I do not have a photo or lovely story today and I know the story that follows might not fall within the traditional definition of injustice because I do not think that the events are just or unjust but they do evoke the feeling that “this is not the way it is supposed to be.”
My friend who is in her eighties lost her daughter to cancer last night. She will need to make plans for her burial and deal with a grief that no parent should ever have to experience. Unfortunately it is not within our power to determine when life ends. My heart broke into a million pieces when I had to hold my brother’s hand as he buried his three children all under the age of six when they died in a fire around twenty years ago. I prayed while holding the hand of my cousin and her Father when she slipped away now more than ten years ago. My grandmother outlived her son by over thirty years. Three sets of my Aunt’s and Uncle’s have had to bury a child. A beautiful friend and member of my church family still feels pain and guilt over the loss of an infant over 60 years ago.
I am sure that every one of you knows someone and most likely many who have lost a child. We cry out to God when we hear the news, we scream why God why, why not me instead of my child? There are no answers to these questions. This is never a matter of what God feels we can handle, or God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, God does not give us pain. God is love and God gives comfort. God is there for us in the darkest days of our lives, we seek God in pain and find comfort. An author once wrote that “it is only in our despair and agony that we feel nothingness and it is in the nothingness that we can be filled with God’s love.” It is not that God gives us pain so that we can seek this comfort, it is a matter of God has always been there and it is only in our darkest moment that we feel the presence of the Divine.
Today my heart aches for my friend, but in that pain there is also rejoicing because God is good all the time. Not all things are good and not all times are good, but God is good, all the time.
A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
3 he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.