to blame him, of wrestling with why things happen the way they do when God is big enough to prevent them and at the same time somehow trusting in the goodness of God when you can’t see that goodness. This is where I’ve been the last few weeks. Sitting in the midst of this tension – not just for myself but struggling through this tension with others in mind wondering how they can or if they will still trust in the goodness of God.
I had just picked out a little pair of wellies for Asher when my phone rang. It was my dad and as soon as I answered I knew something was wrong. My uncle, his youngest brother had been in a car accident that morning on his way to work and he was killed. My uncle who I had grown up with because he’s not that much older then me – was killed. He had a beautiful young wife of 7 years and two beautiful little girls who now have to wade through life without a husband or father. Can you begin to see the tension I have with God?
My grandmother is now grieving for her 3rd child. She has had to bury 3 of her 8 children and I cannot imagine the pain or the heart ache. And she certainly has her struggles, but as I asked her how she was doing after the funeral she said to me, ‘Jamie, I don’t know how people get through stuff like this without their faith, it is hard and I yell at God a lot, but I can’t get through this without my faith’. One of my uncles said pretty much the opposite to me as he buries his 3rd sibling. He said to me,’Jamie, I don’t know how people can believe in God when something like this happens.’. The tension, seeking God for answers that really are unanswerable.
How do I believe in a good God when a young husband and father is killed in a car accident on his way to work? How does anyone? How do you continue to trust God and love God and believe that he loves you when marriages fail or children are killed or young soldiers go off to war and come home in a coffin? or when a young person is diagnosed with cancer, or as you walk through a children’s hospital and wonder at the fate of those sick children? How do you continue to declare God is good when children are abused and neglected and families all over the world are starving to death and really, I could go on and on with the ‘bad’ that is happening to all people all over the world.
And here is my response… I just do. I just do believe in the goodness of God when nothing else makes sense. I believe in the holiness of God’s plan when the worlds plans bring about heart ache and pain. I believe in a God who wants us so desperately that he allowed his own son to die on a cross in order that we might be saved and a God who does that for me is a good God who loves. And he’s a God who knows what it is like to grieve and to have a broken heart because he grieves over us and his heart breaks for us. He cries when we cry. He feels our pain because his love for us is so intense and so immeasurable because we are HIS children. He is a good God because he gives us a hope that goes beyond what the world gives us - a hope that is a promise of a world where there is no sorrow and no tears and no more mourning. And when this world offers heartache – I need to put my hope in something that is greater, in something that is certain and that certain hope is in Jesus Christ.
And so, this month as I pray for Mandy as she lives this new life without her husband and as I pray for Kathryn and Elizabeth as they miss their dad, as I pray for my own dad and my uncles and aunt as they grieve yet another sibling and for my Nana as she feels the heart ache of losing another child – I will trust in the goodness of God.
This month as I parent my two children in the midst of exhaustion and a body that is run down emotionally and physically from grieving not just my uncle but also a body that is grieving and recovering from an early miscarriage that just occurred, and as I pray for God’s plan to be fulfilled in my own family and with my own body I will trust in the goodness of God who loves me and heals me and has a perfect plan for me and John and Asher and Hannah.
And quite frankly, nothing that the world could offer me can even begin to compare to the the hope and the grace and the mercy and the love that God my Savior gives to me, freely - just because. And I want that. I want what Jesus has for me even if that means temporarily having to trudge through the heartache of the world.
And that is how I continue to trust in God and in his goodness when tragedy strikes and when life is hard and when it doesn’t make sense. Because God in his goodness, loves me despite my ugliness. And I celebrate that. And I rejoice in that. And I long for the day when my heart will never again break because I will be as God created me to be – fully and gloriously praising God face to face.
Life is hard and painful and unfair, but God is good. I will not ever be shaken, because God is good.