In the wake of our infuriating and heart-breaking false alarm, a common condolence we heard was, "God has a plan for the two of you. Don't be discouraged. You'll find out soon enough." No-one said that verbatim, but if you were to take everything everyone said, it would come out sounding something like that (possibly with some foul language, due to a couple of our more foul-mouthed -- but nonetheless heart-warming -- friends).
I learned a long time ago that I can't worry about God's plan for me. I've begged, pleaded, and prayed for a peek and God, in His infinite mystery (and probably wisdom), has refused to show me. In those moments of desperation, I am reminded of Deuteronomy 31:8. "The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." This is quickly followed by Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" I'm reminded of these verses, yet, as pain leads to frustration and frustration to fury, their promises can seem so hollow.
The promises seem especially hollow when, from your vantage point, you can't see what you're doing wrong. I'm not saying I (or we) have done everything right, but I can't look back and see what I (or we) have done wrong. Kelly and I both try to live life as genuinely, as unguarded, and as fully as possible. We have measured our talents and we have set about to use them for good. We want to leave this world a better place than when we've found it and when people ask "why" we're more than happy to reply honestly and say, "because that's what God did for us."
It's a mistake to blame God for bad things happening to you. Blaming God for your pain is like blaming the sun for your sunburn -- not to say all pain is avoidable or your own fault. It's just a consequence of living in this world. There is evil in this world, bent on your destruction. There are people who act selfishly. There are people who act foolishly. There are well-meaning people who simply make mistakes. There are lies. There is miscommunication. There are things, quite simply, that will lead to us getting hurt. I do not believe any of them are part of God's plan.
God having a plan for me doesn't mean I will be immune to this world and the effects of sin. God knowing what's best for me and me trying to allow for that to happen doesn't mean I'm going to get it right. God's plan also, very honestly, may be something I am not at all comfortable with or interested in. There are plenty of men and women in the Bible who wanted to follow God but did not want -- in any way -- to do what He asked them to do (see also: Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Job, Esther, Jonah, Gideon, and at least eleven of the twelve apostles). Perhaps that is what I take the most comfort in.
Feeling pain doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. Feeling pain means you're alive. Feeling pain doesn't mean God has turned his back on you. Feeling pain doesn't mean you're broken or that you need fixing. Feeling pain does, for me, remind me why I need God in my life. Without Him I would not have made it through the last couple of years. Without Him I would not be where I am right now, looking forward to the future with a bit of hope and optimism.
So don't despair during your dark days. You're not alone. You're not the first to feel this. The sun will come out and eventually this will all make sense. That's what I've learned and that's what I'm still reminding myself of.
The cynical Bible reader (which I can be) should read the books of Job and Ecclesiastes. They are wonderfully dark books that demand questions of God while pointing out all the general screwed-up-edness of the world. They have guided me through (and of out of) many-a dark day.