Lately my blog posts have focused more on DIY and design. I haven’t written any “from the heart” posts recently because what is currently on my heart is difficult to express and hard to think about.
About a month ago my husband came home with the news that a little boy from my daughter’s Sunday school class, at the precious age of two, died in his sleep. My first reaction was disbelief, my second was a fierce anger towards God (which was already lingering under the surface due to some other life circumstances).
My husband has a hard time listening to me lashing out against God, accusing Him of being cruel rather than loving…so I phoned Pastor Chris, otherwise known to me as my big brother Topher. Since my brother became a Christian ten plus years ago he has been a source of comfort, knowledge, and understanding for me. He also recently published a book on suffering (Suffering With God) and I knew that he would be a good person to sound my angry grief off of.
As a pastor of a large church (not to mention a human being) he is no stranger to grief, or the anger and confusion that often accompanies it. To his credit, he did not try to comfort me with pat words, nor did he cringe away from my blasphemous tongue. What he did say made all the difference to me as I processed this sad news and acted like an off switch on my anger.
He reminded me that in these times it is not particularly helpful to focus on the fact that God is sovereign, but rather that he chose to send his son. During our lives we can never understand why God allows these things to happen therefor focusing on the “why” of things is not helpful. What is helpful is to look at Jesus.
As my brother writes it, “Christianity [is] the only theistic worldview in which the Creator God stepped into creation to suffer with us, for us, and ultimately to take all suffering away from us”(Suffering with God, pg.7). During his time on earth Jesus experienced grief. He wept over the loss of his friend Lazarus, even knowing that he would raise him back to life again, and he experienced anger over the destruction caused by death. And he did something about it. He died on the cross and declared victory over death and presented us with the great gift of eternal life.
So there is hope. Death is not the end for this little boy. He is safe in God’s loving arms and as they wait to meet their son again, his parents are embraced by a loving God who can understand the grief of losing a son.
I know all these things. I have known them from a young age. But I needed these truths to be spoken to me again. I needed to be reminded that while God is all powerful, He is not a distant and cold God. I see God’s heart through Jesus’ tears shed during his time on earth. I know that as I cry, as this boy’s family grieves, Jesus weeps with us. God knows the plans He has for this family, He is all powerful, but He also knows that we cannot understand these plans yet. And so He weeps with us in the present and gives hope to us for the future. This is what brings me comfort.