How blessed I am to have God in my life. I am not a saintly person, and God is probably not in my life as consistently as I’d like. I know God hears from me more often when I'm in pain than He does when I am feeling thankful. The love and hope I carry in my heart come from the knowledge that God forgives, God is listening, and God is good.
Lately, God has had to listen to me a lot. I’m a chatty person. Some of my friends probably get a little tired of all my chatting. Not God. God knows what is in my heart before I say it to Him. God listens no matter how long I chat with Him, and if I cry out to Him in despair, God wraps me in His arms.
Two weeks ago (has it really only been two weeks?), God blessed us with the birth of our fifth grandchild. Dylan Cooper arrived 3 months early, weighing a mere one pound, 14 ounces. His tiny body is riddled with tubes. I have praised God many times in the last two weeks, because Cooper’s parents were able (in the nick of time) to get to a hospital with an incredible neo-natal ICU unit and wise and caring doctors and nurses. The roller coaster ride we have been on for the last two weeks has kept me in close touch with God. One minute I am thanking Him for Cooper’s health and for his wonderful care-takers. The next minute, I am pleading that God be with Cooper and his care-takers, and that Cooper not have to suffer.
Cooper’s two older sisters (ages 6 and 9) have been staying at our house a lot, since their parents have been travelling back-and-forth to the hospital, which is 3 hours from our home. God often hears from me as I ask for the strength and wisdom to be there for my granddaughters as they struggle with their fear and concern for their little brother and their sadness at not having their parents with them. I often pray for the strength to smile for them, when my heart is breaking over news and worry about their little brother.
All of my strength and resolve broke when I came home for lunch on Friday and saw the reports of the school shooting in Connecticut. This horrendous event became the catalyst for the cleansing sobbing that I had needed. As I cried out to God, I knew I was crying for my grandson as well as for those innocent “babies” whose lives had been cut so short. I cried for my other four grandchildren, who were all in their classrooms at various schools around town. I cried for the parents of those children in Connecticut. I cried for all of those who had lost loved ones in such a tragic way. I cried for the teachers and children who survived this shooting and will live with the repercussions of having been there and survived. I cried for the shooter and his family. I cried for myself. I cried for all of us.
My heart was filled with despair. In the wake of this tragedy in Connecticut, it would be easy to feel defeated and to give up. As I cried out to God…”why” and “how” did this happen, I began to feel that there was no hope anywhere in the world, and I even wondered if God had abandoned us.
With a broken heart, I returned to my office. As I opened the mail, I found two notes from friends, telling me that they were praying for our family and for our new grandson. One writer said, “you probably do not know this, but you were a great help to me in a time when I very much needed help, and I pray for you often, and I’ve now added your grandson to those prayers”. I could not imagine how or what I had done to help this writer. I could only see that there were still good people in this world. God has not abandoned us. Someone had been praying for me, without my knowledge, even before Cooper was born, and many others were praying for Cooper and for our family now. My prayer became, God, help us to remember that Your world is not a bad place – just a place where bad things sometimes happen. Help us to remember that there are more good people on this earth than bad people (we just hear about the bad people more often). Help all of Your people to feel your love. Help us to give Your love to those around us. Help us to remember that we don’t always know who might be in need, and that a smile or a small act of kindness might help them. Help us to continue to hope, and to know, in our hearts and minds, that You are with us always. Help us to feel your presence in our lives, even, or especially, in the face of despair. laurie