One of my friends was checking in on us this morning and here was my text to him:
"People are amazing, God is awful. Days are a roller coaster and the nights, exhausting. Just going back and forth between anger, sadness and feeling numb to it all."
Honestly, I feel like I am biblically accurate in my text and blog title; He's awful, God-awful. The prophet Jeremiah writes this about his experience with God in Lamentations 3:7-13
7 He has walled me in, and I cannot escape.
He has bound me in heavy chains.
8 And though I cry and shout,
he has shut out my prayers.
9 He has blocked my way with a high stone wall;
he has made my road crooked.
10 He has hidden like a bear or a lion,
waiting to attack me.
11 He has dragged me off the path and torn me in pieces,
leaving me helpless and devastated.
12 He has drawn his bow
and made me the target for his arrows.
13 He shot his arrows
deep into my heart.
Sounds pretty awful that this is how God treats us. Yet people on the other hand...we've been blown away by their love and care for us. Family, Friends, Neighbors, Church Family, Softball Guys, the list could go on and on. We've received meals, gifts, cards, gift cards; our kitchen looks as if we own a bakery and a florist. People have been so amazing to us this past week; we have truly been surrounded by the love of many amazing people. Our church had a beautiful church service that was exactly what we needed to experience on our couch that Sunday morning.
Then there's the prayers, people are praying for us non-stop; amazing, and we so appreciate it...but to who are they praying? The God of all comfort and peace. Really?
The God of all comfort and peace?
You're praying to the one who allowed our sweet Sophie June to die one week ago to give us comfort and peace? Where was His peace and comfort last Monday when I got the phone call from the midwife that Maria was there, she was not in danger, but they couldn't find a heartbeat for Sophie? Where was His peace and comfort when we saw the ultrasound and the doctor confirmed her passing? Where was His peace and comfort when we sat in that hospital room and held our daughter's lifeless body? Where was His peace and comfort when we finally mustered up the courage to go on Facebook to start reading through some of the comments from our initial post and it was "International Daughter's Day" and all we saw was post after post of daughters and their parents?
Awful. And yet in the same lament, here's what Jeremiah writes:
21 Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Is he stupid? Are we stupid for believing this? Some may say yes, some may be like Job's wife in Job 2:9 where after he loses all ten of his kids to a natural disaster, all of his riches in the world and has a terrible skin disease, she tells him, "Forget God, curse Him and die." Stop holding on to this fanciful idea of a good and gracious, sovereign God who is amazing to you and to all of humanity.
Yet Job didn't give up, he dared to hope. Jeremiah didn't give up, he dared to hope. Jesus, on the cross, didn't give up, He dared to hope when He cried out "Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?"
And so today, we dare to hope. No matter how awful, cruel and unloving God feels to us in this moment, we believe that His mercies are something He gives us everyday by allowing us to be in right relationship with Him through faith alone in Jesus' death and resurrection, confirmed through the Holy Spirit living and dwelling in us. God is big enough to take on our anger and disappointment in Him...He divinely preserved the real words and real stories of Jeremiah, Job and many others to give us the space to feel this way about Him.
In my mind, I've had the picture of the teenager who gets in an argument with their parents and it escalates to a place where they yell "I HATE YOU" and slam their bedroom door on their parents. That's how we feel right now. But as parents, we also know that there is nothing that could ever take away our love for our kids, no matter if Nora and Max both do that to us in the years ahead. I believe that about God too: we've yelled, we've slammed the door in His face, and He patiently waits, still delivering His mercy, never giving up on us and always planned on giving up His Jesus in our place so that we could be restored to right relationship with Him.
People are amazing, their love is amazing, their prayers are amazing, and throughout this season, when God feels downright awful, there will be reminders of His amazing love to us. I don't see it right now, but I dare to hope, I have a confident expectation, we'll see it again.