You are hanging from a rope over a yawning chasm. Your climbing partner has just plunged into the abyss right before your eyes and has met with a terrifying, horrible death. And there you are, alone and afraid, twisting in the wind at the end of your rope, stunned at the loss of your friend.
What happened? Did my friend’s rope fail? Will mine? Will I end up smashed to pieces on the rocks, too? Was I sold an inferior, defective length of rope? How stupid we were to trust a skinny bundle of fibers with our lives. Fear and doubt creep into your mind.
So you cut the rope that holds you because you no longer trust it.
In the wake of child loss, it seems many parents, even believing parents, find their trust in God has been severely shaken. They may become angry at God. Or they hold themselves at a distance from Him. They are reserved in their relationship with Him. They may stop praying or attending church. They open the Bible and stare at the words without reading.
They feel betrayed.
While this is understandable, this is not how it should be. The hard work of grieving and sorrowing should be a time when trust is solidified, like a concrete footing curing on a foundation of bedrock. Bereavement can and should be a time of spiritual growth. But true growth is not something we can experience without God’s help. If we fight Him, life can become much more difficult than it needs to be while compounding our sorrow and creating new problems.
Sure, you can get back to the business of living, pull yourself up by your boot straps and “move on”, as they say. You can “survive”. But, unless we trust the Lord and have confidence that He does all things well, we can never become more Christ-like. Without trusting Him for the plan He has for us and our children, we will not be able to receive the full measure of the grace He is waiting to pour into us.
Trusting God is not a “just do it” kind of thing. It is a gift God bestows on a well prepared soul, one that has been carefully cultivated by the Spirit of God and taught the attributes of God from Scripture before the loss occurs.
When you know and believe who God is and what He says about Himself, you have a rock solid foundation on which to stand when the great sea billows of life crash over you. Knowing Him well is the best and only preparation for whatever life throws at us.
God’s truth – His trustworthiness – is the pillow upon which we can rest our head in the still hours of the night. Anchored to Him, His truth permeates our sorrow, infusing it with the blessed aroma of His peace.
But what about those who have been blind-sided by loss completely unprepared? Those who are now groping in the dark for something, anything, to muzzle the catastrophic pain. They crawl among the shards and splinters of their heart, gazing at photographs, glassy-eyed in astonishment, wondering…
“How could this have happened?
And in their pain, they wall up their heart, denying access to the only One who can help them…
They cut the rope.
I know of moms who firmly believe their children are in Heaven and plan on joining them there someday, but at the same time, they are terribly angry at God and want nothing to do with Him. Trust God? No, I do not, they say. When I get to Heaven I will find my child and go spend eternity somewhere in the no-God-allowed section.
So, what is the answer for the unprepared? The answer is still God. He is merciful. He can meet you in an instant right there in your pain and show you the wonders of Himself. There is no one else you can trust totally because people are just people. Only God is God.
The alternative to trusting God is to not trust Him. To not believe Him. To deny His power, His love, His existence. To not trust Him means I must trust something else – some other person or god or man made “ism.”
But there is nothing else. There is nothing and no one that delivers what God can deliver:
Peace that passes all understanding.
Trust in myself? I am a person of fairly average ability. If I wanted to, I could probably be an executive, or a journalist, or a teacher. I can bake good bread. I can organize the un-organizable. And I’m a pretty good shot. There are many things I can do.
But I cannot raise the dead.
If I cannot trust God, or if He does not exist, then I will never see Hans again and there is no purpose for anything that happens, either good or bad. In fact, with no God there is no good or bad other than what I decide for myself and what you decide for yourself and what evil people decide for themselves.
By definition, God is good and God is love. Therefore, everything He does is good. I trust Him on that basis. I do not trust that He will do what I want or spare me pain. I do not trust what I believe about Him.
I trust HIM because He is wise and He loves me.
I do not trust in my limited understanding. I trust God, the One who knows best. My son is safe and happy with God. Our separation is temporary. I will see him again. God’s Word says so. God does not lie. I trust what He said.
I am hurting. I will always hurt to some degree. I do not want to waste any of this pain. I want to extract all God has for me in this colossal thing that has happened to us. I do not want to miss the lessons. This must not be for nothing.
With a full and hurting heart, I want to be the one singing the loudest, smiling the brightest, loving the fullest so that God gets all the glory. This will take time, I know. But I want it known right now that our Lord is worth it. That knowing Him is everything and trusting Him is easy because He is Holy and True and Faithful and Good.
How can I not trust Him?