This year has been a hard one. I know I'm not the only one who has noticed it. Looking back on 2012 there have been some huge things happen in my life and in the lives of those around me. There has been more death surrounding me than ever before in one year. It could be that I'm getting older and I know more people, many of which are much older than me. But that's not all of it.
In the last 3 weeks there have been 3 young women somehow connected to my life that have died. They were 21, 23, and 24. I don't understand. It's harder when young people are taken from us. We struggle to figure out why things like this happen.
One of these girls was the daughter of a family friend. She was in college and a sorority, on her way to work when something went terribly wrong. We can never know why things like this happen, but good can come from the pain. At her funeral the church was packed. I heard somewhere around 900 people were there. I would guess that many of them do not know Jesus. But after the funeral they had all heard His name.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
God is not surprised when things like this happen. We probably would not have chosen to go through things like this, but God has a Divine plan that we are not always privy to. He promises to work everything together for good. They may hurt now, but beauty can be found in brokenness.
The most recent blow to my life has been felt all the way from Florida. A man that I know and respect greatly was involved in a traffic accident on Monday. He is in a medically induced coma while doctors figure out how to heal his injuries and assess what his life will look like after this incident.
A Facebook group has been set up to keep people informed about progress, but mostly to ask for prayers for his recovery. I was not surprised to see that well over 1,000 people have responded to the group. I can't even imagine the number of prayers that have been spoken, begging God to bring healing and comfort.
In the end, I am left asking God why things like this happen. Why are there serial killers sitting in prisons all over the world healthy as can be, but some of the greatest people I know have to experience these things? Maybe He knows that in the death of a great man/woman/girl/boy people draw closer to Jesus. But it still hurts.
I don't mean to question the sovereignty of God. Maybe the better questions is, for what purpose does He have these things happen?
Talking to a friend last night we realized that even though this year has been one of the most difficult we have lived through, it has also been one of the best. We have experienced some deep valleys, but we have also experienced some of the highest mountain tops with Jesus.
So the moral of the story seems to be: trust God. When you are hurting, seek Him. When you don't understand, ask Him. When you feel like you cannot take any more of a beating, run to God. When it feels like life is crumbling around you, rest in the knowledge that God has you in the palm of His hand. When things are spinning out of control, know that God has everything under His control.
Please pray for the families of those that have lost loved ones. You don't need to know them specifically, but God knows. And also please pray for healing for Pastor Dave Vanaman in Ft. Myers, FL.