As a Christian and a woman with a heart full of compassion for others, I have always been quick to offer my prayers and support for those who are in pain or who have gone through some of life’s toughest situations. I’ve lost friends and family to cancer, car wrecks, and just all together horrible experiences and situations. I’ve prayed many prayers for miracles and healing and I’ve even seen some occur. I’ve spoken words that I’ve always believed to be true. I’ve said all the cliches: “God’s plan is bigger than ours.” “God is in control.” “Have faith.” “We don’t know why, but God sometimes allows things like this to happen in our lives to teach us something.” “Something good will come out of this.” I’ve said them all, and now, now I’ve heard them all. Cliches suck!
I know that most of the time it is the only thing that we know how to say, and that no one ever means any harm by them. I don’t begrudge the person that says them even if they sting. Everyone is just trying to show support, saying whatever it is that they have read in a book, the Bible, or a Hallmark card.
Truth is that when life hurts, really, really hurts there are not any words that can be said that ease the ache. Sometimes they can even hurt. When I hear that it was just part of God’s plan…and frankly this is one that I know I have said dozens of times, but still now…ouch! How could the death of a child, a tiny baby ever be part of a loving God’s plan.
Honestly, I know that God does have a plan. I know that He didn’t forsake me or Patrick or Joshua. I know that He didn’t cause him to die, but I know that He allowed it to be a part of our story for some reason. I know that God’s heart aches for me right now as He watches me cry and suffer through this storm. I know that, but yet at the same time it is so hard to reconcile what I know with my head and what I feel right now with my heart.
It’s a weird situation to be in, to be so angry that God allowed this to happen, to be so angry that He didn’t perform a miracle, but at the same time have the desire to cling so tightly to Him and to the Cross. I know that God watched His Son die upon that Cross and that He allowed that to happen to save me. I know that He understands the pain of watching your own child die. And yet I’m still stuck wondering why He would allow this to happen to me.
A few years ago I went to a Passion Conference and I listened to Pastor Louie Giglio tell a story of a girl who came to Christ just before she lost her life in a car accident. This young 20 something girl had spent her whole life running from God and then spent the 5 months right before her death falling in love with Christ. God’s timing is perfect. Yes, she left this earth far too early, but she went straight into the arms of her Savior and the story of her life didn’t end there. The tragic story of her life and death has gone on to be heard by thousands of people as Pastor Giglio has used her story to tell of what happens when life hurts the most, the message of using the Cross as an anchor of Hope through the storms that this life brings us through. This young woman has led countless people to Christ through the story of her death. God sometimes allows tragic events to happen in our lives for a greater purpose. I’m just praying that God will allow our story to be used for His greater purpose.
At the end of the day we all face challenges. Some are just bigger than others. But each and everyone of us is going to go through a time where the bottom falls out of our life and the storms rage. It is what we choose to do when that happens that matters. It is easy to turn away from God and think that since He allowed this to happen that He doesn’t care. But I choose to believe that He allowed this to happen because He does care. He knows my pain. He also knows the end of my story and this isn’t it. I will keep saying that again and again, because right now that is the anchor of hope that I am clinging to. This is not the end of my story. I will not allow the fear overtake me. I will fight through this mess, and I will make sure that I use the story of our Joshua Patrick as a story of God’s plan and purpose in our lives being bigger than our own.
I pray that if any of you who are reading this are struggling with wondering if God is real, if He cares, if He loves you, I pray that you will hear the answer loud and clear: God is real! God cares for you! God loves you! Don’t be discouraged by the pains of this life as this life is short and eternity in Heaven is long and glorious.
Hope: When Life Hurts the Most – Louie Giglio