It’s strange to consider the proximity of the scariest things to our lives—the smallest decisions that lead to the greatest consequences or the most uncontrolled things that so decide to grace our lives with their hovering and overpowering, fear-filling tendencies.
We are strangely close to car accidents, addiction, cancer, natural disasters—horrors virtually uncontrollable by anyone.
I’ve tried to figure out what makes us so afraid of tragedy because there are many reasons I have come up with, and I suppose to each person one thing serves a greater level of fear than another.
Maybe it is the uncertainty often highlighted in instances of cancer or the loss of a significant relationship, whether by death or otherwise—the question of Where do I go from here? carries a certain kind of weight that wonders how one will continue on without them; how to be a single parent, how to remain financially stable, how to cope with your own death, how to understand the preemptive grieving of those around you—
Maybe it is the grief that looms large over nearly every tragedy. So great an ache that causes us to remain paralyzed on the ground or sob uncontrollably and scream our confused and frustrated emotions into the ears of a God that seems very much not close by.
Maybe it is the reminder, that often doesn’t rear its ugly head into our circumstances, that we are not in control in any remarkably large or small manner. There is no hand we can play, words we can say, or people we can talk to, that could possibly reverse a diagnosis, death, or disaster. Absolutely nothing.
This morning, I walked out of breast care clinic to my car and cried in relief after my scans came back clear, relieving a week and half of worst-case scenarios plaguing my mind; I’m not exactly at an age where an order for an ultrasound or mammogram are part of yearly routine.
It’s funny what you’ll think about when you’re quite literally afraid for your life.
I wondered a lot about what I would do if things were bad because I genuinely wondered if I would get a diagnosis calling for my end before next year—
I wondered a lot about how it feels to have a disease taking over your body—something attacking you from the inside as you slowly watch with no ability to stop or slow it down yourself.
I wondered a lot about the faithfulness of God because as confused as I was about the whole situation, I felt most calm listening to worship music and writing about the faithfulness of God, in talking to Him—I felt the least afraid in keeping eternity-mindset very close.
I wondered most of all about how it would hurt my family and how I would react to God if I really did get the diagnosis I had already convinced myself was there (even though it wasn’t—fear is no friend).
Tragedy interacts with us in a remarkably unique way in every way.
My biggest point of comfort in this last week has been the unencumbered ability I had to question God—to ask Him what if and why and how, all unnecessary questions in retrospect considering the quick outcome of my situation, but nonetheless, my mind was wrapped up in the why of the what if—What if I have to walk through this? What if my family has to hurt? What if I have to die?
I thought about what an inconvenience a tragedy would be—how interruptive.
“The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life.”
– C.S. Lewis –
There is not even one more breath promised to us.
But the Faithfulness of God is promised to us.
And the Love of God is promised to us.
And the Goodness of God is promised to us.
And the Heart of God is promised to us.
And the Joy of God is promised to us.
There has never been one second where the character of God or any one of His promises have been suspended or withdrawn.
He never changes; He never fails; He never leaves.
He is God over it all, including tragedy.
The remarkable thing is that He will not leave when we question; the remarkable thing is that He says we are undoubtedly the Beloved even in the midst of the greatest confusions and fears.
We are undoubtedly His.
The pain does not always go away; the fear does not always subside; the grief does not always let go when we’d like—even in the King’s Great Comfort there is still a lot of mourning, but there is not only grief or pain or fear—there is an abundance of Hope outlining everything we think might be more than we can take, and it probably is more than we can take—
But it is never more than He can take, and therein lies the Hope—one day there will be no more tears, and everything will be made right.
Every pain will be mended, every tragedy repaired and reconciled, every fear discarded—
But until that day, there is a great promise holding on to our shaking hands and it is simply this:
We can trust God and His character, even when we are wildly uncertain and filled with pain.
He is a Good God, and circumstance don’t change that.
As much as we shout praise God! for clear scans, He asks us to praise Him in the deepest valleys when we get news we really did not want. It doesn’t take the pain away, but it pulls in Someone Else who walks with us and carries what we are unable to handle.