Where was God when we needed Him? Why did this happen? How could an all loving powerful God allow innocent children to suffer? Over the last 8 years, my answers to these questions have evolved and changed quite a bit. Sometimes my emotions as a father may have controlled my way of thinking over truth. With time and God’s help, I’ve thankfully found some peace and have come to a place of surrender with much of it.
Where was God? He was there. Why did it seem otherwise? I don’t know. I don’t have to know. I trust that even though bad stuff happens - God is good, He is in control, and He will make all things right again. That is what I believe as a Christian. I did not gently and easily get to this point. It took years of wrestling with all of this stuff and praying for some peace regarding it all.
With the benefit of hindsight, I’ve been able to see very convincing evidence that God has been walking with us the entire time and was not absent like it appeared. It felt like God had abandoned us when we needed Him most. I'm sure many of you have felt the same way. The façade of how life worked in my mind was blown into a million bits. I think the pain, grief, and darkness can just overtake some us more than others and it fogs our ability to feel any goodness or sense of God’s comfort. Also - I think a crisis like this in life really shows us how strong (or lack thereof) our faith was prior to the event. I thought mine was strong but quickly realized it was actually very shallow and fragile.
In my book, I flirted with the idea that God could NOT have done anything about Jacob’s accident because His power to intervene is limited. I don’t believe that anymore. Ultimately, I believe God’s nature is revealed in the Bible and it shows that at times He chose to do miracles by breaking the laws of nature and at other times He chose not to intervene. Could God have prevented our children from dying? Could he have healed them from the disease or prevented the accident? I believe so.
I can NOT rationalize a God that is not all powerful enough to do whatever He chooses to do. If you believe there is a creator of life and of all of space and time - I have to believe that God is not limited in HIs abilities. I also have prayed for a long time that God would give me the answers to my questions. Instead, I’ve experienced healing around all the anger I had. So, I’ll take that and keep moving forward.
I’ve come to realize that my search for answers was really a search for how to take control of the situation and to fix it. For this, there was no fix to be found and no answers that were helpful. This was out my hands and always has been - I just didn’t know it or want to accept it. One of many painful lessons you learn from experiencing the death of a child is that having control is a myth.
I think being angry, raising questions, and having doubts are all very healthy ways to grieve. For a time, it is good to wrestle with the horrors of this world. However, we can’t get stuck in unhealthy places where bitterness festers. At some point you have to move forward in your faith, trusting God is ultimately in control. I never thought I’d write this but I truly believe all our questions and anger will be wiped away once we’re on the other side of this life. God is concerned about justice and redemption. I think God will redeem our children’s lives in a manner that is so over the top that we can’t even begin to fathom how great it will be. I know this may sound nuts, but I don’t think we’ll be concerned one second about wanting to know why they died so young.
I’m no pastor, theologian, or scholar who can give you any great answers to these very difficult questions you may have surrounding the death of your child. However, do I think there enough evidence to trust God even with all of the problems of evil and innocent suffering in the world? Even after the death of your child? I believe so. And in so doing, we find not only ultimate hope of ALL that God has promised but the hope that we all ache for; which is to see our children again.
We can trust that we will.