"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
I struggle with certain Bible verses now. This one in particular. I can't help but question, "What about Matt's purpose? What about his hope and his future?" It was cut short. He died. What about that isn't harmful? My son died in a horrific car accident, thrown from the vehicle, though seat belted, colliding head on with a semi. These are just honest questions to a God whose plans I don't understand, questions from a grieving mother.
I believe God is good. I know He is who He says He is, and I know circumstances do not dictate His character. But some verses I simply don't understand. The pain and suffering after the loss of a child is not, in the minds of grieving parents, a "light and momentary trouble." (2 Cor. 4:17)
I ask with the author of "Lament for a Son" the same question he does. "If creation took just six days, why does re-creation take so agonizingly long? If your conquest of primeval chaos went so quickly, why must your conquest of sin and death and suffering be so achingly slow?"
Thankfully, I don't have to understand. I take comfort in knowing that God is not offended by my questions or doubt. He is not threatened by my anger. I don't see the big picture, but God does. I once received a card with the saying, "You may not understand His purposes, but you can trust His promises." I am choosing to believe them. God says that He will never leave us nor forsake us. It says in John 3:16 "that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Jesus says He has a place prepared for us, a room in His Father's house. So while I don't understand the unfolding of this life, why it has to involve the painful realities it does, I trust the One who holds the blueprints.
My son's death has changed my perspective about this life. Again, author Nicholas Wolterstorff sums it up well. He says, "Let me try again. All these things I recognize. I remember delighting in them - trees, art, house, music, pink morning sky, work well done, flowers, books. I still delight in them. I'm still grateful. But the zest is gone. The passion is cooled, the striving quieted, the longing stilled. My attachment is loosened. No longer do I set my heart on them. I can do without them. They don't matter. Instead of rowing, I float. The joy that comes my way I savor. But the seeking, the clutching, the aiming, is gone. I don't suppose anyone on the outside notices. I go through my paces. What the world gives, I still accept. But what it promises, I no longer reach for. I've become an alien in the world, shyly touching it as if it's not mine. I don't belong any more. When someone loved leaves home, home becomes mere house."
The death of a child loosens one's grip on earth. Things that used to be so important aren't any more. A re-prioritizing has taken place. Hearing has sharpened to the things of eternity. The lyrics of so many wonderful songs come to mind because so many of them speak truth. Tim and I have clung to many of these songs because they remind us that this is not where we belong. There is a better ending for those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. God help us to remain faithful and patient while we wait for that ending.