I anxiously fiddled with the radio dial trying to pull up a Christian radio station before the flashbacks hit again. With nothing to occupy my mind while driving, memories of Tristan’s lifeless body could hit hard. Maybe music would be a distraction. “Always positive, always encouraging, KLOVE!!” I’d found it. The only problem was the music had paused for listener call-ins. I listened as caller after caller told of miracle stories. Toddlers miraculously brought back to life after near-drowning, aunts coming off of life-support, coma survivors coming home to family. God said yes to these prayers. “It was a miracle!” they all said. What would I say if I called in?
“I’m calling in for all of the people God said no to. All of the moms and dads whose children God took to heaven while we prayed for miracles. We are left here suffering the loss of them. Can I say a word to those listeners? God did not forget us and our outcomes were not second-best. In fact, let me propose something else. There is one very important person that God said no to that puts us in very good company: Jesus. Remember, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me;’? God said no. And thank the Lord He did. If God can say no to His most beloved Son, and that no be an integral part of His plan, God can say no to us and still love us.
The natural outcome of a yes answer is rejoicing and celebration.
The natural outcome of a no answer is mourning and lament.
Both are acceptable to God. Both bring God glory. But there is a difference that is overlooked. It costs more to believe God when my hopes are slain. When the gift He gave me on this earth for 18 years, 363 days, is lying lifeless on the garage floor. Can I then say, God is wise, God is good, God has a purpose even in this? Can I thank Him that “all the days that were ordained for Tristan were written in His book when as yet there were not one of them?” Can I give glory to God when it costs that much?
Praise from slain lips is more beautiful to God because it is a sacrifice of praise. Sacrifice implies it COSTS something. This means I can give God something that others cannot: Belief when everything looks as if it’s ended. Trust when all my hopes are crushed. Waiting on Him when all I want to do is run to heaven to be with my child. These are gifts only the initiated can give.
Someday we won’t need “always positive, always encouraging!” because we’ll be living it in the New Heavens and the New Earth. Until then, let us know we were not forgotten and our outcomes were not second best. God’s no’s always were and always are a part of His all-wise plan. Initiated into that fiery baptism, we have the privilege of offering up our costly sacrifice of trust, belief, and praise.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21