Yes I do believe in God, although in a walk in the valley of the shadow of death you can't always see or feel him.
But there is something a lot of people say, partially I think because it gives them comfort, although it may not give comfort to another person or family in pain.
This statement goes something like "God's will, God's plan, God needed another angel". (Now on the angel part I believe angels are a seperate type of being, I think humanity is unique. You can't find people turning into angels in the bible. But I try to take angel as meaning a good spirit with God, so I am not necessarily offended and do take comfort in angels.)
I constantly find women with difficulty with this concept that struggle with their faith as a result. Some women do believe this and take comfort in it, but so many do not. And yes I think God knows what the outcomes are, just not sure that everything is a step by step plan. I don't think it is ok for one child to be lost to save others- I think every person is infinitely valuable. I do think if I can save others, it is my job, and that if it is through Perry than that is how it is. Am I interferring with the plan by supporting prevention? Early Americans believed the lightning rod did just that, but most modern churches have them in the steeple. I am not sure the plan covers every death.
This is what I wrote to one Mom who was struggling quietly. We often struggle quietly because it doesn't feel safe to struggle in our churches- which is sad.
My personal belief on God is that he did not take our babies, just accepted them with open arms. I think loss is part of a fallen world- unfortunately sometimes you are made to feel like if you don't believe in a firmly scripted plan there is something wrong with you. Or that because there is a plan, everything really is ok and you shouldn't mourn. If there is a purpose, God can let me know when I am reunited with my child, but I am not sure that it is appropriate for anyone less to tell me so (just like here, some messages need to come direct from a particular person, at a particular time/place, and another person blurting it out is not ok). I believe he can make good come from anything if you allow him to, but I think a God that lost his son surely understands the pain of loss. I kept coming back to Lazarus- Jesus wept and yet he knew the plan. It is ok for us to miss our children. I do try to make a point of thanking God each night for all of my children, Perry included- because I want to remind myself that he was/is a great blessing too, not just this pain that doesn't leave on earth.
Some people go so far as to reinterpret the scriptures that talk about grief (Blessed are those who grieve. Or the other scripture: It is better to be in a house of grieving than celebrating/ relating to finding wisdom and staying focused that we are here for a short while). One said grief isn't mourning but feeling bad for your sins... although the other scriptures in the chapter focuses on our relationships with other people. But I tell you that God understands the pain of seperation. He also understands that it imparts a longing for Heaven and a hollowness to Earth that is vital for Christians to grow. He asks us to watch over the widows and orphans, not to ignore them. It is ok to grieve. We would do better to allow other Christians to mourn openly. We would do better to allow and encourage other Christians to talk about their loved ones so that death does not steal them away again through the cruel conspiracy of silence. To allow them to heal and grow in grief in what should be the safest environment of all- surrounded by Christians. Firing a pot takes time. To drag it out early and expect it to behave like a fully fired pot is to invite disaster. Accept that God's timing is not our own- perhaps it is ok for that Mom or Dad not to be where you expect them to be. Or that widow to keep the closet full of her husband's clothing, the orphan to act out because they don't know the words yet.
The key concept for me is that God has plans to prosper and not harm us. If that means that life here is hard, but ultimately we will be reunited, I can accept that. The miracle that people should celebrate the most, isn't when someone is spared from death, the miracle we should celebrate the most is the Nativity and Jesus, and the miracle of salvation. We will all die, even the man granted 10 more years of life. When we say thanks at the table or Thanksgiving, we should start with thankfullness for salvation, not just the temporary gifts on Earth. How would the plan as presented, have given comfort to slaves? It is not the path traveled that should be comforting, but the ultimate destination.
So when you talk to a bereaved person, pray not only for words but for the wisdom to know when not to say something. Be very careful with 'the plan' as it can drive them away, or in some cases push people towards suicide that need comfort and not blueprints. They need the destination, not a description of a roadmap that may or may not be the right one.
But I do want to thank you, even if it has been the wrong words at times. Because you tried, you didn't sit back and ignore what was happening.
So how does healing come? We start by peeking out of our pain. We start simply (if we have faith) by being grateful for the person and that we will see them again.
And we will always miss them here. We will always recognize that this Earth is incomplete now.
But that's ok. We are meant to.