Today my heart is aching.
I know I refer to my father’s passing a lot. It’s like I tell my employees, my greatest lessons have been learned on my hardest days. I remember after my dad was gone I asked God, “why didn’t you just tell me he wasn’t going to make it?” I heard his voice almost immediately answer back, “because you would have tried to make an excuse for me.” And He was right. I would have looked for a way to explain away my dad’s passing that would paint God in a better light. But that wasn’t the case.
As humans we always want answers. My toddlers favorite question is, “why?” And I know we’d like to think we’re far removed from these little guys … but really we’re not. Today I’m digesting the passing of two little girls from a nearby community. Two little girls that did nothing wrong. They were in the back of their families car when they were rear-ended by a semi. My heart hurts for the passing of these beautiful girls. I can’t imagine as a sibling what it would feel like to grow up with this void where your sisters once were, or the parents who picked up their girls early that day, or the driver of that semi who will live with this reality daily. These all lead back to one question, “why”?
I was listening to Bill Johnson a while back and he was being asked about his theology on pain and suffering. His answer was that he refused to create a theology about something that God didn’t. What he was saying was that God doesn’t initiate pain and suffering, so he refused to try to create an explanation on Gods behalf. I know many people take issue with this answer, but after experiencing personal tragedy I know that the normal, human thing is to try to find a box to put your pain and experience in. And as I read the Word I see that it says, “in this world you will have trouble, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world”. I also know it says that,”healing is the children’s bread”, and that “sorrow lasts for a night, but joy comes in the morning”. To put it simply, I don’t know why bad things happen to good people. I don’t know why bad things happen to bad people either. I just don’t. I’m learning that trusting God in my life doesn’t always mean things go according to plan, but it always, always means that at any moment it can all turn around.
As Christians we believe until there’s nothing left to believe. That’s something a pastor and friend once taught me. And it’s true. I won’t say things like,”they’re in a better place now”, or “God works in mysterious ways”, or “everything happens for a reason”. If I were in front of this mom tonight I wouldn’t say a thing. I would hug her, cry with her and pray for Gods powerful peace to guard her. But I wouldn’t try to make up reasons why terrible things happen.
I asked Jonah, what do you say? I know that there are certain things God has not called us to make peace with, and sickness or premature death are definitely two of them. What Jonah said snapped me out of the swirl of questions in my mind and back to the main point. He said, “that’s true, but there’s a difference between making peace with a situation, and letting the Prince of Peace reign over a situation.” We don’t have to “find a place” for it, but we do have to know Who reigns over it.
My friend who works at the school these girls attended sent me a picture two nights ago. She and the rest of the staff held a morning prayer service for the family this week. When one of the girls teachers returned to his classroom he found a dark room waiting for him. As he looked in the room he noticed a single beam of sunlight spilling through a window. That beam of light was resting solely on one of the girls desks. The only thing that cuts through darkness is light. That’s what I remind myself through times and trials that I don’t understand. Mourning is important … how we mourn is just as much so. The Word says that we don’t mourn like the world, because we have hope … we know hope … and when it’s darkest that’s when it’s needed the most.