Comfort comes when we align our will with the will of God. Peace flows when we bless him in our grief as we did in our joys. For his love is as constant, his character is as perfect, his actions are as irreproachable in the taking as they were in the giving.
It felt like a test—a test of my faith, a test of my convictions, a test of my love for God. Soon, very soon, after I learned that my son had died, I received a message from an old acquaintance. Her intentions were good—she wanted to offer consolation. But her instructions were suspect—she wanted me to rage against God. Paraphrasing one of her favorite authors she said “It’s okay to be angry with God about this. It’s okay to tell him exactly how you feel about him right now. Let him have it. He doesn’t mind.”
My instincts rebelled against her counsel, but for just a moment I wondered. I didn’t feel anger in my loss, but should I? I didn’t resent God’s sovereignty in taking my son, but might that be appropriate? Already I was leaning hard on God for comfort, but should I now also press against him for blame? In that very moment a verse of scripture, a mere fragment, flashed into my mind. “Curse God and die.” In this case it was not a human demanding it of another as Job’s wife did of her husband. Rather, it was the Holy Spirit’s reminder of what it would mean for me to raise my fist to the sky.
That moment was a test of my faith. Haven’t we all wondered whether our faith would be able to withstand a staggering blow like the sudden, unexplained death of a child? I certainly had. In that moment I had to choose whether my faith would push me toward God or away from him. I had to make a choice between submission and rebellion.
That moment was a test of my convictions. I have often proclaimed the glories of God’s goodness and sovereignty, yet this has been easy because they’ve so constantly been aligned with my own desires. In that moment I had to choose whether I would continue to proclaim in the dark what I had celebrated in the light, or whether, instead, I would allow my circumstances to overturn my beliefs. I had to choose whether these doctrines would draw me to God in comfort or alienate me in anger.
That moment was a test of my love. I have so often proclaimed my love for God, but now he had taken my child, my firstborn, my son, my protégé, the man in all the world who was most precious to me. In that moment I had to choose whether I would love God through this or rage against him, whether it would turn my affections ever-more toward him, or whether it would steer them away.