Its evening, and I’m tucking the warmth all around her. The sun’s already vanished the way it does in October in Texas, and I’m looking at her from the tiny light glowing from the hall.
With her hair already a mess and a 3-year-old pout, she says fiercely to me: “God’s not bringing Aida home.”
And the unspoken is spoken aloud, words hanging there in the dark, taking my breath away.
Suddenly, I’m back sitting in early summer’s hot sun. Discovering 2 Samuel 22 as if it is balm to my aching soul. I read it while cooking dinner, food splattering on the page; while sitting at our table with crayons and coloring papers surrounding me; I whisper it through tears on the couch; search for it in the wee hours of the night. It’s what I went back to all summer long and even now into the fall.
David’s song of Deliverance
“… my God lightens my darkness.” (v. 29)
Her statement is really a question. The one we’ve all been asking silently for months: “Why isn’t He?”
The tears sting hot on my face, and I utter some words strung together “pray … keep asking … one day” and kiss her good night.
But it haunts me for days, the words I’ve never been brave enough to say.
HE could bring her home.
But He’s not.
I talk to my mom on the phone. “I can’t see the good. I can’t see the good in this situation.”
“This God — His way is perfect” (v. 31)
I’ve been here walking blindly through the haze before. So I keep going. I keep writing down all the little blessings every day, turning back to the page bent with verses highlighted, keep filling our moments with music that remind me of the wonder of His name, scribbling promises in my journal and across chalkboard’s black. And I keep crying. And we keep praying. And keep reciting all that we know deep in our bones that is true of Him and His character.
And it’s here in the repetition that I realize:
When I can’t see the good in my world, I can still recall all the good that is in HIM.
The more time I spend dwelling on the character of my Lord, the less time I have to spend dwelling on the bad in my life.
Will I choose this? To call out His Names instead of calling Him names?
“For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? This God is my strong refuge …” (vv. 32-33)
And the sun goes down early in October, and I look around me and see so many hurting people missing its light. Dear ones who know the gut-wrenching bellyache of loss and turmoil and anger and defeat and physical pain and guilt and uncertainty and blame and confusion. And I ache for them and I am weary.
“For you equipped me with strength for the battle …” (vs. 40)
I know it before I ever dared to ponder the question: that I can’t explain why He chooses not to do what we know He can do. And I also know that we may never see clearly through the fog of this dark world, but He will equip us to walk through the darkness, He will sanctify us as we walk closer to His sufferings. His Word is the beautiful story of Light coming from the darkness and of a perfect Son who walked through the very black of it and of Glory claimed by a God above it all.
There are no easy answers, no perfect clichés, no precise words that clean up the mess or make the hurt disappear for those trudging through the bad and wrestling with the questions.
But in the early summer I find God-given hope and promise printed on thin pages.
-He makes the dark more bearable. (v. 29)
-His way is better than ours. (v. 31)
-He is Lord and nothing will happen that is not for His Own Renown and His Ultimate Glory and therefore the good of His kingdom. (v. 32)
-He promises us strength for the battles raging within us and around us. (v. 40)
I’ve got a mess of a beautiful life that is testimony that His mercies are new every morning. The sun will come up again tomorrow.
She tells me today, “I’m going to have a sister. Aida’s my sister. My baby sister.”
And I see light.