Six months ago, my sister-in-law was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. This time it was stage four, and it completely baffled the doctors. She had essentially a zero percent chance of it returning, but it did. The doctors were still determined to try everything they could to battle and beat it. Not only did she have an amazing group of doctors, she had people praying. I’m not talking about a handful of people…there was an army of people praying for her all over the country. I myself prayed the boldest I had ever prayed in my life. I prayed and came to God with complete confidence. I thought for sure God was going to heal her here on Earth and we were going to see a miracle. She was a warrior for Jesus, and if there would have ever been a story someone would use for His glory, this was going to be it. But a few weeks ago, things went downhill fast and she passed away. The cancer took over her body and she just couldn’t fight anymore.
The past few weeks, I have found myself all over the place. My very first reactions were anger, disappointment, and confusion. I was so incredibly angry at God. All of the “why” questions have swirled over and over in my head. Why didn’t You heal her? Why do my nephews have to grow up without their mom? Why does my brother-in-law have to live life without the one he loved so deeply? Why do we have to walk through life without her? Can’t you imagine what an incredible testimony that would have been, God? How can this situation possibly be for our good? In the moment, I couldn’t possibly see how this could all turn out for good. This loss affected so many people and I just couldn’t understand why this had to happen the way it did.
But just as He always does, God showed up. He continues to remind me of this:
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 NLT
In my very limited perspective, I think that I know what would have been best. I don’t see the bigger picture like God does. Even at this very moment, God is looking at both the present and the future, and all of the good that is going to come out of this situation. I don’t have all of the answers to my questions, and in all reality, probably won’t until I myself meet Him face to face. But I’m learning that I don’t necessarily need answers in this moment…I need God. I need God to meet me right where I am, angry, confused and all. I need more of God’s peace and comfort to fill me during this time of grief and pain. I simply need to know that He is there.
Do you find yourself in a similar place? Maybe something has happened in your life that has left you angry and confused. My encouragement to you is that it is okay. What is more important is that you seek God in the middle of it. Suffering stinks, and it is hard and painful, but God is still present and He wants to hold you and be there with you through the process. I know this because that is exactly what He is doing for me in this moment. Go to God with your anger. Bring Him your confusion. Tell Him how deep the pain and heartbreak are in your life. He wants and longs for you to bring all of it to Him. After all, He is big enough to handle it. In the process, allow Him to speak to you, to comfort you, to help you and sustain you. I don’t know why we have to go through so much suffering, but I am thankful to know that I have a God who not only cares but has a perfect plan in the middle of it. I don’t know why my sister-in-law had to die, but what I do know is that I am already starting to see how God has used it for good. I know He’s got this…I just have to choose every day to trust and believe it.
You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you.
Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
Matthew 5:4 The Message