Eleven years ago, my firstborn son died an hour after he was born. Two years later we lost our next child, named Ellie, about five months into my pregnancy. Losing Caleb was a spiritual crisis for me. I had to face doubts I didn't know I had about the existence of God. With a lot of support I worked through that and I believe God answered me. That process was a blessing, but it was exhausting - spiritually and emotionally. Then we lost Ellie, and I felt like after I'd just clawed my way out of a deep pit, God walked up and kicked me in the face and knocked me right back in. Whether or not he existed, I did not care. I was done. A few months later I was running and thinking through giving up. I thought, "I've got to get it together. I can't give up. That would kill Chris, and it would kill my parents. They've done so much for me and have loved me so well through this." Then I had a thought that I believe came from God: "How much do Chris and your parents love you??? How much do I love you. I sent Jesus to die on a cross for you, and you've completely discounted that."
That was the beginning of a slow softening and shift for me. Jesus changes everything. I didn't understand why God would allow this to happen to me again, but I began to rest in the assurance that I'm loved - and by a God who didn't spare himself. Jesus makes the things okay that are not okay.
I started Reason for God by Tim Keller this week (fantastic so far) and it's brought that truth back. Here's a quote:
If we again ask the question: "Why does God allow evil and suffering to continue?" and we look at the cross of Jesus, we still do not know what the answer is. However, we now know what the answer isn't. It can't be that he doesn't love us.