No matter what
I can’t imagine many situations more sorrowful than losing a child. The closest we came to it, was when our son was very poorly with cancer, and the hospital told us to expect the worst. During that time, one song played over and over in our house – Ron Kenoly’s “He’s turned my mourning to dancing, he’s lifted my sorrows. I can’t stay silent, I must sing for his joy has come…” We prayed it, sang it, and built our faith that God would restore our son. And he did. I’ll leave you to imagine how that felt.
The families who lost their babies to the wicked, angry Herod in Matthew 2:16-18 did not get that relief, tragically. Their sorrow is depicted by an Old Testament verse Jeremiah 31:15, of their predecessor Rachel, weeping inconsolably for their terrible loss. Strangely, the song of hope which was so important to us, is based on a passage of the bible just two verses earlier. The whole of that section is about the nation of Israel turning back to God, with tears and laughter, sorrow and joy, as repentance and restoration are prophesied.
We have to face the fact that not all situations get miraculously resolved, not all that are prayed for get their healing. For reasons we can never understand, our son recovered whilst others have to cope with terrible loss. We are inexpressibly grateful to God but humbly acknowledge the sorrow others face. And there are other sorrows and difficulties we too have to grapple with. Tears and laughter, sorrow and joy… life is a mixed bag for us all.
When life throws the worst at us, we can be tempted to turn away and blame God, and turn our backs on the one who can help us through. Really, the only thing we can be certain of, is that God has compassion on us, and lovingly calls us back to be restored with him. Whatever sorrows come, his plan is to turn bad things around and use them for good (Romans 8:28) and give us hope for our future. “Restore me and I will return because you are the Lord my God.” (Jeremiah 31:17-18). Trusting him might be hard, but infinitely better than any alternative. No matter what, he is there. He is God. He is my God.