I had some car trouble this weekend and ended up stranded outside the city with my son and my 87-year-old grandma.
“Well, I guess we can’t feel too sorry for ourselves,” she said. “We aren’t stranded in the middle of a hurricane.”
This is often how we console ourselves and one another – with the acknowledgement that it could be worse. At least we’re not alone. At least we’re not refugees. At least we’re not …
But what happens when it is the worst case scenario? What happens when you’re right in the middle of your nightmare – of what you only ever imagined could happen to someone else?
In the early days after Brody was admitted to the NICU, I demanded answers from God.
“How could you let this happen? I trusted you. Your Word says that we reap what we sow and I have sowed good seed, I have walked in faith. How is this my reward?”
God answered me: A storm is not a harvest.
There is still much I do not understand, but I have held on to that. The storm has raged and subsided and raged again, and I remember, I did not create this. I am not to blame. This is not me getting what I deserve.
Still, I am left with more questions. Who then is to blame? Where is the justice when an earthquake devastates Haiti, when hurricanes devastate the United States, when I have to watch my son die?
When our anger has nowhere to go, it is tempting to be furious with God. I am often furious with God.
In the early weeks after Brody’s death, I was going about my day when – the only way I can explain it is that God just interrupted my thoughts: You know, I can take the blame.
I was confused and frustrated. What am I thinking right now? Of course I can’t blame God – I am working very hard to not blame God. Why do I feel like God is telling me to blame Her?
It is too big for you to carry, God added. I can take it.
I was so hung up on the thought that God could not possibly be asking me to blame Her, that it took some time for the message to sink in. Even now, I am still growing in my understanding of these words.
But God is not asking me to blame Her. She is asking me to release all the blame that I carry within me; She is telling me that She can take it. It is too heavy for me to carry and I need to let it go. I need to trust that God loves justice and mercy and God knows who is guilty. I need to trust that God sees all and that She is working for our ultimate good.
I need to trust that because I do not always see it.
I do not know how God will restore what has been lost, but I need to let go of my pursuit of retribution. My family is suffering; families are suffering all over the world. It’s disgusting, and it makes me angry. But I should focus on love and how we can heal, and I should let God take the blame.