God, If You Love Us…

Sometimes it’s hard not to ask why.

OK, let’s be honest. Right now I want to not just ask, but to shout. WHERE ARE YOU GOD!?? IF YOU LOVE US, THEN WHY?

Have you been there?

It’s a day like any other day—maybe even better than most—when suddenly, in the blink of an eye, tragedy strikes and lives are changed forever and you can’t help but cry “Where are you, God?”

This week my heart has been weighed down by the news of a little girl who lost her leg in a horrible accident. God commands us to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). Not a hard thing to do in heartbreak like this. I don’t know the family; but many of my friends do and we’re all hurting with them, grateful that they belong to a Father Who cares. How could one face such horror without His comfort and strength!

Today is a day like any other day—actually, even better than most. Sunshine dances in and out of little thunder showers and clouds keep the temperature just right to work in the yard. As I rake and hoe and plant I’m praying for that little girl and her family, determined to ignore the whys that swarm around my spirit like annoying little gnats that swarm around my eyes this time of year. It’s not hard to praise God for the beauty of this moment. But still I can’t forget that a little girl and her family are suffering. And pain keeps whispering, “…if You love us…”

It’s a day like any other day until suddenly… it’s not. In the blink of an eye, tragedy strikes here, as well. The two tragedies are in no way analogous. Next to theirs it’s a small thing, but heartbreaking nonetheless; and pain upon sorrow upon aggregated grief is shouting, “If You love us, then why?”

Out of the blue our daughter’s huge, insistently affectionate cat Taz lies mortally injured and we grieve to see his pain—and hers. A pet can never compare to a child, but whether it’s a pretty little girl or a beautiful black cat, those who love them are grieved by their agony. The heartache becomes devastating and then the whys prevail. Why do innocents have to suffer? Why does a little girl face a lifetime of challenge because of one brief moment in time? Why must our daughter suffer more loss? Haven’t the past few years been more than enough? Why would dogs that have co-existed with cats for years suddenly turn and attack?

Why couldn’t I have gotten there soon enough… been strong enough… known enough not to let our two Jack Russell-hearted boys out when the big dog was loose? And most troubling question of all, God, where were You?

“Christianly” answers abound. “God is in control… He never gives us more than we can bear… His ways are not our ways… We live in a fallen world… Someday we’ll understand…” All true, but totally unsatisfying in the midst of pain and grief. If we throw them around too easily, we can wound those we long to help.

In his wonderful book, A Sacred Sorrow, Michael Card reminds us that even giants of the faith like Israel’s King David struggled to understand. I’m so glad that great “man after God’s own heart” was willing to risk transparency. The Psalms are where I run when I can’t overcome whys that trouble my heart. I’ve often prayed… grumbled… whined… sobbed … shouted… and finally whispered their words of complaint and sorrow. (We might as well speak it. God knows our hearts anyway.) But have you noticed? In the end, those songs of lament always turn to praise!

It’s an undeniable fact. We do live in a fallen world. Pain and sorrow are part of every life. The road will often be harder than we think it should be and our whys may never be answered. But if we choose as David chose and praise Him in our darkest times, we’ll always find God faithful.

Have you been there yet? Have you found yourself on your face before Him, emptied of everything but your need to honor God? He’ll settle for nothing less. But once you’ve known the deep, abiding joy of trusting only Him, neither will you!

We buried Taz at the edge of Maggie’s Garden, where he liked to sit with us in the swing. He’s safe there, under the bowl of the old concrete birdbath that’s now a mini-garden, his little red collar embellishing the wire candle holder that stands guard beside it.

Sleep well, Taz Cat. Your always unrelenting, sometimes annoying love was a gift from the God Who cares, and in spite of the pain, we’re glad we knew you.

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