As a mom of a three & a half year old, I am faced with the "why" question all the time - approximately 42 million times a day actually. And I can usually answer Riley's "why?" with some kind of halfway-sensible answer. When he "whys" me into a corner, I just tell him "because God made it that way" and he's usually satisfied.
But I'm struggling with some whys today that I just can't answer. I lost a friend this week. He was struggling with depression and had gone missing and last night I got the call to tell me that they had found him. And he's gone. I don't have words to express the sadness and grief I feel for his mom, his girlfriend, and their families. I don't have an answer to this "why." All I can do is pray. In church this morning we sang, "I called. You answered. And you came to my rescue. And I wanna be where You are." I couldn't keep it together to sing along. Why did my friend have to lose his battle with depression? Where was his rescue? Why is the world this way? My standard "because God made it that way" answer just doesn't seem to apply here.
I don't really have an answer why. I never will. But I know that God has a better plan for all of us. Some may say that this was somehow God's will, but I don't believe that. I don't believe God wants us to suffer. I believe He can redeem the worst situation and turn it around for good but I just can't believe that God's will was for my friend to lose hope the way he did. Likewise, I don't believe it is God's will for children to be abused, to be born into disease or poverty or for women to be raped. All of that is a result of this sinful, messed up, broken world we live in. I thank God that He is there to help us pick up the pieces, heal us, and show us a much better way. And I am praying hard for His peace for my friend's family. I pray God shows up for them in an undeniable way.
The past year I've been praying the Lord's Prayer more intentionally - focusing on what it's really saying and the most powerful part for me is "thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven." Jesus tells us to pray that God's will WILL be done here... just as it IS done in heaven. And I'm trying so hard to do my part to make this world a place where what God wants to happen is what actually does happen. That's part of why we are adopting.
We're adopting because there's a child who needs a family but in all honesty, I'm adopting a child whose birth mother I wish I had been able to keep alive or who had been able to keep him. We will always continue to work with Heart for Africa to try to change the trajectory of Swaziland so that fewer children there are orphaned. I would love to live in a world where adoption doesn't happen because there are no struggles with AIDS, infertility, poverty, or rape. The reality may be that we won't experience this until we are in heaven but I'm certainly going to work hard to get us as close as we can.
I'm not trying to make some random connection between my friend & our adoption just so I can write about it on this blog. Those are the two "why" questions I struggle with right now. I failed my friend somehow - our society failed my friend. Society has already failed my future child because he's going to (or already has) lost his birth mother. I grieve this and I know God grieves this. And I don't know why it is the way it is. But I do know there is hope. There's so much hope and I pray that everyone who is suffering today can find it.
"Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best thing. And no good thing ever dies." This was the quote on my friend's facebook page. I think the best way to honor his memory is to hold on to hope. And I plan to do just that. This was a tough week for me between bad days, news about my friend, and news about our adoption but there is no giving up. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." For me, it's more like, "I can't do anything without Christ, who strengthens me."
My prayer for my three little ones today is that they will never lose hope, no matter the struggle. That's my prayer for the world, actually. Please hold on to your hope. Please.