I don’t know why some days are harder than others. I wish that I could pinpoint the reason behind the particularly sad days or find the source of the tears on days like today. I certainly know the root of the pain on all days but I feel like it would be helpful to understand why today brings more tears than yesterday, etc. I guess though, if I’m really honest with myself, knowing why some days are worse than others would cause more problems than it would solve. I’m only human and I can almost certainly say that I would choose to not feel the pain rather than deal with it if I were given the choice. I suppose that not knowing why today (or any of the hard days) is more sad than others makes me face it, feel it, and process all the feels and things.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let the steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” - James 1:2-4
Count it all joy… I feel like I need to say that to myself about 30 times and then write it out over and over. Count it all joy… the trials that test my faith, and the faith of christians all over the planet and throughout history, I am to count as joy. Not because they are something to rejoice in - my pain through this particular trial is very real - but because I KNOW that it is going to produce something wonderful. When I read verses like the one in James, I feel this conflict in my head and my heart. I know on one level that God isn’t testing me because I did something wrong and so He’s punishing me, and I also know that He doesn’t take pleasure in the trials that result from being a human after the fall. I know these things but I don’t always believe them. I don’t always even want to believe them. It can make sense in my head, on some level, to say that this horribly tragic thing happened in my life because (insert terrible thing I have done: didn’t pray enough. didn’t believe in a miracle enough. wasn’t good enough. etc.)… because then I could fix it so it never has to happen again and I could explain it away. Because it certainly doesn’t make sense for a tiny baby to have died for no reason at all.
Thankfully, Jesus paid the ultimate price so that I don’t have to negotiate with my God over how good or righteous I am in order to keep my precious son alive. Thankfully, my God loves me so much that He sacrificed His son in order that the brokenness of this world would be defeated and my goodness, or lack there of, would have no influence on His promise to make this world whole. Thankfully, despite this world's brokenness and my lack of perfection, my son is in heaven glorifying his great Father and singing Holy, Holy, Holy with the angels.
This quote came across my social media yesterday:
“It is the most liberating idea possible and it ultimately enables you to face all suffering, knowing that because of the cross, God is absolutely for you and that because of the resurrection, everything will be all right in the end.” -Timothy Keller in Walking with God through Pain and Suffering
I am so grateful for people who have been through suffering before me and have shared their experiences with God through them. God’s character is never shaken. He is always the same. He comforts, loves, gives strength to, mourns with, and is steadfast to the end. He conquered death so that we don’t have to be perfect or carry the burden of wondering what we could have done better or differently to change the outcome of our tragedies. He is for us.
The passage in James goes on to say,“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”
Today as I process through the tears and sadness, I want to remember this. I want to not be the doubter, who is like a wave of the sea. On the hard days I don’t want to be swayed by whatever might feel most comfortable - throwing out all reminders of my son, as an example - but instead be rooted in the steadfastness of my Father and continue to rely on His generosity without a doubt in my head or my heart. So today I will cherish the pictures hanging on the wall, despite my tears. I will hug and snuggle with Audrey. I will love my husband even more deeply as we navigate this new normal together. I will praise my great God who gives me the grace I don’t deserve and thank Him for his endless new mercies.