Sarah Rieke » Living. Loving. Pressing on.

What Were You Thinking, God?

It was mid-January, just a few months after Evie passed away. I was invited to be a leader at our church’s annual winter youth retreat, to be present for any of the girls who needed someone to pray with them or talk with them through whatever God was stirring in their heart that weekend.

But really, it was my heart God was stirring.

Or rather, maybe, my heart that God was prodding. Like a rancher using an iron prod to lead his unwieldy cattle toward the fences, God was leading me somewhere I didn’t want to go as well. He was leading me to ask a question.

It was a question that had begun to burn quite uncomfortably in my heart, a question that continued to bubble to the surface. And yet I would quickly swat it away, labeling it inappropriate and too disrespectful to bring to the Father. No I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.

Until I did.

In the safe presence of a sweet friend whose heart was also hurting from losses of another kind, I finally could no longer stand the tension of harboring this question inside. The words escaped my mouth in a single gush, like air from a popped balloon.

“God, what were you thinking as I was holding my dead baby?! What on earth was going through your mind?”

I wept. She shared some thoughts but I could hardly listen. All I could think about was getting by myself with God an crying these words out to Him, alone.


The opportunity finally came. I escaped to the girl’s side of the cabin and hurried onto my bunk. I opened my Bible and my journal and began to write and pray.

God, what were you thinking? What was going through your mind when you saw me holding my dead baby?

Almost instantly I felt His spirit gently move inside of me with an answer in the form of a question.

Sarah, what would you have done if Micah was hurting in that way?

Tears flooded my eyes as I imagined that very scenario. My adult son, doubled over and sobbing in grief over the loss of his infant child and middle-aged me, arms around my son, sobbing equally as hard and my heart aching to know a way to take away his pain.

An excerpt from my journal from that very night:

After reading through Job and Psalm 70 and not being satisfied with what I found, I just broke down and cried. God! What were you thinking when you saw me holding my dead baby?!

A still small, very fleeting voice said, “What would you do if Micah was in such grief?”

Obviously, I would be terribly, horribly grieved for my son. 

Likewise is the Lord for me.

That night was so freeing. Bringing that seemingly taboo question before the Father removed the unrest and discomfort my soul was feeling and replaced it instead with a blanket of peace. With that one simple thought He placed in my heart I believe He gave me a small glimpse of how much He truly loves me and is involved in every nuance of my life. He cares about my pain and He cares about me. And He cares about you too.

The kingdom of God is righteousness, joy, and peace. There are no questions too big or too off-limits to bring before the Almighty. Present your questions to Him in faith and see what righteousness, joy, and peace can enter your aching heart and finally set it free.

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