(I originally published this post nearly a year and half ago following a particularly awful story in my local news. Though the events I mention below aren’t current, the message, I think, is still relevant. God is good. God is trustworthy. God has not changed. I need to remember that this week. I wonder if you do too.)
This is the one I didn’t want to write.
It’s too hard.
And it’s too awful.
It’s too big for me.
It comes after a week in the news that strikes every parent at the core of their deepest, darkest fears.
It comes after everyone in world who could or would pray, prayed, and social media blasted its Amber Alerts and all the trained professionals with their years of experience and fancy gear couldn’t stop a monster in a not-so-far-away town from snatching a little girl off the sidewalk and taking her life.
It comes, and the world screams (and maybe I do too), “Where was God?!?”
And I say, “I don’t know. I just don’t know. But I know He was there. I know He was.”
I don’t know, but I know.
It makes no sense, even to me.
This is one that I don’t know the answer to.
I’ve been thinking about an incident that happened when the girls were about three and one. Right about this cuteness level:
We were all up in Edy’s room when Hattie, toddling nearby on wobbly legs, tripped and fell hard.
I couldn’t move quickly enough to catch her and she landed, honestly, millimeters from the sharp edge of a bookshelf.
Though we’d had plenty of falls and near-injuries before that one, the mental image of what this one could have been terrorized me afterwards. I hugged her close and safe, and I think it was the first time I became very aware that I had a choice to make in this situation.
I could credit her near miss as a wonderful coincidence (or not credit anything at all).
Or I could thank the God of the universe for caring enough about one little child, in one little house, in one small town, at one speck in time that He would intervene at just the right moment and prevent her tiny skull from cracking against a very unforgiving piece of wood.
I chose the latter.
I can’t explain why God would intercede in that moment for her, for me, but just because I can’t explain something doesn’t mean that it isn’t true.
I just nearly got hit by a car on Friday, by the way.
Just a few weeks after posting this about how I wasn’t afraid to jog in the dark, and now I have to add “minivan” to the list of things that have scared the snot out of me on a morning run.
I don’t know exactly what happened, but she apparently didn’t see me coming across the crosswalk towards her and pulled out just as I was in her path.
Another driver laid on their horn to alert Ms. Minivan, but I don’t think she realized what was going on until there I was, inches from her hood, dodging and scampering like a madwoman.
It was scary (and ridiculously embarrassing), and I thanked God on repeat as I jogged on home.
Once again, He had protected me.
Once again, I can’t explain why.
I’ve been incredibly humbled during our nightly devotions recently.
Twenty-something years of “Christian living,” yet a Bible written for kids “4 years and up” is suddenly illuminating things I have either never understood or never noticed.
I got choked up a few nights ago as we read about Jesus, leaving the clamoring masses behind, to follow a grieving father home. His little daughter had just died.
Where was God?
But death doesn’t stop the goodness of our Creator, and, in this case, Jesus brought that little girl back to life.
He left crowds, and important people, and friends and the demands of a busy schedule to care about one little girl, in one little house, in one town at one small speck in time.
I cannot answer the awful, pressing question of why God miraculously intervenes sometimes and why He doesn’t seem to other times. I don’t know why He protects us from cars, and falls, and dangers we don’t even realize, and, yet, “kidnapping” is still a horrific reality.
I am quite willing to admit that my understanding of God is limited here. (A 31-year-old woman who is still foolish enough to run out in front of cars is definitely “limited,” wouldn’t you agree?)
I am beginning to fathom why though when Jesus’ friends asked Him how to pray, He included this one little phrase. “Thy kingdom come.”
It was just for times like these.
Jesus’ heart longed for restoration and justice and a new heaven and new earth, a perfect world, just like ours does.
He wept over death (John 11:17-35), is close to the brokenhearted (Ps 34:18), and looks forward to days when there will be no more tears (Rev 7:17).
He has not changed.
He cannot change.
The same God that cared about that little girl in the Bible cares about me and my little girls (and boy) as well.
We may not understand why God does what He does, but that does not change what is true.
And what is true?
“For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100:5