In 2005 I went through a horrible personal experience. One day, as I sat on my bed crying uncontrollably – that hyperventilating type crying – I had an image pop up in my mind’s eye. The vision had a pinkish white backdrop. In the center was a throne. It was white, almost iridescent. It was not bright and shiny, but rather muted. Sitting on the throne was Jesus. He was draped in an ivory colored robe. He had his elbows on his knees, body slightly slumped over, and his face was in the palm of his hands. He was crying. Jesus was crying with me. Jesus. Was. Crying. With. Me.
GOD HAS A GRIEVING HEART
- The vision God gave me that day in 2005 taught me something special – God has a grieving heart.
- In both my professional and personal life, I’ve witnessed some of the worst of humanity.
Sexual Abuse & Trafficking
The depths of depravity of men and women is truly shocking. I’ve seen women near death from sexual torture, I’ve seen the cigarette burn scars on a woman who was tortured until she acquiesced to the demands of a sex trafficker, I’ve heard the stories of what men did with “prostitutes” to live out their fantasies that in no way could or would they ever ask their wives to do those horribly demeaning and extremely perverted things. As a prosecutor, I had to watch a video for a case and saw the look on the face of a young boy being recorded while being sodomized. I’ve watched young girls and young women be subjected to a rape exam – a completely humiliating experience after having recently been violated by someone. I’ve seen the bruises and scars left on a child by a parent.
I’ve sat across a conference room table from a stay-at-home mom to three children, one of whom has special needs, during a divorce mediation when having to explain she’ll have to go to work and she’ll be struggling to make it financially because her narcissistic and cheating husband doesn’t have the ability to support her and their children as he should, that their original dream for their children to have a mom at home are now forever shattered at no fault of her own. I’ve seen women who spent 37 years in a marriage as a stay at home wife and mom, be shunned by the husband for a younger woman, and receive very little financial support after a divorce. I’ve seen mothers emotionally abuse their children to the point the children are completely alienated from the father, believe that he’s abusive and the children want nothing to do with him – though he did nothing wrong.
I’ve sat and talked with parents whose children are missing. Can you imagine not knowing if your child is dead or alive? Not knowing if your child is being fed, clothed, abused, raped? Not knowing if your child is able to sleep in a comfortable bed at night? If your child is warm on a cold night? I’ve seen the pain on a parent’s face after learning his or her child is dead – it’s like you just watched someone literally reach into their chest and rip out their heart.
WHY DO BAD THINGS HAPPEN?
I don’t know why bad things happen. I’ve studied theology and studied how sin entered the world – blah, blah, blah. However, I can never explain why these things happen, particularly any explanation that helps someone who is hurting. What I can explain, because I do know, is that God is grieving with each of these situations. God is grieving with each victim, with each parent, with each man and woman experiencing the heartache of a divorce and the reality of splitting one household into two. God grieves with you. David wrote, “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud; and He shall hear my voice.” Psalm 55:17 He also wrote, “You keep track of my all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” Psalm 56:8 NLT Each tear you cry is recognized and kept track – each tear is not shed in vain.
Paul wrote in Romans 5:3-5 that trials produce perseverance, perseverance produces character and character brings about hope. Hope is powerful. Hope gets us through day to day, sometimes minute to minute. “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts….” (vs 5) This “pour out” is not just a dribble, the Greek word here denotes an overflowing. God’s love is overflowing in us. His love pours over us. Never do I feel this overpowering of love more than when I’m distressed and anxious. He’s with us through the pain.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
The world we live in was not God’s original plan. But, we don’t suffer and grieve alone. There is not an experience in this life that someone else has not also experienced. Find those people, your “tribe” so to speak. If you’ve lost a child, talk with others who have also lost a child and can share in that experience. If you’ve gone through a divorce, talk with others who have also gone through a divorce and can share in that experience.
Bad stuff happening to us does not make sense. There is no explanation you can give a grieving parent that will make sense of a senseless tragedy or that would make them feel better. But, know this: whatever you are grieving, God is grieving with you.
Share a time God grieved with you.
Photo courtesy of KathySmithImages