It's easy to view the recent tragedies occurring in our world and respond with "God is in control," a few prayers and dismiss it completely. It has become normal for our culture, especially Christians, to react this way, because unfortunately, we have become desensitized to the reality of death and hatred. I found myself in the similar numb trap; a lack of feeling. Until today.
This morning, after spending two hours ministering to children from Scotland at a hotel kids club, I received a call from my mother. A wake up call to reality.
Through her sobs, I was informed that a freak accident while swimming in a lake resulted in the death of my older sister's boyfriend, James.
"Why?" I thought, while silent tears tainted my cheeks. While scanning my brain for a reaction, for what to say, I prayed a one-worded prayer: "Jesus", for there is power in His holy name. I immediately picked up my Bible and flipped to Job. If ever in need of a proper response to tragedy, Job definitely takes the cake.
"And he said, 'Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21
God grants peace in times of heartache, love in times of abandonment, and wisdom to see that even when we don't understand the answer to "why", we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)
When hard times come, it's tempting to run to temporary solutions and fill our hearts with worldly substitutes, and then question where God is when we find ourselves empty and broken at rock bottom. One common reason that I seem to use to justify not first going to God is a lack of faith that He will come through. As bad as this sounds, we all can painfully admit that we have had this convicting realization at least once, when we realize that we have emerged ourselves in worldly comforts before letting God heal us. Don't misunderstand; worldly solutions and desires are not necessarily bad. Though, when we let our earthly desires override God's rightful place as the Lord of our lives, the hierarchy of our heart becomes disordered and God cannot shine through us.
Though I did not foresee the events of today, God did. Though I do not understand why, I do not have to, because God is in control. Through times such as these, we have a decision to make. We can cling to the hope that Jesus is bigger than our heartache and doubt, and reigns supreme over heaven and over this hurting Earth, or we can hide away in bitterness and refuse to let God heal us. In the midst of trials, God wishes to grow our faith. Will you let Him do it?
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness." James 1:2-3
Elizabeth Collett, a student from Texas State University, is serving as a Go Now missionary in Orlando, Florida.