I think one reason the tragedy in CT strikes such a deep chord in my heart is because I know what it is to lose a child. I took time on Saturday night to slowly read the names and look at the pictures of the children and many of their parents. I recognize those looks of grief. I did it because I want to identify with them. This is not just news it is very real. And it is horrific.
I’m sharing Chapter 3 from my book “backwards” here because it speaks to what to do when you lose a loved one. I hope it helped you like experiencing it helped me. If you’d like to buy the book or share it with someone you can go to www.livingsent.net/store
Everyone eventually comes to the place where they meet their own mortality and realize they can’t do life alone. That time came for me at 2 a.m. in the morning, May 21. I couldn’t sleep because the pain was too great. My mind was racing and it wouldn’t stop no matter how much I prayed.
Belinda was crashed on the couch in the living room. We both were dealing with grievous tragedy. Our precious baby daughter, Megan, 21, months old, had died in her sleep the previous morning. We had been left to do the unthinkable, to put the pieces of our lives back together without our youngest child.
In my grief I cried out to God. It was incredulous to me that He had allowed Megan to die. How could He? It wasn’t that I thought I was so righteous but she was so young and innocent! My heart hurt beyond whatever capacity for pain I thought I had. I don’t know that I really expected to hear anything back from Him; venting was more of what I had in mind.
But in the darkness of that moment, in my spirit, I heard something I believe came from God, I know how you feel, my Son died too.
That got my attention! I sat up. Was God speaking to me in a spiritual way? Once I recovered from the surprise, it brought me comfort to know God was there with me in the pain. I felt His peace. He said He understood. I didn’t hear condemnation for my doubt. I felt His compassion in a way that words don’t describe.
After a brief pause the thought continued, And I willingly sent My Son to die so you could live. I knew mentally that Jesus died on the cross for the sin of the world. But now that I knew what it felt like to lose someone I loved—it was unthinkable that God would willingly choose for His only Son to die. Yet that is exactly the choice the Father God
made. He sent His Son Jesus to pay for the sin of the world.
Incredible! The love of God was never more real to me than it was at that moment. I felt His presence and His comfort was salve to my soul. I wasn’t looking for an explanation. I needed to know that there is a God who loves and that He would come near. He wasn’t distant. He was close. He wasn’t unfeeling. His heart shared hurt with mine. He didn’t condemn me. He joined me.
I couldn’t do it alone but with His help I could face the new day. I accurately understood that our family would never be the same. So with His daily presence we walked slowly and with faltering steps into a new normal. We learned there is a God who cares and comes near.
You aren’t created to do life alone either. I was tempted to doubt whether God had my best interests in mind. I wasn’t sure I could trust Him. But He knew exactly where I was and what I was going through. He knew how to reach me and He did.
I’ve heard it said, when you can’t find God start praying and He will find you. That was true in my case. God carried me and my family through the grieving process and over time brought us to a place of healing. We’ve shared generously with others what we learned in our grief. Day by day God brought truth and people into our lives who led us lovingly into restoration. We will always miss Megan but we are no longer debilitated and we are stronger for our loss. It is a great consolation to know we will be reunited with her in heaven. We are looking forward to living together in eternity with her and with Jesus.
I regularly doubt things, often as an exercise in searching for truth, but I’ve not doubted since that day that God’s posture toward me is love. This is true for you too. He loves you. I realized then that what God wants from us is for us to trust Him and to love Him in return.
Here is the great truth I’ve learned about life—it is all about relationship. God wants relationship with me and with you. To get the most out of life we will want to learn to relate well with others. If we don’t do relationships well we won’t do life well.
When Jesus came to teach us how to find relationship with the Father and Holy Spirit He did it by calling disciples to share life with Him. The best learning always comes with application in relationship. He didn’t simply point them to His Word, the scriptures, He lived truth out in their presence. John, one of his disciples, called him a living word. I know this about you even if I don’t know you well or even at all—you were not created to live life alone. You too will come to times when you can’t do it. God designed you to desire relationship with Him. Without Him there is a God shaped hole in your soul.
He is the One who thought up relationships with others, some of whom will become family, friends and community. Sharing community is what makes life sweeter. In relationships the joys are multiplied and the sorrows are shared.
You need God and you need others. Life will prove that to you over the course of time. But why wait for that day?
When you follow Jesus, you find life as it was meant to be.
There is a harmony in loving God, loving people and living out the love of Jesus. It is the only way to truly live.