Last week we asked the question “Where is God when bad things happen?” and I shared with you some of the Bible verses that have helped me when life takes a turn for the worst. If you missed it, you can read it here…
Today I would like to continue our discussion by sharing with you the stories of the two hardest days of my life and the answer to prayer I received as a result.
Each and every one of us will be affected by the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives. When it happens, as it surely will, the pain can be devastating. I hope that by sharing my story, in some small way, it will help you to understand how much God truly loves you and wants to give you comfort when bad things happen.
My Granny was one of the most influential people in my life. Her immense joy and strength were always a source of encouragement for me. Most people saw Granny as a fun loving lady who lived life to the max. And a handful of people probably would’ve said she was a little intimidating. That always makes me laugh. Because even though Granny was fiercely independent and would always tell it like it was, she was also a big hearted woman who loved her family and friends and would do anything in the world for us.
Growing up, I wanted to be just like Granny in every way. And I think I got my wish, because the older I get, the more I act like her. Some would say that is a good thing and probably others might say I should rethink my life strategy. But either way you looked at it, Granny was a force to be reckoned with because she lived life on her terms.
When we heard the news that she was in the ICU on life support my world stopped turning. It’s as simple as that. It’s the one time in my life when I completely lost it. I fell to the floor crying and screaming. I’ve never been one for hysterics and usually I’m in control of my emotions. But that moment was different. The pain came from so deep down inside, bubbly up and spilling out of me. All I can say is that I felt like life would never be the same again. And to some degree it isn’t.
I remember the drive to Tulsa from our home in Arkansas very well. There had been a huge ice storm the day before. That two hour drive turned into three because the icy roads were so difficult to pass. The time ticked by so slowly and all I wanted was to be by her side. I prayed, for her, for us and I asked God, “Why?” Why did this have to happen and why did it have to happen now?
For a year and a half, my mom had been going through chemo treatments. We wondered if each day would be her last, never really having a grasp of what the future would hold. Our world was already extremely hard. The everyday had become unbearable, and now this. You see, Granny had been fine. It was my mom that we had been worried about. One day Granny was the picture of health, living vibrantly and fully. The next, she was in the hospital dying. It just wasn’t fair. But in the car on the way to see her, knowing it would be the last time, I prayed that prayer. “Why?” And God answered. His words were short and to the point but they have never left me. “I am still on My throne and all is right in the world”. That may not sound like the answer I was looking for but God’s words are always true. And there is comfort in knowing that.
Another year and a half after Granny passed away, my mom passed from the cancer that she so bravely fought for three years. Watching her suffer and die the way she did was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. Every day of those three years I prayed that God would heal her. On that final day sitting next to her bed, holding her hand and watching her struggle, my prayer changed. And I begin to pray, “Please God don’t let her suffer anymore. Take her home to be with You.” God heard my prayer, as He always does, and about an hour later she was in the presence of Jesus.
Those two days were the hardest of my life. Losing the two women I was closest too almost killed me. But each time God pulled me out of the pit of my despair. He didn’t leave there to sink all alone. He heard my prayers and answered them.
I will always love and miss these beautiful women who shaped my life in unexplainable ways. They meant more to me than I can ever tell. And my life will never be the same now that they are not in it. But I am so grateful that God let me have them for a little while.
So the question remains, “Where is God when bad things happen?” Simply put, God is still on His throne and all is right in the world.
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
God is not a faraway being in a gilded cage. He is a loving Father who knows the pain we feel and sees every tear we shed. When our world falls apart and the pain is too deep to comprehend, this is our invitation to bring all of our brokenness directly to Him. It’s an open ended invitation to seek Him in every situation we face. Nothing is too big for Him to fix and nothing is too small for His attention. God wants us to confidently come to Him and lay our burdens at His feet so that we can receive mercy and grace to help us in our need.
My dear friend, if you have lost a loved one and are reeling from the pain it has caused, I pray that you will understand that God is still on His throne and He has you in the palm of His hand. He will not leave you to face this hurt alone. Take your burden to Him and be healed by His mercy and grace. May God bless you always!
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About the Artist
Connie Rowland is the Artist and Blogger behind Master's Hand Collection, a series of Christian artwork that depicts God's hand in our lives. Each picture features an inspirational word spelled out in American Sign Language with a corresponding Bible verse. Check out the About page for more info on Master's Hand Collection and Connie.
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