Suffering Triage: Correctly Diagnosing God’s Ways
By KARISA MOORE
I didn’t realize I gripped tightly to an ideal outcome for my children’s lives until Jonathan died. I love God. Therefore, I believed I would see Jonathan living a full, happy life, devoid of the same type of deep wounds and pain I endured as a child. But you won’t find the promise of an unhindered life for believers anywhere in scripture. Yes, God is with us as we suffer, but our lives are not trauma-free. I wrestled mightily in the first days with my idea of what God should have allowed. I grappled with His sovereignty in the loss of my son. God is completely able to stop the trauma in our lives, but He chooses the absolute best outcome for all mankind. I don’t get to dictate God’s actions. God allows hard things to happen, and I still choose to follow Him. I don’t pretend to understand His ways, but I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt He is good.
God’s ways are not mine. His idea and my idea of what is just, fair, good and evil in my life are much different. I don’t understand how Jonathan’s death works to glorify God. I am like a child told to take something good for me, but I turn up my nose because I know it tastes awful.
My five-year-old daughter had to take a particularly nasty tasting antibiotic. It didn’t matter I told her it would fight the infection in her foot. She could not get past the taste and tried to refuse the medication. My picture of the antibiotic and hers significantly differed. She saw it as bad, and I knew it was good.
You may be in the pit of unknown circumstances and your dreams are not what you envisioned. Let go of what you think would make a good story and embrace the spectacular life God offers. No, what He writes does not erase the deep wounds of this life, and Jesus mourns with us. But it does have a joyous ending that takes us way beyond the cross.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT Think about a moment in your life that felt bad but surprised you with how well it ended. Can you see the good design orchestrated throughout your life? If not, begin looking and opening yourself to the possibility for good things from God. The Old Testament tells the story of Joseph, who was a dreamer of big dreams. He thought he would rule over his family, but instead, his brothers threw him into a pit and sold him into slavery. Joseph experienced many twists and turns to his story before his dream came true, but not the way he thought. God saved many nations through His plan for Joseph’s dream. You can read more about Joseph in Genesis 37-50. God’s story for you is one that may have many unexpected twists and turns. But as we learn to trust God’s ways, we can one day say, like Joseph, “The enemy meant our destruction for evil, but God uses all things for our good.” Other scriptures to meditate on: 2 Corinthians 4:17, Ephesians 1:11, Ephesians 3:20
PRAYER Father, You have a firm grip on my life, my family’s life, and my circumstances. You know my comings and goings and every detail of my unique story. Help me to see Your promise to redeem all things, even the most precious things I must let go of. Thank You that even when I don’t understand, You are still good. Amen
KARISA MOORE speaks on the unspeakable as a result of her oldest son’s suicide. She embraces life alongside her husband and two living children. She loves long hikes, photography and great stories. Karisa is the author of Broken Butterflies: Emerging Through Grief, A Suicide Survivor’s Poetic Journal, and blogger at http://turningthepageonsuicid.org. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story of hope.