This thing I know. Life is precious.
Yesterday we struggled through a tough 24 hours, as I helped and watched my sweet baby girl endure an unfortunate and intense stomach virus. I sat with her, hurt for her, we prayed over and over for relief, for quick healing. The hours wore on. Lack of sleep made us both wish that God would answer a bit faster.
“Mom, why isn’t God helping me?” she moaned, “I’m not feeling better, does He hear us?” “Why does God let sickness be in the world?” “Why can’t He take it all away?” “Why do bad things happen?” “Why is God letting this happen to me?” The questions went on and on through her cries for help and relief as she sat on the bathroom floor. She’s my child who needs to understand the “why.” I relate to that. And during those hours, in the midst of the “suffering,” I wished that I could explain it more effectively than my fumbled words and weary heart seemed to explain.
“Oh baby, God IS helping you. He is with us. He is bringing you healing. He is protecting you. We just have to wait this out…” But those answers did not seem good enough. Not in the midst of the pain. Of the hurt. I longed to ease her pain. I wanted to erase it, to take her place. I didn’t want to see her hurting.
We later realized that it was in those very hours as we sat on our bathroom floor, that a tornado would wipe through a small town in Oklahoma wreaking more havoc and destruction on innocent lives than we could even begin to comprehend. Similar questions would come…from hurting parents who desperately searched for their missing children…from workers who sifted through debris…from those who waited for a rescuer to come. There would be cries for help from precious young lives. There would be pleas for relief from the devastation.
I can’t help but to think right now how even the hardest days in life are still huge blessings – because I can still hold my children, I can still tuck them into bed safely, I can still kiss them goodnight. Along with many of you, my heart is deeply grieving for the parents who can’t do that now. I hurt for the families of Oklahoma.
How does a child fully wrap their mind around the “why” of sickness and hurt in the world? The reasons why bad things happen to good people? The purpose of pain? How can you help a 6 yr. old understand such difficult truths? Or a 36 yr. old? Or a 66 yr. old?
The truth is – many of us – no matter what age – struggle with the “why.” It’s difficult to endure watching seemingly needless suffering and pain happen all around us – or to us – or to our loved ones. We wonder why God doesn’t choose to prevent it. We wonder why He allows some things to happen. We wonder where He was. We wonder what we’ve done to deserve it.
We long for comfort. We long to be blessed. We long to live without fear, without pain, without sickness. But it’s impossible to think that we can have all of that here. This world is not heaven. The very struggles we go through here will only point out our desperate need for God.
We live in a fallen, hurting world. When sin entered, sickness entered, pain entered, devastation entered. But in the midst of it all, God never left us. He choose to stay, He provided a way back to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ, and He longs to shield us from the pain this world may bring our way. God is not too busy to care. God is not asleep. He is not anxiously wringing His hands about what’s going to happen next or how He’s going to help us through whatever problems we may face.
Another thing I know and the very truth that carries me through difficulty in life is this one simple reality.
He is with us.
He is here. The world will taunt you with lies. It will tell you He doesn’t care. It will say “God is nowhere.” But God does care. And He is surely now here. He hurts with us in the pain. He holds us when we hurt. He carries us when we can’t go on. He works on our behalf in ways we may never fully know this side of heaven. He is preparing a better place for us ahead.
And He reminds me, just as a parent lovingly desires to ease the pain of their child, to erase their hurt, to protect them, to cover them – as I did for Gracie yesterday – as many of you have done over and over for your own children at many different times through life – so God desires to do the same, for us, His children.
Jesus loves me this I know.
He will never leave us.
“Lord, we pray for the many in Oklahoma who hurt today, for those whose lives have forever changed in one brief second. Be with them. Be their Mighty Rescuer. Be their Peace. Be their Comfort.”
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18