Can you believe in a God who allows such devastation?
An Indiana newspaper this week printed an obituary unlike most others. The accompanying picture showed a beautiful, bright-eyed six year old boy, grinning with the magical joy and energy only a child can possess. There is something so fundamentally wrong about an obituary listing where the deceased attended preschool and kindergarten, and that his favorite pastimes were t-ball, Mario video games and playing board games with his family. The list of surviving family members included parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles…this child appears to be the first in his family to leave this Earth. What a horribly stark reminder that this world is precarious at best and filled with unfathomable pain and grief at worst. These are the moments we rage at God and ask “WHY?! How could you let this happen? Don’t you even care?” If we’re honest, most of us would add, “Do you even exist?” Because in the face of such devastation, there is no comfort to be found. No such thing as “closure” in this life. No word or phrase can soothe a wound so deep that it rips through to your very core. But God is unafraid of our tortured questions. He doesn’t cringe at the shaking fists we’ve aimed His way. He’s not vengefully grasping a fistful of lightning bolts, ready to strike anyone daring to question Him. Instead, His Holy Spirit is busy interceding on our behalf. Romans 8:26-28 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (ESV) Throughout our deepest pain, our bleakest season of grief, He hears the prayers we can’t even begin to formulate, and groans with us in prayers too deep for words. And even this, He follows with an astounding promise: He will not only carry us through this sorrow, but He will somehow, someday, miraculously use it for something good. Dear God, please do so – swiftly – for every person who is grieving this day.