Even when we don’t understand

Marshall Shelley tells the story of the birth of his son. When the child was in the womb, he and his wife Susan learned that he had an abnormal heart.

This was obviously difficult for them. They were told their baby would probably not survive birth. The child might not even make it to full term.

So they prayed. They prayed for a miracle! When the time for delivery came, the child was born, alive. They were so happy. Marshall writes, “He was a healthy pink, and we saw his chest rise and fall. The breath of life. Thank you, God.”

But two minutes later, the child stopped breathing. He died.

Joy was followed by misery.

The nurse asked if they had a name for the baby. And the mother said, “Toby.” She offered an explanation: “It’s short for a biblical name, Tobiah, which means ‘God is good.’”

I think of Psalm 31:19: “How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.”

The Shelleys believed that God is good when everything is good and makes sense, and even when everything is not good and when it doesn’t make sense.

Life can be very difficult. I’m not diminishing that. But even then, we can trust that God is still good, loving, righteous and holy—when we understand it, and even when we don’t. As we read in Psalm 46:1-2: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…”

Trust in the Lord. He is your strength and hope.

“How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.”

By Matthew Ruttan
—I tell this story as a part of Part 2 in the “Heaven and Hell” series: “What is hell like?” Listen to the podcast here.
—Today’s story is told in ‘Erasing Hell’ by Francis Chan and Preston Sprinkle.
—Bible quotes are from the New International Version.

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