I am writing a follow-up post on my previous blog, “Is it easier to believe that God does not exist?” to answer a comment from one of my readers who is also a widow.
She says, “OK…I believe. I know God is here along with my husband. I know he loves me. BUT…why would he, if he loves me like a Father, make me hurt the way I do? Why would he let us have this much pain? I know as a Mother I would NEVER, EVER want to cause my child to feel like this. Yeah, it’s not for us to know yet. Or “Everything happens towards good things.” It still hurts. Above you said “He will never force us to do something we don’t want to do.” Well…I sure don’t want to live this life I have now. Why won’t he come and get me too?”
First, I am not going to say something magical in this post that is going to instantly change all of those feelings. The things she shares are things that everyone who looses a spouse feels. Even people who have faith in God feel this way at one point. I know I feel like this too sometimes.
Second, I think these feelings can be echoed by anyone who has experience major hurt. Trials, loss, pain, and suffering are so hard, and it is human nature to desire an easy way out. We wish to escape anything unpleasant, even if there is an opportunity for learn and growth…
With grief and loss we all need time to process and to come to acceptance.
I want to share a story from my past that may help this process…
When my oldest son was little, he was obsessed with flying. He wanted to fly soooo badly, and he was sure that he could build a contraption to allow him to do it. He studied about planes and drew designs. With access to cardboard boxes, 2 liter plastic bottles and tape he built a rocket jet pack. Proudly he came to me wearing his creation and announce that he needed the ladder so that he could jump off the roof. I’m sure that I looked at him in total disbelief. Being very practically minded, I inadvertently squelched his dream of flight, by telling him that his rocket jetpack would not actually function, and that it would not keep him aloft. (Looking back, I probably should have broken the news to him more gently)
I share this story because it illustrates perspective…
My children took a very long time to walk. They were all over 14 months. For months I walked hunched over allowing them to grip my fingers as they toddled along. Eventually it was time for them to let go and learn to walk on their own. I crouched a few feet from the couch to coax my son into letting go and coming to me. My young son, in perfect trust and with a big grin on his face, awkwardly teetered into my arms. Over and over we repeated this scene as I moved further and further away. On about the 5th attempt, Eric in his anxiousness to get to me led with his head and not with his feet. Helplessly I watched him fall and his big grin turned into a disbelieving wail.
“How could you let me fall?” His face seemed to say as he screamed wide eyed at me. I pulled him into my arms and soothed the hurt. At first he resisted, feeling that I was to blame, but as I talked to him in an understanding voice his tears soon subsided. I placed him back at the couch to try again.
“When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this, now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial? Willing sacrifice of deeply held personal desires in favor of the will of God is very hard to do. Yet, when you pray with real conviction, “Please let me know Thy will” and “May Thy will be done,” you are in the strongest position to receive the maximum help from your loving Father.” – Richard G Scott
I have lived by these words and I can tell you that these are the questions that have…
brought me peace and
brought me understanding and
brought me answers.
He continues saying…
“To exercise faith is to trust that the Lord knows what He is doing with you and that He can accomplish it for your eternal good even though you cannot understand how He can possibly do it. We are like infants in our understanding of eternal matters and their impact on us here in mortality. Yet at times we act as if we knew it all. When you pass through trials for His purposes, as you trust Him, exercise faith in Him, He will help you. That support will generally come step by step, a portion at a time. While you are passing through each phase, the pain and difficulty that comes from being enlarged will continue. If all matters were immediately resolved at your first petition, you could not grow. Your Father in Heaven and His Beloved Son love you perfectly. They would not require you to experience a moment more of difficulty than is absolutely needed for your personal benefit or for that of those you love.”
Somedays it would be nice if He would come and get me…
if I could be done with the difficulties and struggles of life…
and someday it will be my time too….
That takes me back to the name of this blog…
There is a picture I hold in my mind. When I finally do get back to my husband, I will run and fall into his arms and he will swing me around. I don’t want him to say,
“You wasted it, all that time we were apart..” Instead I want to hear him say,
“You did it. This was worth it. It was not for naught.”
Questions to Ponder:
1. How do those two stories about parenting help you understand God’s purposes?
2. What experiences with parenting do you have that help you better understand this principle?
3. What does experience and suffering do for us? What can it teach you?