August 16th. It’s here again. Some years, like this year, it creeps up on me, and other years, I crawl up to it with a wave of different emotions. Today, 9 years ago, a little brother was born, never to open his eyes or take a breath on this earth. We were expecting him in just a few weeks, then suddenly, no heartbeat. He was here and gone, and we never even got to meet him. Little Joshua.
I think that was the worse day I have experienced. I thank God that my sister, Breanna, was only 2 at the time, because she didn’t understand what happened and she doesn’t remember it. I was 9, and though I was strong, it was awful.
I don’t remember questioning God’s goodness through it all, or blaming Him for taking that precious life from us. I knew terrible things like that happened all the time, though I wondered why it had happened to us. More than I questioned God, I thought that maybe I had done or said something wrong that could have caused it to happen. My mom always said that life and death are in the power of the tongue, and that our words are very important. I took her very seriously as I remembered little things, like saying I wanted a little sister more than a brother, or that I wished her belly wasn’t so big so that she could go for bike rides and do more things with me. After a little bit, I realized that it wasn’t my fault, and I couldn’t blame myself; it just happened. And it wasn’t God’s fault, either.
I’ll tell you a secret: I’ve never really liked the song Blessed Be Your Name, (“You give and take away. My heart will choose to say, ‘Lord, blessed be Your Name.”) There’s nothing wrong with it, I know it’s in scripture and I don’t disagree with it in that context. It’s just difficult for me to think about God taking away something good, especially a life. My 9-year-old mind could not think that God had taken my brother away. No, God is most kind and loving. He is good, and He can’t do anything bad. It was that simple. In Kid’s Church, we sang\shouted things like “Lord, You are good and Your Mercy endures forever” and “You are good, all the time! All the time, You are good!” I didn’t know any different. I still don’t , though I’ve learned some things along the way.
Jesus said, “The thief (satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they (you) may have life, and have it more abundantly.”
Jesus gives life. Satan kills. And though we all have an appointed time to die, it isn’t God that snatches our lives away. When we arrive, He welcomes us into Heaven with a smile and open arms.
One thing I hate is when people essentially blame God for bad things that happen by saying things like, “It was God’s Will.” , “God works in mysterious ways.” ,or “Only God knows why that happened”. These statements can be true, but we cannot use them out of context. Bad things do not happen to us because God is up in Heaven scheming and trying to think of ways to “teach us a lesson”. He knows and sees everything, but sometimes, things happen on this earth that aren’t His Will. That’s just how it goes. Satan and his demons are running all across the earth, and they’ll go where they are permitted. I don’t think we can fully understand the spiritual realm that is alive all around us, and the role we have. But it’s there, and it’s very real. More real than this earth. And on this sinful earth, bad things happen. But, God takes each of those bad things that happen to His children, and He turns them around for good! He teaches us, grows us, makes us stronger, and gives us something even better than what we had before – what satan destroyed\stole. What satan means to harm us, God turns around for our benefit!
We cannot blame God for bad things that happen, or say that He wants them to occur. Because He doesn’t. He can’t. Even to say that He willingly “allows” them seems wrong. That’s just like saying that a good father would say to his neighbor, “I won’t abuse my children, but I give you permission to. Go ahead. I’ll watch.”
That’s absolutely ridiculous, and yet, I think that’s how some people can look at God. Like He’s some big bully up in Heaven, who enjoys watching us suffer because it shows our weakness and how much we need His Strength, so that we cry out for help. Certainly, in hard times, we reach out to Him and rely on Him more, but it’s not that He makes those hard times occur! He makes them good, because He is good.
Why do we ever look at God like He is any less perfect and wonderful than He is? Why don’t we ask Him, if there is anything we are believing about Him that isn’t true? Because once we see and know Him as He Is, we can live our lives abundantly, on this earth as it is in Heaven. That’s what He told us to pray, after all. Because He is a Good, Good Father. That’s Who He Is, and we are loved by Him, that’s who we are.
Happy Birthday, little brother. See you in Heaven ❤