This is the resounding question. I have come across it over and over theses last few days. If God is so good, why did this happen to me? I believe the answer is because we live in a fallen world. Bad things do not happen because of God, they happen because sin exists and has since the beginning. I am not saying if you sin your baby will die or because I sinned my baby died. I do not believe that for one minute. In fact, John 9 dispels such a misconception.
1And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.
What I am saying is that because Adam and Eve were given a free choice and decided to eat that forbidden fruit, they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden and thus made mortal. Being mortal means that they were subject to death. So when the bible says that The wages of sin is death, I think that means because we were made mortal due to sin, we are subject to death. In that same verse though it says but the gift of God is eternal life. That is my favorite part of that verse. That means one day I will see Jesus, I will see Eli and all of the others gone on before. That is God's promise to us if we accept it.
What God does not promise us is that we will not have storms in our life. He does not promise us continuous warm fuzzies. To tell the truth, I have felt anything but warm and fuzzy these last seven months. What I have felt is broken...torn...crazy at times...carried...shielded. God is no fairy tale, modern day OR medieval Robin Hood. Just like Satan is no pitchfork carrying, cartoon creature with horns and a tail. Sometimes I think what we want from God is all the good he has to offer without having to deal with the reality of God. I say we there because I have fallen into that more than once.
So, what is the reality of God? The reality is that He put us here to glorify him and to bring others to him. Why do parents have children? To carry on their name. We were put here to carry on God's name. Now, just like parents love their children, God loves us. Love does not automatically mean we get any and everything we want.
Let me tell you, yesterday was one of those days around my house. The boys could not go out and play because we had a good bit of thunder and lightening. So, they were bored. Bored children (boys especially) equal messes...everywhere. Every time I looked up I had to pick up shoes from the middle of the floor or toys were scattered or there were pop tart crumb trails everywhere. By days end I was frustrated and yep, I'm gonna say it...ready for bedtime. Then later on, of course, I felt bad because I sat and thought, "sure wished that I had a screaming baby in the mix of all of that..." Well anyway, I thought about how frustrated I was because the boys and little miss LR did not offer to help clean up any of THEIR messing. Even when I made them pick up, they did not do it like I would. I wonder if God ever feels that way with us? Even when He is frustrated with us, His love is continuous.
Even though He loves us, He does not say we will never go through trials. I have been thinking a lot about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three fellows were very smart, good looking, and well favored. Because of this they were taken prisoner by King Nebuchadnezzar and made to do things they knew were wrong. Nebuchadnezzar tried to make these guys bow down and worship a golden image but they refused. As a result of their refusal, Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into a fiery furnace. A furnace that was so hot it burned up soldiers that were near it. These men did not die in that furnace. Instead, God walked into the furnace with them and protected them. Nebuchadnezzar even saw God in the furnace with the three boys. There were four people in the fire when he looked instead of the three he knew were thrown in. Better still than that, these men were unharmed. God did not keep them from being thrown into the fire, but he did protect them from it. I fully believe that He could have shut down the furnace and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would never have even gone into the fire. But he chose not to. Rather, He chose to show up in the fire with them and protect them.
I can not say for sure, but would be willing to venture a strong guess that these boys prayed desperately for God to spare them from that furnace. I can imagine that they begged God not to make them go through this. I also would venture to say that until they saw God in that furnace with them, they felt forsaken.
There have been times since we found out about Eli and lost him that I have felt forsaken. There are times now when I feel thrown into the furnace. I guess because we prayed so hard for him to be healed and that did not happen. My arms ache to hold him. I ache to have him here. I believe in the power of prayer even still. So, what is different? Now I believe that God answers prayers, just not always like we think they should be. God sees the big picture and we do not. Okay, so Eli is not here with me, but he is healed. Eli will never have to worry about living in a fallen world. He will never have to worry about sin or the evil that exists here. He knows only beauty and love. What more could any parent want for their child? It depends on what me you ask. The part of me that misses holding and loving on him, the selfish part, says that I want him right here. The part of me that knows he knows NO pain, says until we meet again...
Now I must go continue to clean up pop tart crumb and toy trails which lead to a fort the boys have built in their room. I sure miss that screaming baby to complete my picture of joyful chaos.
Also, thanks to Penny, I have added more beautiful pictures to Eli's name gallery.