It was three years ago today that I got a call that will remain in my memory for the rest of my life. Memory is not a quality that I am really known for (to say the least). But I can remember exactly where I was on Valley Forge Christian College campus. I can remember exactly what the weather was like. And I can almost remember exactly how he worded it when Pastor Craig told me that his youngest daughter, Laura, a lovely, life-filled senior in our youth ministry, had passed away that morning in a car accident.
My world stopped. Everything came crashing in. How do you react? What do you say in that moment? I was drawing blanks right and left. Then the tears came.
She was so young. She had made some huge changes for the better and renewed some serious commitments to the Lord just that week. I got the chance to be a real mediator and coach through one of her toughest moments, and gotten to see some real results. Why her? Why now? Why me? Why this?
Three years have passed and I’m not sure I have any more answers for those questions now than I did that day as they all came steaming through my mind like a freight train. I’ve found that we all have those questions which we would love answered in a fully written-out explanation. But we check the mail of our life and sometimes it just never arrives.
Why did he say he love me and then do that?
Would it have been different had I not said anything?
Is it my fault they’re like this?
When will I be done with this issue?
What should I do now?
Life has given each and every one of us our own set of different questions that can keep us guessing as to the meaning of what has happened to us or what will eventually happen to us. If only we knew everything, right?! And it’s our not knowing that can frustrate us, cause us to lose hope, or cause us to lose a certain love for life and going forward in it.
But don’t lose hope! I know it may not be the condolence you want, but God does know the answer. In fact, you may very well be mad at God for whatever it is that’s happened to you. And I think that might be alright. As I read the Bible, particularly the Psalms, I see David getting frustrated with God a number of times, but he teaches us something so crucial that you need to catch: When questions arise and frustrations attack, take them to the One who has the bird’s eye view on everything.
David doesn’t allow his questions to get the best of him, take him out of the game, or cause him to become cynical. He just gets really open with God about them. If God answers, great. If He doesn’t, then ok, at least they’ve been voiced to the One in control.
There’s no telling what God’s doing in your particular situation. But it’s always safe to assume that God is orchestrating all things to work together for your good when you follow Him (Rom. 8:28).
Three years ago I never knew I would lose the student I’d impacted the most so far in youth ministry. I never knew a bunch of her friends would come to the Lord because of her death. I never knew I would become the full-time youth pastor at ROLC because of the impact that was happening. I never knew I’d be sitting in my own office now in Doylestown. I never knew I’d be able to be a part of God impacting a bunch of teens’ lives in Bucks County because of Tidal Wave Student Ministries. And I don’t know for sure what”s next for us or for me personally. That question will remain to be answered. But I think we can rest assured that if the question is “Will God work this out for good?” the answer is a resounding “YES!”