August 12, 2010

Like being involved in a rear end accident

Last week, after traveling 4,900 miles halfway across the United States and back without incident, a lady crashed into the back of my car as I sat at a light two miles from my home. There is minimal damage to the car and I have just a little pain in my neck, shoulders and back which will go away soon with a little bit of pampering. However, being struck from behind is the last thing anyone ever expects and part of the pain is the unexpectedness of the blow. One of the many ironies is that I was thinking about a couple who had just lost their child a day after she was born and thinking that losing a baby is a little bit like being involved in a rear end accident.

The fact that the woman was pregnant was somewhat of a miracle. Or maybe I should say, more miraculous than the usual conception under the circumstances. Why would God go to the trouble of miraculously creating life and preparing the couple for being parents and then give them so little time? I don't really expect an answer to that question because the One who has the power to create everything out of nothing isn't really answerable to me and, furthermore, it is not my story. For more of their story, go here.

I must confess that babies dying is a little blow to my faith, like a car accident is a little blow to one's confidence. I am tempted to cry out at the unfairness of it all. And yet, when I really think about it, if God is unfair, it is totally in our favor. We are faithless, greedy, self-centered, rebellious people and He has every right to give us the death we deserve. And yet, instead, he asked His Son to pay the penalty and offers those who follow Him an eternity with Him in a place where there is no more sorrow, no more pain and no more suffering. That is a totally unfair deal which I have gratefully accepted and I wish more people would join me in accepting.

To further buttress my faith in times like these, I remember that God is not just good, He is holy and righteous and love. If you think I should have said "loving", you might be right grammatically but in terms of God's character and makeup, my grammatically incorrect statement might be more better :-). Furthermore, Romans 8:28 says that "God works for the good of those who love him..." (I am required as a Christian to quote this under the circumstances). So this appalling situation is somehow, in some currently unfathomable way, meant for good of my friends, their friends and family, who do love God and seek His will.

These rocks of faith, while they take the edge off the pain, I am sure will not prevent the blackness of grief from overwhelming them at times, just as it hasn't always helped me from going over the edge in overwhelming circumstances. But it has in the past prevented me from completely falling into the abyss. About the time I figuratively feel my hands loosen from the end of the rope I am desperately clutching, I find that God has added a ledge just below my feet that allows me to rest before He pulls me back to safety. Therefore, I am certain that He will do the same thing for them because He is the Father of compassion and God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3).

And their faith in overwhelming grief is the stuff of true heros. Read Hebrews 11, sometimes referred to as the annals of God's heros, and then go back and read the actual stories of these list of heros. Most of them were pretty ordinary and had more than one belief/obedience issues with God. And yet, they persevered in their faith in spite of overwhelming circumstances, momentary doubts and backsliding.

"One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. . . Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul." Ps. 62:11 & Ps. 143:8 (Thanks to my AZ friend Lydia for posting this verse on Facebook when everything was happening.)


AquaJane said...

Poignant post, Kris. Like the ledge picture.

tandemingtroll said...

Eric gave me that picture when Elizabeth was a baby and not sleeping very well, either through the night or in naps. I felt I was going crazy and that I had stepped off a cliff, hanging on the end of a rope close to letting go and God was just letting me dangle there. As Eric prayed for me, God gave him the picture that if I just let go of the rope, I would find that God had placed a ledge just inches from my feet that I couldn't see because I wasn't looking down.