I have mentioned a couple of times here that a tragic accident took the life of someone very dear to many of our friends on January first of this year. I never had the privilege of knowing the Mikasa family, but I have been deeply touched by the pain of their loss through my community’s grieving.
I found out recently that the husband and father who survived the accident has started a blog where he is writing with great vulnerability about his loss. It is a bit like reading A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser but reading it in the moment as the immediate journey through suffering and grief unfolds. His posts offer a powerful witness to what it means to trust and love God in the midst of what I can only call an impossible grief.
Here is an excerpt from today:
I’m stronger now. Even in my weakness, I am strong. My faith is stronger than it has ever been, even when I first came to faith in Jesus. My capacity to love has grown. I am a better father to Lucas than I ever was. I am a better son, a better son-in-law, a better brother, a better cousin, a better friend, a better follower of Jesus. I have perceived this growth from the earliest of days after the accident. And I perceived that others around me would grow in their faith as well. My first response to this growth out of the ashes was anguish and guilt. I felt that the cost was too high. Midi and Nathan dying was an unspeakable cost to get myself and others to wake up and consider the course of our own lives…
But I quickly realized that my thinking was incorrect and a perversion of the truth. For to think this way means that I would have to believe that God caused the accident to happen. It would mean that God actually did it. But this is not true. God did not cause the accident, but rather I believe that He allowed it to happen. I am not sophisticated enough to dive into deep theological thoughts about the sovereignty of God. What I know is that God is good. I believe this. I am content with this (for now at least) and do not feel that I need to understand everything about God’s sovereignty in order to have faith. My experience has been that God is grieving alongside me. The accident happened specifically because a broken man committed an irresponsible act. He drank himself to intoxication, drove someone else’s truck, and sped through a red light, killing my wife and son. Then he ran. The accident happened more generally because we live in a fallen world where sinners sin and rebel against God. And there are consequences to our rebellion…
I’m stronger now. And others are starting to seek God in their lives – some for the first time and some are coming back to Him. And we shouldn’t feel guilty about it because God did not cause the accident to happen so that we would grow. He is not some disgusting cosmic manipulator. The truth and the beauty of God is that He is the Great Redeemer. He only can make something good out of something so awful.
As I read this today, I am reminded that the world indeed is broken and dark. Death and pain are all too real, and while we can be fooled to believe that comfort and control are ours for the taking, it can only be said that our every breath comes to us as gift. In the black church, folks have always prayed: “Thank you Lord for waking me up today in my right mind.” That is the kind of perspective and gratitude that should inform and guide us all.