Tuesday night my sweet friends Taylor and Jennifer lost their son in a horrific car accident. The unthinkable occurred while they waited for their 16-year-old Junior to return home for swim team practice. He had called to let them know he was on his way, but he never arrived. As my friends watched the 10 o’clock news waiting for their son, they saw something in the lead story that forever changed their world. The catastrophic accident blazed for the Metroplex to see. The father’s words were uttered, “That’s Colin’s car.” The young life moved from earth into the arms of his heavenly Father.
“Why did God do that?” Speed Police cried in my arms when she got home from practice the next day where the coach told the girls – all of them friends of the boy’s sister.
“Sweetheart,” I gently spoke while stroking her hair and holding her whimpering body. “He didn’t ‘do’ it, He allowed it.”
An incomprehensible subject that adults can’t grasp. And yet as she stood there, she derived comfort. Her thoughts turned to the boy’s mom… then his dad. She loves them so. She started crying harder. Her sobbing reached a depth I never knew a child had. The thought of these parents losing a child almost cratered the young teen.
“What can we do?” she echoed the thoughts with which I had wrestled all day. “How will they go to sleep. Or wake up? … How will they live?” her words barely audible, practically buried in her wailing.
“I don’t know what to do….” I cried with her. “We love them sweetheart. We don’t try to explain. We cry with them. We listen. We don’t say anything. Until it’s time; then we talk about him. We remember with them.”
I thought of my sweet friend Dana who died a couple weeks ago. When we traveled home to be with Scott, her husband, he spent at least two hours telling and remembering with us story after story. We laughed and cried and laughed some more. Because she loved laughing. And she had some great stories. It was like a healing balm for him to remember with friends the love of his life. It made her departure seem a bit more like what it is – a momentary separation.
“Earlier this year,” Speed Police said as she gathered herself, “Coach Boubel took a field measuring tape and stretched it from one end of the gym to the other. Then he put something next to it that was a quarter of a centimenter long. He told us that our lives on earth are the size of that speck in reference to our eterntity with God.” Her tears slowed.
A momentary separation.
What a beautiful thing. Hope in what is to come. Sure of it. Certain even though we don’t see. Because of Faith. Not faith in us, our strength, our religion. But, faith in the One who was, who is and is to come.
But is my faith strong enough to face a burning car and premature death? If yes, then lean into the intimacy offered by resting in the One who sees, knows and dries every tear. If no, then ask.
“But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:22b-24
I guess that’s where we sit. Consumed with grief. Utterly helpless to soothe the pain engulfing our friends. Yet believing (struggling to believe) and resting in Hope.
The Light that shines though our tears and reminds us of his promise in the resulting rainbow.
Thanks for walking the road with me.
God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles…”
1 Timothy 6:15b-16, 2 Corinthians 1:3