Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Finding Comfort

Sometimes, life is just rough. Last week my 10-year-old cousin -- a laughing, athletic, non-stop, on-the-go boy -- had a sledding accident. While trying to bail off of his sled, the sled swung around and he hit a pole full-force. He was flown by helicopter to the nearest children's ICU unit, where he still is today. He lacerated his liver and a kidney, he bruised a lung, and he sustained a concussion. He has been in horrible pain, suffering through complications that are rising up in this time of "wait to heal." We still do not know what the coming days will bring.

Two days after that accident I learned that my dance coach from high school -- a beautiful, loving wife and mother, only 44 years old -- lost her eight-year battle with breast cancer. She leaves behind her high-school sweetheart, four children, and an entire town full of friends and family who will mourn her loss for years to come.

Out of both of these events, I have heard many questions: "How could God allow this to happen?" "What good could possibly come out of those children losing their mom like this?" Why does God do this? The kid is only ten..."

These are the times that I slow down and I think of God's amazing love for me, of God's amazing love for you. I think of the blessings in my life that I take for granted: my warm house, my loving husband, my miraculous children, my health, my freedom, and -- most importantly -- God's amazing love for me. I know that whatever happens in my life, God is there to give me comfort. God will give insight, or He will give peace. God will nurture me back to health and happiness of soul after times of deep sorrow. God's promise is that He will provide _________________. And I can fill in the blank.

In our humanity we cannot look ahead on the divine timeline of our lives and know what it will bring. We cannot understand nor comprehend God's plans. But we can know that God works all things out for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). We can trust that 20 or 30 years from now when we look back on a tragic circumstance that God's presence will be apparent and His far-reaching hand will be seen working out from that point in ways we never would have guessed.

But let me be clear -- God is not a cosmic killjoy. He does not toy with our lives; He does not create pain unnecessarily simply to exercise His power. He is a loving Creator, our Father who molds and shapes us and the events of our lives to bring glory and honor to Him, to bear witness to his Omnipotence and to testify to His goodness. I believe that eternity will bear out numerous instances where God saved me and those I love from pain or suffering. Conversely, I also know that I will not survive my time on this earth without experiencing some form of hardship. But I know the immensity of God's love for me, and I know that I can handle anything, anything with God as the great Resource of my life.

In church this morning we sang my favorite song by Chris Rice, and these lyrics spoke to me:
Sometimes the way is lonely And steep and filled with pain So if your sky is dark and pours the rain, then Cry to Jesus Cry to Jesus Cry to Jesus and live!

He is the source of our answers. It is in Him alone that we can experience love and comfort and begin to heal.

Would you like to read more?
1. You matter to God. His love for you is immense! -- Read Isaiah 43: 1-7 and 1 John 3:1
2. God created you and loved you even before your birth. -- Read Psalm 139
3. God loves you so much, He sent His Son to die for yours sins. -- Read 1 Peter 1:18-20
4. He will lavish His love upon you, if you believe. -- Read John 1:12

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