Often times, we can go months or even years without any thought given to death. I’ve lived a pretty blessed life. Over the course of my 30 years, I’ve only lost a few people close to me. However, the events of the last two months have brought the fact that we aren’t promised tomorrow into stark focus. My brother-in-law’s death happened quickly and at such a young age, it didn’t really give us time to process everything until afterwards. Two weeks ago I helped with a horrible car wreck which, again, demonstrated that our time here is so limited. Then, this weekend, my dad’s boss was killed in a tragic car accident. He was just 26.
That’s a lot to take in for someone so unaccustomed to dealing with our mortality.
We spent the weekend in shock at yet another loss. I didn’t personally know him, but just having someone close to you lose someone suddenly has the same shocking effect. He was so young and no one had any time to prepare. I watched my kids play this weekend with a heightened since of emotion. I longed to protect them from this world. I longed to impart to them the wisdom that might some day save them from tragedy. But, I also acknowledge that I can only do my best. My mom asked if I could ever imagine losing a son. Even the smallest thought in that direction brings tears to my eyes. I can’t imagine it.
The one thing that has really made all this bearable is my belief in the sovereignty of God. My belief that he is in 100 percent control of everything that happens gives me hope. It gives me hope because even in the midst of horrific loss, I know he is still in control. This world is not a series of random occurrences that we just have to suffer through with no hope. I personally know plenty of people that don’t trust God in these times. One thing I don’t know, though, is how they do it. If I thought the fate of my children was in the hands of random chance, I don’t know how I could approach each day without locking them in a protected room.
I know three things. I know God is in control. I know he loves me. I know he does everything around me for my good.
These days, my good looks like some terrible personal tragedies that force me to rely on God. That increasing reliance brings with it a sweetness that I can’t describe. I thank God every day that he does not abandon us. I thank God that the “bad” things that happen aren’t because he is angry with me. He loves me and sees exactly how all this fits together in the grand scheme of things.
I’ve heard Matt Chandler preach about a theology of suffering a lot. I’ve never really and truly understood it until I went through suffering on a scale larger than I could handle on my own. The reminder, “God is good and does good,” has been what got me through a few hard months. It has become a sweet phrase to hear in my soul.