I couldn't help but think of life. There are some very grey, very large storm clouds gathering in the lives of some of my friends and family. The clear skies are in the past and the fear, the uncertainty, the questioning is settling on them like thick clouds. I face my own minor impending storm: Tim goes away next week for several months. But my storm will be short-lived while the storms facing the ones I love are lasting and far-reaching.
I wish I could take all the pain and the unknown away, somehow bear it on my own so that they wouldn't have to. I wish I had baskets of grace I didn't need in my closet; I'd fly it to their respective houses and pour it in their arms. I wish somehow I could be more than a mere human floundering to understand and love and encourage in the face of pain and grief. In the end, that's all I am.
At the same time, I know what hardships can do for God's children. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right? At its most essential, I think that's true. "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified."(Isaiah 61:3) I don't think the answers to "Why?" are simple, even largely understandable by our finite minds, but I do know that we serve a God who walked in our shoes and knows our pain. I know that "our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." (2 Corinthians 4:17)
Two blogging moms who have been tested and become grace-filled blessings to others are Betsy at My Five Men and Angie at Bring The Rain. Betsy has teenage autistic triplets and Angie recently carried a daughter to term who she knew wouldn't live beyond birth. The grace and love of these women are examples to us all in the face of trials: what Satan intends to destroy us, The Lord uses to prune and water and shape us into His image.
To sum up: I don't have any answers and can't do anything about the pain. But I do know God. That's all I have to give, and he's enough.