“You’ve lost two people in two weeks,” she said to me.
I was too numb to be bothered by the reminder.
“Now, two months later, someone else you know recently passed. Sometimes I feel like God lets these things happen to teach us something.”
I tried taking control of my emotions, choosing which one I wanted to experience as a reaction to her words. I didn’t feel like hurting any more than I was. Anger toward a person who is helping me didn’t seem right either. Joy? No. There isn’t joy in this. I remained silent unable to choose.
She motioned her mouth as to speak, but said nothing. Even sound falls silent when grief strikes. She tried again. This time more successfully.
“Well…” choosing her words cautiously, “…what have you learned so far?” A silence broke so heavy you could hear a mouse pee on cotton, as my aunt would say.
Then she whispered “anything?” into a hopeful sigh.
“Grief has taught me a few things. Not only about death, but trials and struggles too,” I said calmly.
Light-brown eyes glared toward me and I felt her presence lean in my direction. She was doing what most considerate people did. Showing she’s here and interested, attentively listening, but also providing me with the time and space needed to sift my wisdom through the emotions suffocating it.
Part of me didn’t want to admit it, but I did so reluctantly, “Even when it seems He is not, God is still good.”
“Wow. Crazy you can say that. Really?”
“Yeah. I believe God does know best. Sometimes lives are preserved through God’s grace of keeping us here on earth. Other moments, it’s preserved even greater through the glory of Him calling us home.”
Stopping to exhale and inhale was a practice I picked up without realizing it. Minutes passed with me doing this. Hard conversations require space in between sentences.
“It doesn’t make me feel any better, but it would if I had His full understanding. So yes, I’m learning even when it does not seem like it God is still good. And because He is God, He has the power to bless life even through death.”
God is still good. I’ve had to repeat that to myself several times, and almost daily. It keeps me from being frustrated with Him and remembering His grace follows us into eternity.
It reminds me the details I fail to know now will one day be the reason I have peace later. I know. “If ignorance is bliss ‘tis folly to be wise,” but this isn’t old literature. It’s God, and sometimes us not knowing “the why” when we are already going through a hard time protects our heart more than we think it does.
What if we learned the reason we lost our love one is because we couldn’t appreciate presence and had to learn the hard way by absence? If we learned the death was rooted in something we could have directly changed, or we were the trigger for something?
What if the “why God” is really “us?” I know. You don’t want to think about that. So, be thankful if that is the reason you don’t have the details of the “Why?”
Maybe the struggle is because you lacked responsibility, or character. You might be going through a trial because you’ve proven it’s not enough to learn the easy way.
Or maybe, just maybe, God is trying to build up our own strength instead of having us lean on our loved one instead. Perhaps God is showing us while death is a package deal with life, He is Lord over it all and can turn pain into purpose, progress, and healing in areas we didn’t know we needed it in.
Yet, God is awesome. He doesn’t leave us hanging and He created this thing called hindsight. You know, for when the initial shock of the struggle is over and we’re ready to handle the “whys” and “hows” of what we went through. And while it’s true He may never give us the exact details of why what happened, the way it happened, at that time in whatever way, I do believe He’ll give us enough perspective to make sense of it all.
My encouragement for those of us going through a really hard time now is this: remind yourself daily God is still good. God is as good in this chaos as His is in the stillness of our lives. He is as good in our questioning as He is in our understanding. He is God in our mourning as He is in our rejoicing.
In all things, His faithfulness is us being here. His love holds us when we cannot hold ourselves; if you think not, know this: God is never lost. The shadows you are experiencing is simply God walking before you, leading the way to healing and victory.