We bridge the gap of our uncertainty with faith.
by Jamie Steinhart
It’s been a tough couple of weeks. Our close friends lost their young 21-year-old son very unexpectedly, and another teenager from our church is facing possible paralysis after a motorcycle accident. It’s hard to make sense of it all when it seems so very senseless. My college student, who is at the age when he is seeking answers to difficult questions, challenged me to respond to why God allows such tragedies? I honestly don’t know the best way to answer him, because I, too, am wondering where God is in the midst of all of this sadness. It is times like these that make me question God’s faithfulness.
Why would a loving God not intervene when a young person took his last breath? How could He allow such intense grief for parents whose lives will never be the same after such loss? It’s hard to process with our human minds, what is the will of the divine. Perhaps God knew that a terminal illness lay ahead and He wanted to save him from long term suffering. Maybe we witness a motorcycle accident to remind us how fragile life is, so that we remember each day is a gift to be cherished.
Possibly all of us who know both young men were supposed to witness profound moments of grace in the midst of tragic circumstances. Without hesitation, friends and strangers alike rallied to provide food, held a rosary service, sat vigil at a hospital and donated time to serve at a funeral luncheon. And then there were the prayers, the strong and steady petitions to God for both families. It was a powerful reminder of what a community of faith does for each other–they carry a grief stricken family with love and support, until they somehow find their way through the sadness.
The truth is that none of us really know the answers. I know that I certainly don’t. We may never fully understand why children get cancer or why teenagers die in car accidents. There are simply things our human hearts cannot grasp. But we bridge the gap of our uncertainty with faith. We trust that our loving Creator never abandons us in our suffering and that He himself mourns with us. We believe that through His mercy death is never the end and that grieving parents will someday be forever reunited with their son in heaven.
I don’t always know how to best respond when one of my own seeks answers to life’s most difficult questions. I only know what my faith tells me, and my son will have to come to those convictions on his own journey. But my hope is that he will find that even in the midst of tragedy God is still there. In these moments He is most present, sheltering us under His loving wings and carrying us when we cannot walk alone.