This week, my husband John and I were remembering back on the time after my first husband, Gerry, and our children, Dawn, Stephen, and Michael lost their lives in a fiery car crash. John related how my therapist asked him, “how does she not hate God?”
When tragedies that cannot be undone turn our life upside down, we hear questions like, “where was God?” and, “how could God allow such a thing to happen?” Looking back on that time, I realize that there were two options before me. I could turn my back on God, or I could seek comfort and healing in Him.
At the crossroad in his life, the Messianic Jewish Rabbi Jonathan Bernis’ words mirrored my own.
“I heard all about the God of Israel. But one thing that I didn’t learn was how to have a relationship with God…and none of my teachers could give me an answer. He goes on to say he knew how to recite the prayers in the prayer books, but Jonathan had no idea how to spontaneously pray to God from his heart.
In many ways, I felt exactly as Jonathan did. But, having already accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I can say with certainty that as I lay in that hospital bed near death myself, it was the power of the Holy Spirit that led me to “spontaneously pray to God from [my] heart.” My life was shattered and scattered. Yet, there was this gentle, constant thrum that kept fanning the smoldering embers of hope in me. I didn’t think to blame God, much less hate Him. He was my lifeline. He was carrying me, when I could not walk.
In times of tragedy, it is only human to cry out in pain and anger, but at the same time if we can cling to even a mustard seed of faith, the grace of God will go to work to knit back the pieces of our life. Without my knowledge or understanding of it, that is the grace of God that worked in me. And that is the grace of God that will work in you.
Jesus, in His agony on the cross said, “my God, my God, why have You forsaken me.” (Matt. 27:46) But, His last breath was a cry of victory, “it is finished.” (John 19:30) In perfect obedience, Jesus gave honor to God the Father as He moved on to Resurrection Glory.
The pain and suffering of loss are excruciating, and the journey through grief is long and lonely, but we do not want to make a career out of suffering. We are not relegated to live mired in sorrow, anger or even regret. The Hands that hold the stars and the planets in the sky are the same Hands that hold us. When I surrendered my tragedy to the Lord, He showed me the way to salvation. The One who heals broken hearts, gently coaxed me to seek joy in my life again.
He is waiting to do the same for you. In 2 Kings 20:5, The Lord says,
“I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I am healing you…”