Since my husband died, I have been acutely aware of the pain and heartache experienced by all of us in such times.
Being an avid reader, I find in many books a character that has to deal with death or a tragic loss of some kind.
Especially in the “fresh” days of my grief, these things literally jumped off the page at me.
At first, I questioned why every book I read seemed to include death.
But then I realized for it to be true to life, it would have to include death or loss.
Everyone of us experiences loss and death multiple times during our lives.
A couple of months ago, I read a 3 book series by Dr. Walt Larimore, MD, that chronicled his time as a general
practitioner in Bryson City, NC. In his book, “Bryson City Secrets,” his wife, Barb, miscarried.
It was a deep, deep hurt for both of them.
I want to share an excerpt from his book on how he wrestled with God over this loss.
Perhaps you will see you own struggles personified in this.
This is deep. You may need to read it a few times and really chew on it,
but I believe God would have us “get” this.
“Through the afternoon, I paced and paced. I was wrestling with so many emotions as Barb slept. I was angry
and wounded and in pain. I asked God why he would do such a thing. I wondered out loud what we had done
to deserve this. Was it punishment for doing something wrong? Was it some cruel or even deserved
retribution for straying from an unreachable standard? Had Satan inquired of God for the right to take our little one and
been given that permission? Had I failed in some way to be the husband or father or doctor I should have been?
Finally, at about sundown, my anger began to dissipate, and I was able to sit in my overstuffed quiet-time chair.
I reviewed what I believed was true. I knew in my heart of hearts that my God was loving and compassionate and caring.
I knew his good character. I knew that if I simply loved him and sought to fulfill his purposes, all things would turn
out for good. Then, ever so reluctantly, I contemplated what I hadn’t given much consideration to before.
Deep in my soul, the truth dawned that “all things” included “bad” things as well as “good” things.
As I thought more about this, I came to the realization that if God is really God – and I’m convinced he is –
then he is sovereign over all events.
I had heard folks say, “God did not cause this or that calamity, but he can use it for our good.”
This statement or belief now seemed foolish to me. In fact, I thought to myself, it
undermines the hope it is meant to give! If God does not have the power to stop an event from happening or if he
is surprised by an event, then how can we expect him to use it for our good? He can only do so if he is indeed
omniscient and omnipotent. I concluded that God indeed either caused or allowed all events, or he wasn’t God.
I opened my Bible to the book of Romans and silently read: “And we know that in all things God works for the
good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also
predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
As I closed my Bible, I closed my eyes and thought about how Jesus had pleaded with his Father from the Garden of
Gethsemane to take from him the cup of suffering and crucifixion. His Father, whose love for him was infinite, said no.
Then I understood. I finally got it. If God predestined me to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, then I too would be
called to pain and suffering. I felt deeply comforted as I realized that in all things, even apparently bad things,
God would work his good – as long as I loved him and as long as I was called according to his purpose.
A peace settled over my soul as I acknowledged that my Creator was equally powerful to, able to, and willing to
stitch the patchwork of my life into a beautiful quilt. I also began to accept the fact that many of
my “why” questions were not going to be answered, at least not on this side of heaven.
My time of wrestling with the Lord didn’t change my heartbreak over the death of our child, but it forever changed me.
Through that long and agonizing afternoon and evening, I came to know him and his character in a new and
a deeper way-not an easier way, that’s for sure. Somehow, my madness progressed to sadness and then, mysteriously
and almost imperceptibly, into gladness. I experienced a deep joy in my spirit – a comfort I had never felt before
– intermingled and bonded with one of the most searing and intense pains I had ever known.
It was as if I had been pulled from the burning remains of a
fiery crash – led, or maybe even dragged, from an angry, painful place. It was like I was a burn patient experiencing the
desperately need relief of a divine, cooling salve. … And for the first time in my life, I sensed a glorious sadness –
a difficult-to-understand joy that provided a magnificent stillness. Silence and serenity began to penetrate and to fill my
soul and, even in my deepest pain, to heal my broken heart. Nestling more deeply into my chair, I felt assured that,
despite the horror of what had happened and the difficulty of the road that lay ahead, an inexpressible comfort and
indefinable peace would be there with me — every step of the way.”
It is my prayer that this would ease someone’s breaking heart.
God is good.
Yes, bad things happen, but that doesn’t change God’s character.
It is in embracing this knowledge and resting in His goodness, that you will find peace and joy,
even in the midst of great difficulties.
Lots of love, Sharon
(“Bryson City Secrets” Walt Larimore, MD, Zondervan Press, 2006)