And here’s where my story gets a little messy. Christian or not, if you’ve never wrestled with tough thoughts, you might not want to proceed.
My life hasn’t always felt like a rose-petaled pathway. In fact Easter of 2016, I was supremely angry with God.
Four months before we had walked away from the cemetery with our precious 2 month baby boy in the ground. Oh, there probably were rose petals on the grass…but our hearts were hurting! And the hurt didn’t disappear in four months. And it didn’t really disappear even when we found out we were pregnant again. Although, day by day it gave us a new sense of hope. We thought it would help our family heal.
Being a veteran mama, I didn’t rush off to the hospital right away. So when I did go, I was a couple months along. And I went alone. But there was difficulty finding a heartbeat at first so they hooked me up for an ultrasound. And the ultrasound showed frightening things. Like a big empty place where there should have been a brain. Anencephaly: A baby who would continue to grow, but would die at birth.
Numbly holding it together, I managed to check out and get to my SUV.
I’m not sure who all witnessed my breakdown through the window, but it was hard. Finally I started to drive the one-hour trip back home, but the tears wouldn’t stop. And my anger raged.
HOW could God do this to ME?
Hadn’t He just witnessed the past four months of my life?
Or did the God who knits us together slip a stitch?
How could He take someone so vulnerable and twist and contort them like this?
And my pride
Why must this be such a visible thing for others to witness? I yearned to face this trial alone, behind closed doors…but growing babies have a way of revealing things. And I ached with pain for my children. How could their still-devastated hearts handle this next hurt? Where was God?
Five minutes from home I remember becoming conscious of the radio in the background … a unique rhythm and new words caught my attention:
I know your heart been broke again
I know your prayers ain’t been answered yet
I know you’re feeling like you got nothing left
Well, lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet so
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
Move, keep walkin’ until the mornin’ comes
Move, keep walkin’ soldier keep movin’ on
And lift your head, it ain’t over yet, ain’t over yet
I had never heard that song before, but I was sure Toby wrote it for me, and God delivered it to my ears at just the right time. Yep, that same God I was just pummeling with my puny fists. HE’S A BIG GOD. And when a toddler comes flying at Him, He picks them up. And He sings to them.
“He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17)
When I walked through the door, I went to my bedroom. Still crying, I couldn’t face the activity of my family. David kept the kids away, but my oldest daughter came in and laid down beside me. Like a true comforter, she just held me. Bit by bit, day by day, God led me along. He expanded my view to see more of Him. It is in the dark and dismal times of life, we get to know Him better.
What could be deeper, darker, or more dismal than Jesus’ death on the cross?
Everyday people die a martyr’s death – so what makes Jesus so awesome? Because of WHO He was. I love a good movie with a well-woven plot, the twists and turns and unexpected things. And the more I grasp of God’s love for mankind, the more I see the grand scope of this story unfold.
The mysterious baby of Christmas becomes the Saviour of the world. God didn’t hide Himself from pain and suffering. He gave all – He wrapped Himself in a body of flesh and blood and stepped into our world. And in the deepest, darkest, most dismal moment in the history of life, the Creator gave Himself as the payment for sin. We called Him Jesus.
Out of the pain and suffering of that backdrop, comes the most memorable, most astounding, most life-changing drama of all: God proved WHO Jesus was by raising Him from the grave.
The fact that God is alive and well today and continues to advance and orchestrate the details of planet earth according to His predetermined time table should give us pause.
If God does exist and if Jesus IS WHO He said He IS, then all that’s left is for us to decide. And remember, GOD IS BIG: He will let us pummel Him with our fists, reject Him with our doubts, and come to our own conclusions.
Seek the LORD while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:6-7)