In the agonizing days after Lindsay’s death last August, our feelings were raw and battered. Somehow James, Josh, and I functioned well enough to plan her funeral and deal with issues surrounding her death while welcoming friends and loved ones into our home bearing food, hugs, and tears. Maybe that’s what’s referred to as “being in shock” after a traumatic event.
There were questions and comments—and a theme began to emerge: Why did God allow Lindsay to die? The anger expressed was a normal, necessary grief reaction—one I’ve felt many times.
Regardless of how devastated I was, I discovered it is possible to have a crushed heart and still be able to state what I firmly believe: Everyone suffers this side of heaven. Parents sometimes have to bury their children. While the incredible pain of losing our daughter is unique to us, death is not unique in this fallen world. As awful as Lindsay's death was, God is faithful and would carry us.
Even so, I questioned God, cried out to Him, disagreed with His decision to take Lindsay, and begged Him to undo this nightmare. Resentful and hurt? I’d be lying if I claimed I wasn’t.
And even now, I get angry about the whole situation.
But angry at God? Not really.
I’ve thought about how I was able to separate the awfulness of what happened from the goodness and sovereignty of God in the middle of a crisis. The short answer is I was on auto pilot, rotely moving through time and space, and clinging to the faith that had carried me through every valley I'd ever walked through. The underlying truth: It was the power of the Holy Spirit.
In a crisis, the totality of a Christian’s life carries them. Your basic instincts while in shock override everything else. If your mind, heart, and soul are filled with God’s Word, and you’ve experienced His presence in your life, intuitively you reach for Him in a storm. His truth comes out of your mouth. Even when the waves crash around you, you know He’s holding you up.
The other part of this assurance comes through prayer.
“… pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18), and “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
In 1 Peter 5:8, we again see the instruction to be alert. Why? Because our enemy, the devil, seeks ways to destroy us. He is proficient in crippling us emotionally and spiritually through our children and loved ones. Being alert means being aware, but it also means being prepared for the battle.
In addition to being equipped for earthly trials through Bible study and prayer, I’m also able to rest in God’s promises. Believe me, physical and emotional rest did not come easy, still doesn’t some days, but that’s when spiritual rest provides respite.
Christ said, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28)
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).
Isn’t it a comfort to know we’re not walking this road alone? Christ is yoked beside us, sharing our burdens, and carrying us through the valleys and over rough, rocky roads.
Every night, I step outside with Lindsay’s dog Sugar before we go to bed. Stars blanket the night sky, and the vastness of the universe envelops me. Lindsay loved star gazing, and in those quiet moments I feel close to her—almost like I could reach out and touch her.
That vast blanket of stars also paints a vivid picture that God’s thinking is higher than mine. I cling to the verse in Genesis 50:20 that what man meant for evil, God will use for good. Because make no mistake about it, Lindsay’s death was the enemy’s evil doing, not God’s. And the day of reckoning will come.
I also must daily choose to “take hold of the hope set before us” so I “may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” (Hebrews 6:18-20).
Pontius Pilate asked a very insightful question on the night Jesus was crucified, “What shall I do then with Jesus, who is called the Messiah?” We all have to answer that at some point.
As for me, I know I’ve faced the worst year of my life, and yet somehow I’ve survived. That “somehow” was Jesus walking with me, at times carrying me, and at other times allowing me to rest while he took my broken heart in his tender hands and held it close. He’s never left my side.
Christ has been my anchor. I can say unequivocally that God’s grace was the only way we got through this year—and it’s His grace that will carry us into the future.
Perhaps you are facing a crisis—something that has altered your world. I’d love to pray for you. Please leave a comment or email me confidential requests. Thank you for lifting my family and me up in prayer through this difficult time.
Resting in His Grace,
©Laura Hodges Poole
Cemetery ©Laura Poole
Other three photos courtesy of Pixabay.com
Other three photos courtesy of Pixabay.com