And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.
I am a person that needs an explanation for just about everything. Maybe that comes from my years of being a teacher. I spend time each day asking my students questions and then calling on the children to give me answers. If one of my students does something wrong, I require a reason. But when my son was in a car accident that left him paralyzed, I forced myself to not dwell on the ‘why,’ focusing instead on the ‘what do we do next.’ For weeks I was able to fool myself into thinking I didn’t need a reason. But after awhile my need for an explanation got the better of me.
Three weeks after the accident some friends had stopped by the rehabilitation hospital to visit my son. When the conversation turned to what he remembered about the wreck, instead of excusing myself and leaving his room, like I usually did, I decided to stay and listen. I heard the words ‘gravel road’ and then, ‘going too fast.’ Next I heard ‘no seatbelt’ and ‘rolling.’ I listened quietly as he told his visitors that he remembered everything about the accident, especially the friend that arrived on the scene and called for help.
So those were the physical reasons; the earthly reasons for the accident. He made a mistake. He forgot to put on his seat belt. My brain was beginning to make sense out of what I had heard, but as a Christian, my heart wasn’t content.
After our friends left, I remember looking up at a poster on the wall of my son’s hospital room. Some of the kids from his school had made it for him. It was covered with colorful pictures, sparkling glitter, and messages written by classmates. One of the messages ended with a verse from Jeremiah. “For I know the plans I have for you……” I thought about the plan God must have for my son. I couldn’t begin to make sense of it here in this world, but it gave me comfort knowing that He knew it. I thought about a statement from a devotion that I had read before the accident. It said that God doesn’t bring hard times to people unless there is a beautiful reason. I knew that I had to trust in that promise.
The next day when my son was working with his physical therapist, I decided to stay in his hospital room and return some emails and text messages. That’s when I noticed a message on my phone from a name that I was not expecting to see. It was from a girl that went to school with my children. She was a sweet girl, but had been through some struggles that most kids her age had not. I remembered seeing her in the hospital shortly after my son had been admitted, and then again about a week later, for another visit. As I read the message, I was glad that I was still in the privacy of the hospital room. I was soon sobbing, as a piece of my son’s plan seemed to be revealing itself.
In her message, this young girl explained that each time she had come to visit my son, she had been touched by the faithfulness that she had observed. She had seen us praying in the waiting room, and said she was amazed that after something so horrible had happened to our son, we were still able to trust God to help us get through this. She said she knew about God and had been to church, but didn’t feel like she had a relationship with Him. After seeing the way we depended on God for everything during this time, she said that she wanted to put her life in His wonderful hands. She wanted to get to know God!
So here is the explanation I have come up with. This world can be a painful place, filled with hurt and confusion and sorrow. But everything that happens will, somehow, work toward good. God sees to that. I may not be able to see the ‘big picture’ of His plan for my son right now. But, maybe, because God knows my need for reason, just like he knows everything else about me, I was able to take a quick look at that plan, in the form of a message from a teenage girl. And it was a beautiful glimpse!