There are no easy answers to all the suffering in this fallen world of ours, but when circumstances seem overwhelming or too painful, I cling to the fact that nothing, absolutely nothing, happens to us that God does not allow. He is always in complete control. He knows, He cares, and He loves us no matter what. God doesn't cause all that we experience, but He does allow it.
After my brother Timm died, I became desperately afraid of losing my husband Tony; afraid of life changing in a heartbeat, changing everything I knew, changing me. One night, as I lay in bed wrestling with God, understanding I had no control, yet so horribly afraid to accept whatever He allowed God spoke gently to my heart.
"I am enough," He said.
"But I can't do it without Tony. I can't. I won't!" I cried.
"I love you," He said.
"I know, but I need him."
"Do you trust Me?" He asked.
"Yes...no...I don't know."
"Tony is My vessel. It is My love you feel flowing through him. He is My gift to you, a tangible way for you to understand My love for you, My child," He said. "My love will never die. I will always love you, no matter what."
"I get it, Lord," I prayed through my tears. "I get it."
That night, I understood for the first time that my brother's death hadn't surprised God. It had shocked and horrified us, but it hadn't surprised Him. He knew. Before Timm was even born, God knew how many days he would live on this earth. He knew Timm's son would be only two years old when his Daddy died. He knew Timm's wife would be three months pregnant with their second son. He knew!
Now when my kids ask what would happen to them if their Dad or I died, or both, I tell them, "God loves you. He loves you so much more than Daddy or I will ever be able to, and He will take care of you, no matter what."
Sometimes things happen in life as a result of our choices, sometimes in order to deepen and strengthen our faith, and sometimes, like Job in the Old Testament, circumstances are allowed that aren't really about us at all, but that play a bigger role in God's ultimate plan. Knowing that doesn't ease the pain. It doesn't answer all of our questions, but it does dispel the fear, for when we fear, we don't fully trust God. First John 4:8 says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear." God loves us with a perfect, everlasting love, a love that will never die, will never change, will never end.
Recently God asked me the question again, "And if I don't allow you to heal, if I never remove the pain, will you still trust Me?"
Yes, Lord, even then.
Cindee Snider Re lives in Sussex, WI with her husband, their five children, two cats, and two Shichon puppies. She enjoys quiet evenings, long walks, good books, homeschooling her kids, and lots of good, strong, hot, black tea.