Unfortunately, this Christmas season, my cousins experienced a sudden loss of a husband and father, Tom Noble. I heard about this tragic event while sitting in the church pew on my Sunday morning back. As soon as I regained cell phone reception after the service I texted them to make sure that everyone was holding up alright. After they had time to be alone, I visited them and sat with them as they explained the sequence of tragic events that had occurred. I listened and watched as they were so calm and collected while telling the story. I was shocked. Astounded. But while I was experiencing these feelings, I didn’t feel a single slice of sadness in the room. Instead, I felt a sense of content and peace. What was this that I was experiencing?
Through this tragic event, I was reminded that we are less than God. As people of faith we seem to think that we know what is happening and why. Now these cousins have always shown a strong witness. I confidently believe, as they do, that God gives life and takes it away, in his due time, for reasons that are beyond us. I believe that He uses all things, both good and bad, as tools to reach other people. That is the very conclusion I was able to gather from the conversations I had with them. God uses all situations and we can’t always control it. We are part of something greater – something mighty and powerful and awesome! We should let God take on our troubles. Aha! This is how they were so calm – they gave their worries to God.
Through the parts of Tom’s life that I was able to experience and through the words expressed by the pastor at his funeral, I think it is very clear that God was able to use Tom’s life to reach others. To someone who didn’t know Tom, one would think that he was a superhero who could just get over all the crappy things life threw at him and would wonder where he got his power from. Well, I think this “power” came from God. He put his trust in God that everything would be okay and, surely enough, it was. It may not have been what he always wanted, but it was okay. He believed that no matter what, life would go on and God would make something out of everything.
I would venture to say that after having a few different conversations with the rest of the family, it is safe to say that it is not likely that everyone who attended Tom’s funeral was saved. What if during this time, even a single person came to claim the Lord as their Savior? I’d say that is turning the “bad” into the good, wouldn’t you? When we give our troubles to God with the faith that He will make something out of them, it gives us the strength, as He gave the Noble family to overcome the sadness of death and separation of their loved one. We are able to overcome our human-like, selfish feelings and live in the light that God has so earnestly taught us He will show.
We live our lives thinking that we know everything and get so caught up in our own despair that we can’t see the big picture of what God has to offer us. This is certainly not to say that grieving is not healthy or that we shouldn’t do it because we need to be super strong. That would be an insane idea to entertain. We are created by a God who uses us in ways that we, as humans, simply don’t understand. It is through our faith that we are able to make the realization that we are not full of answers and are part of something way greater than the minds of this earth going downhill. We are to lean on God for our understandings and remember that He has some sort of plan that is not always parallel to our own. Sometimes it really sucks, but it is through this practice that our faith gets stronger. We grow as people and as faithful Christians when we put our faith in God, declaring that He is greater, stronger, and wiser. It is there, in the dark, that we can see the brightest light.