Along with the survivor stories we all have, are those from people who do not feel like survivors or have lost loved ones.  I know one person who lost a loved one in the Indiana tornados and several who have loved ones that survived it.  One tornado was <10 miles from the trailer where my son, daughter-in-law, and all my grandchildren live (next to my sister).  I know how quickly life can turn.

Last time we talked about survivor stories, but today I’d like to talk about the other side.

What if it were my family planning a funeral or figuring out what to do with nothing to our names right now?  Would God still be good?  To that I give a resounding: YES!  Believe it or not, I’ve had some pretty awful things happen to me and/or those I love.  Life is like that:  it comes with the good and the bad.  People have a tendency to give credit to God in the survival stories, but often blame Him when the bad things take away life or possessions.

Where was God…

…when fifteen-month-old Angel Babcock was pulled from a mobile home to land in a field some distance away?  Where was God when her mother, father, and two siblings were killed by the same tornado?  Where was God when little Angel let go of life yesterday?  Why this family and not another?

I am not God, so I can’t answer all the questions.  I do know God, however, so I can say this:  God was there.  He was with them as they crouched in fear, hearing the sounds of destruction coming for them.  He was there as those lives were taken and that baby was laid in a field.  He was there with Angel as she drew her last breath and went to join her family.

God has a plan

God loves each and every one of us.  He loves us in a way we may never understand, for His love is beyond understanding.  We never go through anything that God does not know about.  For some of us, that is comforting.  For others, those who do not know God’s love or cannot see it in their moment of darkness, may see it as a reason to blame God for what they see as a curse.

The truth is that we cannot determine if something is a blessing or curse at the time of its happening.  In every one of the tragic events of my life, God has woven His love throughout the experience.  Sometimes I couldn’t feel it at the time, but always, in looking back (or in looking up in the midst) I see Jesus.  He was there, and God’s fingerprints were everywhere.

Where was God when…

One of the darkest moments of my life was when my Mother passed away.  One of the most beautiful times of my life was when my Mother passed away.  What?  How can it be both?

Given 6 months to live after a cancer diagnosis, my mother managed to live 11 months.   Not only did she live that long, she went to WalMart only a few days before her death.  Having seen several cancer deaths, this was an unexpected blessing.  I stayed with them during this time, going home on some weekends to see my husband and daughter, to help take care of her.  We had a great time, one that can never be taken from me, during this.  We were out and about almost every day.  Many times you could find us shopping at WalMart and being silly.  We liked to make up languages to speak just to make heads turn.  There were hard times here, but the time spent together, the time to go over old pictures and hear old stories, the time to prepare — all of these were priceless.

I had gone home when I got the call that Mom was in the hospital.  The plan was hospice, but a football-sized, matastasized tumor in her stomach broke in two and the pain was unmanageable at home.  I was so grateful to have missed this moment with her.  She was in the hospital only a few days.  Watching her die, watching the pain and confusion in her eyes, watching my dad sobbing over her and telling her he’d marry her all over again, all of that was a deep, deep pain.  But through it all, God was there.  All the family was able to gather in her hospital room.  We sang hyms; we prayed; we cried; we hugged; we watched a beautiful woman slip away to glory.  She would not go until my second son was able to make it, so we were gathered around her bed, holding hands, as she escaped the bonds of her body and went to meet her Jesus.  It was awful!  It was beautiful!  It was priceless!

You see circumstances are simply that:  circumstances.  They do not determine much, but how we respond to them, how we look at them makes all the difference.  If I had not been looking for the God, if I had been focusing on the pain, I would have missed a beautiful thing.

God gives us free will and that brings a lot of pain when we choose sin.  But, even in all our willful mess, He came to give us a way to Him – because He LOVES us!  Love isn’t about feelings.  Feelings come and go.  God never goes.  He is always there, even in the middle of the biggest storm.  Look up into the eyes of Jesus. Raise your hand and ask Him to pull you up and walk with you back to the boat.

Do you see God’s hand in the hard times?

How do you feel about this post?  Some of you may feel differently.

Go back to your survival story and look for God’s fingerprints.   Share them here if you wish.

Can you “Praise Him in the Storm”?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHdcyue0bSw

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