We want to know…why? Yes, there is sin in the world, and death and suffering, and so it will be until Jesus comes back. But why me? we ask. Why my child?
The answer to that question is far too complex for us to understand. I do not think, in any loss, the answer could be simple, because the life and death of an eternal being cannot be neatly packaged, labeled and placed on a shelf. The Why? questions cannot be satisfied by analyzing the possibilities and reducing them to simple, easy conclusions. And even if they could, would that make everything all better?
Why? is God’s business. It is a God-sized question. A better question is Why not me?
Every life touches so many others, not just in proximity, but over time. Just as a new life (no matter how small) changes everything, so, too, when that life departs, the impact of the loss effects, not only the character of the immediate family circle, but…well, the course of history. Only when we ourselves meet our Lord in the air, will we finally know the effect our child’s departure had on the world. Our child’s life, no matter how brief, mattered. It changed the dynamics of the sphere into which it was born. Likewise, a child who departs before birth or shortly after, has a profound influence on the people who loved it. A child not born is a loss to the whole world, and the lives of departed children, including those in obscure and seemingly insignificant circumstances, are used by God in ways only known to Him.
A number of us will see some evidence of what God accomplished through the lives of our departed children. Maybe someone will get saved or encouraged because of the testimony your child left behind. But, I think most of us will not see the half of God’s intricate and wonderful plan.
If God were to provide us with a full explanation of Why?, we simply would not have the capacity to comprehend it – it’s just too big. And knowing this helps me because it verifies what I already know: losing a child is huge.
I think this is why we may become irritated when a well-meaning person attempts to furnish reasons in response to our Why? questions. They want to help and feel compelled to come up with something, anything, that will offer hope and comfort. Or, they may need to answer this question more for themselves than for you. If they have the answer, then maybe they can avoid having what happened to you happen to them. But, we (and probably they) instinctively know there is no small answer to a question as colossal as Why my child? It hurts even to suggest an answer. We have moments when no reason seems good enough.
Thankfully, I have not been plagued with wanting to know why Hans was called home so unexpectedly. I have spent quite a bit of time trying to understand how it happened, but I do not have the energy to try to tackle Why? I leave the Why? question with God – I trust that He knows what he is doing and I know He always does what is best. My pain does not change that.