Today I’m going to visit friends who have suffered a tragic, horrible loss. My natural instinct in these situations has been to figure out what to say. I’ve wanted to be ready to answer the awful questions of ‘why did God allow this to happen?’ and ‘how can this work out for good?’
But in the wonderful timing He uses, last week God brought several reminders my way of what His response is when someone suffers.
It’s not neat theological answers.
It’s not the triumph of strong faith, and the victorious assurance that all is well.
It’s also not a helpless shrug of the shoulders and a murmur of ‘bad things happen to good people.’
God doesn’t come and tell us why or how. His response is much less than that, and yet so much more.
It is Emmanuel. God with us,
sitting with us,
listening to us,
crying with us.
And who is this God with us?
He is someone who suffered Himself; someone deeply and intimately, acquainted with grief.
He is someone who sees when we suffer, in the garden, on the cross. He notices, He pays attention. He does not shun us when we are broken. He does not avoid us when we are in pain.
He is someone who is alongside of us, always, forever; expressing our anguish when our hearts are too raw for words.
This is the one thing I am confident of,
in the darkest, hardest hours and months and years of our lives, the Triune God comes.
He is here, with us.
And so I will go and mourn with those who mourn;
with hope that my presence will be a reminder that they do not grieve alone.