When all is well in life, it is easy to believe that God is in control, that He loves us, that all things do work together for the good of those who love Him, that He is a God of justice and a God of mercy, that His grace is sufficient. It is easy to believe God’s promises when we are not grieving or hurting or being asked to trust in suffering we don’t understand.
But all of us have people around us who are all of these things. We know people who are suffering, people who are grieving, people who are facing questions without answers. People who do not understand the brokenness they wake up with, and bear a grief so heavy it weighs them down, not only spiritually but physically. Twelve years ago I thought “heartache” was merely an expression. I hadn’t yet experienced the actual pain of grief, which starts with a jolt and presses with an unrelenting force right on your chest.
Yesterday I attended the funeral of a child. He was twelve years old. I’d never met him, and I only know his mother from a few brief interactions. He wasn’t sick. His death was an unexpected tragedy. In fact, I chatted with his mom on the phone about meaningless things just hours before he died.
When I learned about the tragedy last Thursday night, I was heartsick that I had taken up even a second of her time. And I don’t know about you, but when I see people go through really hard things, I worry about their faith. I worry that they’ll doubt God’s promises, and I pray that they won’t. Maybe this stems from my own fear that some circumstance could cause me to deny my Savior or my faith. Because I desperately want to follow and stand for Jesus, no matter the circumstance and no matter the cost. When darkness comes in my life (and it’s definitely when, not if), I want to be a beacon of light, pointing others to Jesus.
My worries for this mom were ridiculously unfounded — as worries often are. In fact, this mom is the beacon of beacons from the darkest of places. She spoke yesterday at the funeral and it was a supernatural work of the Lord. I was so privileged to be there. I heard about a tremendous kid — funny, handsome, talented in various ways, smart, a serious student of the Bible. Despite my fear, despite her heartache, despite the unfathomable loss, yesterday untold numbers of people were encouraged in their faith, strengthened for their own journeys, and reminded of God’s promises.
Such a devout faith in the depths of despair is truly something to behold. My fervent prayers will continue, but I am so grateful to have witnessed the divine work accomplished through this grieving woman. Yesterday is a day I will never forget.