Tonight, my heart is aching terribly as I grieve the lives lost in Sutherland Springs this morning. I have cried and prayed all day but I still cannot fathom why something so terrible would happen. I just keep thinking that it could have been us. It could have been my children orphaned. It could have been me widowed. It could have been our family and friends. It could have been James or Micah or Isaiah or April. We made it back home from our church today. I hugged and kissed my kids and tucked them into bed tonight. But not far from me, there are parents who did not get to do that. Children whose parents will not get to see them grow up. And I ache for them.
We know that we live in a fallen, sinful world. But we manage to forget. We live our lives and worry about the little things that don’t really matter. Then something like this happens and we are reminded of the pain all around us. That there are people hurting right now, all over the world, in our states, our towns, our neighborhoods. And they desperately need the hope we have in Jesus. Today, and in the coming days and weeks, people will ask why. Why would this terrible thing happen? I have asked that myself. But many more will ask a different question: Why would a good God allow something like this to happen? To His people. And the best answer I have is this:
I don’t know.
I have no idea. But I know God. And I trust Him.
Last month, Micah and I had a moment that has really stuck with me. I was trying to get him to do something (I can’t remember what) but he was too scared to do it. Whatever it was, it was something that needed to be done, and something Micah was capable of doing. He was very nervous though, and on the verge of tears. Instead of scolding him for disobeying or being afraid, I took his hands in mine, looked into his eyes, and calmly asked him a question. “Micah, do you trust me?”. He waited for just a second, but then nodded his head, and without any hesitation, did what I told him to do. He didn’t know what the outcome would be. He didn’t understand why he needed to do it, or why I wouldn’t step in and do it for him. But he knows me. I have proven, time and again, my love for him. He knows that my desire is to see the best outcome for him even if that means some temporary fear or discomfort. My love for him proved me worthy of his trust.
My love for him proved me worthy of his trust.
When James and I had only been married for about 10 months, I found out that I was pregnant. We were so excited. Although we were disappointed that we hadn’t gotten much alone time, we were thrilled to be expecting our first child. When I was eleven weeks along, we lost the baby. It’s caused a heartache in me that is impossible to put into words. And for a short time, I was angry with God. Why would he let this happen? We weren’t even trying to get pregnant! How could God allow me to conceive, allow us to share our excitement, and begin preparing for our lives as parents, only to take it all away so quickly?
This moment was a defining moment for me in my relationship with God. And I began to see that God’s goodness and love for me are not dependent on the circumstances of my life. Do I know why we lost our baby? No. God has not given an answer, though I have wondered many times. I have been able to comfort others who have gone through the same thing. And my relationship with God is much stronger through learning to rely on Him even through pain and devastation.
We have faced many difficult circumstances since that day. We have been hurt, heartbroken, sick, scared, and sometimes even angry. But God’s love for me has proved Him worthy of my trust. He has shown me through every high and low of my life that He is worthy of my praise, my trust, my life.
I do not know why 26 people lost their lives this morning. I cannot even begin to comprehend the depth of the pain their families, friends, and community are feeling and will continue to feel as they cope with this devastating loss. But I know a loving, good, God. And He is worthy of our trust in the good times and in the bad.
Psalm 56:3, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”
I pray that many will come to a relationship with Christ through this tragedy. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. If you are unsure of what happens when you die, please contact me or another believer. Jesus is the only way to guarantee an eternity in Heaven. He loves you more than you can understand, and he desires a relationship with you. He has already provided the atonement for our sin debt, all you have to do is repent and accept Him.