In college I had a friend whose parents were separated. His dad had been unfaithful to his mom on numerous occasions, each time leaving her feeling more and more isolated and unloved. But each time, in an effort to apologize, this man would buy his wife a new piece of diamond jewelry. It was as if he expected all of her hurt to go away with just one look at the dazzling rock tucked neatly inside a black velvet box.
Sometimes I feel like God does the same thing to me.
The Lord allowed some really deep pain into my life when He took Evie and Charlie. Every day I live with a love that cannot be directed in taking care of them and an intense longing to know the amazing little people I know they would have been, not to mention memories of all of the worst parts of losing them. And I live with all of this knowing that God could have stopped it if He wanted to. But He didn’t.
You wouldn’t have to peer very long into the window of my life to see how it overflows with blessings. We have a great house, my husband has a great job, I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to stay at home with my three children. We have two beautiful rainbow babies that light up our life and a six year old boy that is soaking up and learning about everything around him and we are privileged to see his personality take shape. As the old hymn says, if the ocean was full of ink I would drain it dry writing about all the ways God has shown His love for me.
And yet I often feel like these blessings can’t possibly make up for the fact that two of my children aren’t here with me. Sometimes I feel like the wife dripping with apology diamonds while everything within her withers because of the pain inflicted by her beloved.
I think David felt the same way in Psalm 77.
Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger shut up His tender mercies? This is my anguish; but I will remember … the works of the Lord … I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds. Psalm 77:9-12
Honestly I feel tired of this being the answer. When I want a solid answer to why God took my children I’m tired of the answer being trust, give thanks, remember. But it truly is the answer. The alternative is described so well by David earlier in that same Psalm:
I cried out to God with my voice … my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God and was troubled; I complained and my spirit was overwhelmed. Psalm 77:1-3
I know what that feels like, the feeling of refusing to be comforted by what I know to be the truth. It feels a lot like resenting God just as a victim of unfaithfulness resents her philandering husband. And scripture is so clear that in this relationship God is not the unfaithful one, I am.
I don’t have to look very hard or very far to see the blessings of God in my life. But I do have to work diligently to focus on the abundance of blessings in front of me and not the absence of certain ones. I know that God is for me, not against me and that even my pain is worked into His good plan for the world. And one day I will see how the absence of certain blessings in this life will have earned for me unspeakable joys in the next. For this girl, prone like a sheep to go astray and walk in disobedience and discontentment, I know these joys will be a gift from a kind, loving, and ever-faithful God.