As we in the States remember 9/11 today, fires burn on the West Coast, Texas is under water, and a hurricane has devastated the Caribbean and has begun its way along the East Coast. Yet, with all this happening, I’ve seen something reoccuring as it did in the aftermath of 9/11. People are turning to prayer and considering God may have an answer. It’s during the hard times, the painful times, that we are most apt to look to our Maker. Even though, we might not understand what’s going on, He does. However, it takes faith to look past our fear, hurt, and disappointment and sing in faith, but it is possible.
Singing through Tears
Our feet made no sound as they walked the needle strewn forest floor. The greens of huckleberry bushes and salal surrounded us while the contrasting shade of the evergreens covered our heads from any chance of late fall rain. Birds chirped around us oblivious to the pain in our hearts. Then softly almost hesitantly my friend began to sing. Her clear voice wavered over the familiar words to the hymn.
“O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made. . .”
I glanced over in awe that she could be singing at such a time as this, but my voice at first shaking joined with her on the chorus. “How great Thou art, How great Thou art…”
Praying in difficulties
Saying that the days leading up to that moment had been stressful would have been an understatement. My friend, Donna, had called me several weeks earlier to say that her nineteen-year-old daughter, Christina, was in the hospital. In shock I had listened to her explain that Christina was suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts. My brain couldn’t comprehend the thought. The girl I knew was talented and beautiful. She could draw anything she set her mind to; give her a paintbrush or a sponge and she could put what was on paper onto a wall. How could this young woman who had so much to live for, be struggling. I had prayed with Donna for healing.
Several days later, I had received the news that Christina had been released from the hospital and was to go to counseling and take some medication. Surely everything would be fine, but I was proved wrong the next Sunday when Donna walked into the church.
She had greeted me with just two words, “She’s gone.” All I could do was give Donna a hug. Tears had streamed down both of our faces.
Helping a friend
Somehow we had made it through that day. The next day was Monday. My husband and I had gone to Donna’s house to help comfort her and her husband. When we arrived, Donna had asked to go for a walk. We meandered through the path until she opened in song.
I will never forget that moment. The clouds wouldn’t let lose any rain, but they hid the sun to go with our mood. I had no answers for my friend. What do you tell a parent who has lost their child? All I could do was walk and listen, give her hugs, and cry with her. We cried until we had no tears left to cry.
Moving past pain
As the days moved along, we went through numerous emotions. First, I was just numb. It didn’t make sense. The wonderful girl I had painted the Sunday School room with was gone. I couldn’t believe it. “She was just gone on one of her missions trips,” I’d tell myself. “She’d return, and we’d paint yet again.” After the numbness wore off, I was in disbelief. I couldn’t understand how such a talented, gifted, beautiful young woman could think that she was not worth something. When there was standing room only in a church packed to overflowing, how could she think she was not loved? Anger was the next to plague me and my husband. We watched as Donna and her husband, Dave, and the remaining three children struggled. How could Christina leave them to this grief? How could she be so selfish? Why would she do this to all of us—her family, her friends, her church family?
Healing in time
Over time, I watched Donna and Dave deal with the situation. We saw the pain, the hurt, the drawing into themselves and away from the body of Christ. They felt as if they had no one to talk to. No one understood what they were going through. At times, the pain showed through when someone would ask about their children and the wound was brought fresh to mind. Gradually, they were able to go back to whatever normal would be. That Sunday in October had irrevocably changed ‘normal’ for them.
Hope for our future
Is it possible to sing through loss? Can God use even bad things for His glory? I can sit back and say with my friend, Donna, that yes He can because I’ve seen it happen. Many times since that day in October, 2006, I’ve sung through my tears. God seems to honor our heart. He knows we hurt. He just asks that we trust Him. We may never see what He has planned, but we can trust Him to care for us and to work everything out for His good to draw us closer to Him, to make us more like Jesus.
Today as we face uncertainty with weather, fires, and even memories from 9/11, remember God is in control. He wants to mold us into the image of His Son. That means hardships will come our way. The question is how will we face them? Will we turn away from Him or to Him?