A close friend asked me something the other day. She wanted to know how, as a Christian, I would respond to a non-Christian who is going through a family death and questioning how God could let bad things happen. It's a tough question, a very tough question. I had to think about it for a while. How do you explain God's unending goodness to someone who is in pain?
The best word I can find to describe the particular pain associated with heartache is this: bittersweet. These difficulties are something like a Warhead candy. Sour, painful, and hard to handle at first. But after a while the bitterness gives way to a sweet, sugary, refreshing bite.
I'm not saying the pain can ever truly disappear, the sensors in our brains are just designed to send a less-excruciating signal after time. The hurt gives way to healing, the difficulties mold us into the person we are meant to become.
Think about it. If not for the last year and a half, I would not be the person I am today. If not for Tanner, I would never have gained compassion for murderers. If not for Uncle Dave, I wouldn't remember as often to cherish the time I have with my family. If not for the loss of baby Zeke, I would never know about the amazing people in our community dedicated to blessing parents who lose their infants. Each of the moments of heartache in these last 21 months has shaped my life. I'd like to think that I'll be a better wife, daughter, mother, friend, and person because of these things. I would not say that losing 8 people in just over a year was easy, sometimes it was a struggle just to get up in the morning and find the strength to get through another day without them. And if I could have grown and changed for the better without all of the tragedy, I certainly would have! But I know that God used those times to make me better, stronger. He's preparing me to fight in His war. The loss of those I love has given me a constantly burning passion to reach those I have left with His love.
God is love, He is not death. Death is a result of the sin we choose every day. Sin has been a thorn in the side of mankind since the beginning, and the wages of sin is death (Romans 3:23). God loves us and hates death, hates sin. That's why He sent His Son to pay the ultimate penalty for our sin, He died so that we don't have to. We'll still die a physical death here on earth, but we have the promise of eternity. Our last breath on Earth will be our first breath in Heaven. He doesn't want us to die, He wants us to live forever with Him. He is good, unconditionally good. We simply allow ourselves to be blinded by our own sin and selfishness.
To those who believe God can't possibly be good if He allows death, I beg of you, look at what He did to SAVE us from death. Look at what He has in store for us when our short time on this planet is over (Romans 8:18). He can be nothing BUT good!
All I hear is what they're selling me
That God is love, He isn't suffering
And what you need's a little faith and prosperity
But, oh my God, I know there's more than this
If you promise pain, it can't be meaningless
So make me poor if that's the price for freedom
Don't stop the madness
Don't stop the chaos
Don't stop the pain surrounding me
Don't be afraid, love, to break my heart
If it brings me down to my knees
-Tenth Avenue North, Don't Stop The Madness