I attended an awesome women's conference this weekend. It was two days of inspiring speakers, glorious music, laughter, joy, and tears.
I came home tired last night, but so refreshed in my spirit. I went to bed early, anticipating the early arising in the a.m. to prepare for a busy day at church. I was not even asleep yet when I heard my husband's cell phone ring. It was our pastor, advising us that one of our families at church had just learned their 20-year-old son had been killed yesterday in Afghanistan. I was stunned.
I am a military mom. I have two sons in the army, and both have been deployed twice each. And both came home, safe and sound. I spent a lot of time praying and hoping, and standing on faith during each of their deployments. So my friend and I shared a common bond, understanding the dangers and unknowns attached to a deployment such as this. To be sent to a war zone is a scary proposition. And we praise those who make that decision, and who have the courage to do what we cannot. And we are proud of our sons. And we are fearful. I do know that she had a difficult time with her son being gone, but she kept her chin up and believed he would be protected by her God.
So what happened? Did God not hear all those prayers that we lifted up on this young man's behalf? Did we pray 'wrong'? Were we not fervent enough? Or maybe we have been sinning and not repentent…would He allow him to die because of something we did? Did God not see the future promise of this fellow? Did he not see how the rebellious teenager was turning his life around, and doing the right thing? Why would God allow something to horrible to happen to such a kind and loving family?
I am reminded that God says, 'My ways are not your ways, and my thoughts are not your thoughts.' He is a sovereign God, One who holds the whole world in His hands. His purposes are just that…HIS.
Nothing happens to any of us that it does not pass through His hands. He is never surprised. He is never caught off guard. Since He is the God who will never leave us or forsake us, and His name is Immanuel, 'God with us,” he was right there with my friend's son. He was in the midst of the horror, there during the death of this fine young man.
We will never understand the reasons for this tragedy during our lives on this Earth. And we will never understand God's ways or thoughts either. But we really do not need to. We must simply know that He is the God of the Ages, the God of Abraham and Moses, and thus our God. He holds us in His hands, during this life, and beyond. He loves us more than we can know, and I know it grieves His great heart when something like this happens, because He knows us, and He cares for us.
So my prayer for my friend, as she goes through the many stages of grief, is that she will allow the God who loves her to minister to her sweet, torn heart, to show her He loves her still, and that her dear son did not die in vain, but with honor and with God's hand upon him. Because of the death and resurrection of His son, Jesus Christ, she will come to remember that hope she has, that one day soon she will be reunited with her loved one, and then they will have an eternity to spend together. Every tear will be dried, every sad thought banished.
Her heart is broken, as mine is for her. And I pray that when I go to her, God will direct my every thought, my every move, my mother's understanding, to minister to her, to comfort her, to share the grief that is now overwhelming her. We are never alone in times like these, and that is a gift from God. He knows who we need in our lives, and when we need them. And one day she will see the sunshine once more, and be thankful for the birds that sing, and for the air she breathes. That is our God.