After the unimaginably difficult death of her two little children, Elizabeth was distraught—“Empty hands, empty hands, a worn-out exhausted body, and unutterable longings to flee from a world that has had for me so many sharp experiences. God help me, my baby, my baby!”
What held her back at the edge of utter despair? Sharon James records that “She could only repeat over and over to herself something that one of her friends had said when calling on that last dreadful day. ‘God never makes a mistake.’ Somehow she clung on to that truth.”
Have you experienced tragedy in your life? The same God to whom Elizabeth clung remains faithful to this day. He has never made a mistake. And He never will.
Debbie Demi knows this to be true. Like Elizabeth, she lost a little one this past year, shortly after she was born. In the following paragraphs, Debbie allows us to listen in as she contemplates God’s character in the midst of overwhelming sorrow.
My dear sweet Destiny died 2 days ago. It’s amazing how much you could love someone who did so little so much. I marveled in anything that she could do. We were excited every time she went “poopoo” on her own or turned her eyes to look at something. Her body was perfect. I marveled at her little toes and fingers and beautiful hair. She was mine, especially designed by God for me for a time such as this, and I loved her.
Destiny was a lot of work. She required medicine to make each part of her work – a medicine to sleep, a medicine not to seize, a medicine to move her bowels, a medicine to help keep food in her stomach… I cried many nights since she was born – saddened by what her future held and fearful of when her last day would come. The doctors and hospital visits were getting exhausting. I felt like I was in the 3rd watch (as it says in the Bible). I was weary – yet at the same time, I was confident that the Lord would not give me more than I could handle.
I would have never chosen this trial or any trial for that matter. The pain of losing a child is at times unbearable. Yet, by God’s grace, I was able to press into God and try to see what purpose He had in bringing Destiny into my life – because I have no doubt that God doesn’t allow anything without a specific purpose. He had everything calculated down to the minutest detail including the perfect number of her days to accomplish the purpose that He had in mind for us. He knew the exact amount of pain and emotional energy that I could handle to keep me pressing into Him – that it wouldn’t be too much that I would grow weary or bitter. I always knew and still continue to rest on the fact that He is good all of the time and not only is He good – but all things that He allows into our lives are for our good. We can’t always see how a circumstance like this could be good – yet our confidence is not in how we feel or how we see things – but in who God is.
We often think that all pain is bad and that it’s our goal to avoid it at all costs. It all hurts right now in an emotional way as a surgery to remove a large cancerous tumor would hurt physically. If we didn’t know what we were being saved from, the surgery would feel like trouble upon trouble… the incision, the bills, the recovery process… Yet, what a benefit the surgery would be: it would keep one from death; it would remove future pain; it would allow one to live life to the fullest. What’s going on in our lives at this time could be God’s way of doing surgery on our souls – we just can’t see what the pain is sparing us from or preparing us to do or how it will be used for the future. It’s all a matter of faith in a God who is faithful. A God who doesn’t allow pain for the sake of pain – but has a plan even for the pain that seems unnecessary. We just can’t see the work that He is inevitably doing beneath the surface. He’s allowing circumstances that if we could see the outcome of His plan – we would say, “Cut deeper.” May we not miss what He intends!
Destiny’s name means, “for which you were meant to do.” She accomplished what her loving Creator meant her to do on earth. Now we have the hope that she will spend eternity with Him in glory where we will be with her one day.
(Due to the significant nature of this topic, this will be the final post for the weekend. Please read chapter six prior to next week’s book club installment. May God’s comfort and love be with you all!)