"In your life you are going to experience tragedy...If you haven't experienced it already I promise it is going to happen to you."
Even though I was young and didn't have much life experience in my back pocket I do remember hearing those words and thinking they had to be true. My life up until that point had been easy...perfect really. My parents were still together, my childhood was happy, I had opportunities that most kids only dreamed of and my future looked bright. When I was in that place it was hard to wrap my mind around what TRAGEDY in my life could look like or even feel like.
The speaker went on to say:
"You need to decide today... before that tragedy hits...who is the God that you serve?
I hid those words in my heart and over the years have thought about them a lot. I have studied the word of God and have come to believe that the God who I serve is one of love and faithfulness. I believe that in all things God works them together for good to those who love Him and, above all else I believe that God knows the plans He has for me and that they are good.
but the truth is... although I have chosen to believe these things, tragedy still brings up doubt.
15 years later and I now can say I know what it feels like to be going about your daily business with ache in your heart. Because I have witnessed tragedy.
Not even a year ago my best friends brother died suddenly from cancer and most recently, just a week ago today, my baby niece was born with some severe complications that caused brain damage. In both these tragedy's I found myself shaking my fist at God, and asking the tough questions like... WHY?
Why would you allow Mark to die at such a young age? He was one of your finest servants and he had so much potential, so much life ahead of him...and how could you let this happen to not just to any family but THIS family who I often admire because of their bond with one another, a closeness that is unusually refreshing and hard to find. WHY?
How could you allow this to happen to my beloved sister -in -law, that I know only you could have hand picked for me since she feels as close to me as any blood sister would? We were all so excited! Her pregnancy was text book! They were as ready and prepared as any parents could be, but not for this... WHY?
But in my rants of confusion and anger...God always meets me right where I ache. Right where it makes no sense to feel peace yet, there is peace. I have come to realize that God can bring life out of the ashes, he can turn sorrow into dancing. He turned Marks funeral into an unbelievably powerful worship service (that I know to this day is still changing the lives of those who witnessed it.) He is using my best friend to now minister to people who have experienced loss in ways she never could have before and it is beautiful to watch...yes beautiful, because only God can turn something so ugly such as cancer into beauty...that's the God I serve.
I pray and I cry out to God and the outcome is not always what I want it to be and, I will never understand that but, I have come to trust in the God that does.
So where do I go from here....what do I do with this remaining ache in my heart?
Just this morning I was crying out to God for a miracle for my baby niece and my mind went to all the people watching this play out that don't know God yet. I cried "God, just heal her...I know you can do it...just do it all ready!! Think of all the people who will come to know you because of it!!!" and I felt God whisper to my heart:
"But for now...just let them see me in you."
and that's it...that's all we can do friends. Show Jesus, Be Jesus, Live Jesus and in the mean time trust in his promises... It's all we can do.
"I've said these things to you so that you will have peace in me. In the world you have distress. But be encouraged! I have conquered the world." John 16:33
“He found him in a desert land,
and in the howling waste of the wilderness;
that flutters over its young,
spreading out its wings, catching them,
bearing them on its pinions.Dt. 32: 10-11