Some friends of ours are going through a really difficult time. They have been for at least four months. Finally, my husband and I decided we needed to tell our daughters a little bit about what’s going on. So the other morning I sat on our bed with Lauren and Rachel and told them in very simple terms some of what our friends are going through.
Nine year old Lauren is a lot like her daddy. She sat silently as, first, her eyes welled with tears and then, those tears slowly slid down her cheeks. She asked a couple fact-based questions and didn’t say much else. Rachel, who will be eight next month, is more like her momma. Rachel needs to talk through every emotion and thought. So Rachel wept, every inch of her body somehow involved in the weeping. Then Rachel began to talk. Some complete thoughts, some pieces of thoughts poured from her.
Rachel talked about how horrible all of this is; she speculated about what the children must be thinking and feeling. She seemed to take a moment to think of the situation from the perspective of everyone in the family, and she lamented for each of them, individually. “But God can fix this,” she noted. Then, suddenly, she looked surprised and said, “But God could have stopped all of this from happening to begin with.” She wept a little more and then very purposefully and decidedly stated, “But we have to just trust God, have faith in God.”
Then she remembered a verse from Vacation Bible School. “I’m thinking right now of Daniel 3:17, ‘The God whom we serve is able to deliver us.'” Then she said she wished her little friend from this family had been at VBS. “That verse might have helped him to have stronger faith in God,” Rachel said.
Next, Rachel, who is only almost-eight, talked about how difficult it is sometimes to have faith in God and not to look at all the horrible things happening. “It’s hard not to think about all the things that might happen and just trust God. But we need to just have faith and trust God and not worry.” She mused aloud.
At some point, Rachel said the thing that struck me the most. It probably jumped out at me because she named out loud, she labeled the longing that has been within me for the past four months. As she thought about how distressed, how sad, the mother of this family must be, Rachel said, “I just wish I could do something to bring her happiness back.” And then Rachel sobbed. She sobbed because she realized she could do nothing to bring back our friend’s happiness.
That is precisely how I have felt for months. I wish I could do something. But I can’t. Oh, I know I can pray, and I know that praying is something. I know prayer is work and prayer matters; but honestly, sometimes it doesn’t feel like enough. Sometimes we just want to do something, anything, that will make everything all better. And we cannot. It is a difficult lesson for me. And it certainly is a difficult lesson for a little girl who is only almost-eight.