It is not unusual for me to start up my e-mail these days and find that I have a new friend, someone who is reaching out for comfort or encouragement after their own tragic circumstances. I love that God has given me those opportunities. I only pray that I am able to "handle" them with His wisdom and His compassion. Today, it happened again. A young lady was asking about her own personal pain after losing a family member. She asked about God's will and about her desire to question God. Let me share a brief part of what I shared with her. I think it's a good reminder of how big and strong God can be for us in even the most difficult situations.
Let me start by saying I am very sorry for your loss. I want to encourage you with a few things. First, you need to understand that God may or may not have chosen to cause this accident. More likely, He didn't and what caused it was simply excess water on the road. Could He have stopped this from occurring? Absolutely. But, with the foreknowledge He had, God saw the potential of good that could come from this accident. I know that's hard to comprehend when its our family member but it is true nonetheless. There is potential for great good to come from any tragic loss (Romans 8:28). What determines that is our willingness to join God in what He is up to and our ability to embrace and offer forgiveness and move on.
Secondly, scream at God all you choose. It will not bother Him. He understands the level of your hurt and disappointment. He knows the raw emotions you have. He is not afraid of your "ranting." If you read the Bible carefully, you will see that many people in the Bible asked God questions (David, Moses, Job). The point is, if you are going to question God, you better be ready to hear the answers He has for you.
Lastly, remember this very important lesson for all of your life. Forgiveness, like love, is not an emotion. It is a decision. It is something you will have to choose every day for the rest of your life and, with time, it will get easier if you do it every day. There are days you will wake up and not want to forgive because of the emotions that you feel. That's okay. Choose to do it any way. Don't let bitterness in. It is a poison that kills no one but you.
Understand this, God has very big, very incredible plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 3:20) but you will NEVER know them until you choose to forgive and surrender every part of your life to what He is attempting to do in you and for you.
I can't tell you how much I love talking about forgiveness. There is such freedom when you and I can give and receive forgiveness. The receiving part is easier (notice I said easier. It's not always easy). Most of us love to be forgiven. But giving forgiveness to someone who has wronged us or has taken our loved ones life or has chosen poorly can be far more difficult. But I assure you, the rewards are equally--maybe even more--satisfying.