A few short weeks ago, my workplace experienced the tragedy of a 29 year old wife and mom who died suddenly and unexpectedly. In fact, she and her family had returned from a softball game and ice cream, the kids were tucked in bed and her husband was off to shower. When he returned, she lie on the floor and she would not recover from the apparent heart attack related the the birth of her second child just 2 weeks prior.
Yesterday, I went to visit a friend who is in his mid 40s. His wife in her late 30s. They, like my wife and I, had great difficulty in being able to have children. In fact, like us, they were told it was not possible. That all changed a little over 5 months ago when they were overwhelmed with joy because of the surprising news that the impossible had become reality. They were pregnant. I remember seeing my friend in the cafeteria at work and just praising God for their miracle. I was so happy for my friend and his wife.
Last week, however, overwhelming joy turned to overwhelming grief. The child they had carried for over 5 months would not make it through the premature birth alive. They held their beautiful, yet lifeless child - examined his features and dreamed of what life would have been like had he lived. I was deeply grieved for my friend and his wife. They lost a child they never had a chance to know.
Why in the world do things like this happen? These are tragedies beyond explanation. No answer seems satisfying. Sure, we live in a sin cursed world and these tragedies simply reflect and give a penetrating example of the power and corruption of the enemy. Life in God's perfect garden and the life we have hope for in heaven does not include such tragedies. There will be no sickness and death. They only exist in this world and they only exist because of the curse of sin on God's perfect creation.
As true as that may be, it does not satisfy the grieving heart of those who experience the tragedy. How do they carry on? The burden of grief is so heavy it feels like it is more than you can possibly bear. It will be a miracle if they survive!
As I left my friends house, I thought of the verse where Jesus described the amazing things we could do if we only had the faith of a mustard seed. Today, however, I understood this verse in a different light.
Perhaps the greatest miracle during such terrible tragedies is the fact that people do persevere. Somehow, with time, they survive. They will never be the same after having lost a spouse or a child, but God does find a way to restore their soul. Considering the gravity of the loss...that is a miracle that makes moving mountains a cheap parlor trick.
And the miracle occurs because of a faith so small it is almost imperceptable. Beneath the questions of "Why God?", "How could you let this happen?", "How will I raise children on my own?"' "This is not how it is supposed to be?".
Beneath all these gut wrenching questions is a faith...a hope, that lingers. That part of us that says, "I have no where else to turn. If I can't have faith and hope in you Lord Jesus, I have nothing at all. This is all I have to give."
It is a mustard seed faith and it is all it takes. From there, God can gently, in grace and mercy, mend the broken heart. Slowly, over time, He restores the grieving soul.
All He needs is faith the size of a mustard seed, and He will move mountains - He will do the impossible in our lives.
Praise God for His indescribable gifts of mercy, love and grace.