Today marks 2 years since I received the call that my oldest son, Kyle, had died in a helicopter crash in Kenya, leaving behind his newly pregnant wife and 5-year-old son.
One of the things that was very helpful for me after Kyle’s death was to be able to reach out and talk with other moms who knew what it felt like to walk down the road that was now in front of me – and help me to look for the light in the dark moments
My friend, Trish Richhart, was one of those moms. She lost her 8 year-old son, Samuel, after a 3 year battle with cancer.
We both agree that we would never chose to live those moments again, yet we are very grateful for the faith that grew stronger from those very dark moments.
The Journey Starts
Enjoying a family trip to Florida where Samuel was able to have a few days of freedom. (2017)
Samuel’s last meal that Trish talked about in the podcast
“At the street level, the life of faith is always a struggle of trust. In this struggle of trust you will be left with questions about what God is doing. If the doubt of wonderment causes you to come to God with sincere questions, asking is an act of faith. You’re not rebelling against Him; you’re not running from Him. You’re not demanding answers , but crying out in your confusion for help that only He can give.” David Paul Tripp, Suffering
In one of my deepest moments of despair, I sat next to my very sick, hospitalized son, wondering if he was dying. I cried out in anguish to God. The cry of my heart was, “Why?!?”
I couldn’t understand how this sweet five year old boy had to suffer so much. I couldn’t understand why I, who had tried so hard to be faithful and honor God, had to walk through this. It seemed so wrong. And if I am honest, I was feeling angry at God. It is by God’s grace that within these feelings, I stayed turned toward Him and did not turn away in my anger. I was confused and frustrated, but I realized that God was the only One who had the answers. And He did answer me in my despair, but not in the way I was looking for. Although it was not audible, His answer was as clear as if He were sitting next to me speaking. God’s reply to my heartfelt question of “Why?” was, “Do you trust me?” I was surprised, but His answer was clear.
Did I trust God? Did I trust God even in horrible circumstances that made no sense to me? It’s easy to trust Him when things are going smoothly. The real test of faith is trusting Him when life is falling apart. I always thought that I did, but in that moment I had to reevaluate. What did I truly believe? I did believe that God is real. I did believe that He had the power to heal my son. I also believed that God loves my child even more than I. So the logical conclusion is that He has a plan for good even in this.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Romans 8:28 NIV
So, do I trust Him? I wrestled with that question.
However, that wrestling brought a clarity of mind; it refined my faith. I could not deny that I did indeed trust God, even when I could not understand His ways. I answered Him with my sincere “Yes.” That one word reply to God marked a defining moment in my faith. I have often reminded myself of my testimony in that moment. If I could truly trust God when I felt so very hopeless, I could always trust Him. That trust has been what has carried me through even harder things.
Have you ever wrestled with your faith? Has life ever dealt you such an awful hand that you questioned everything you thought you believed? Take heart; for the life of faith is always a struggle of trust. God has given you the opportunity to refine your faith. Stepping into that will bring you closer to God in ways you could never imagine.
As Trish writes on trust, it reminded me of the song “Trust Me”. It was a song I played over and over again the day of, and many days after, Kyle died:
I am follower of Christ, a sinner saved by grace, trying to walk in the sweetness of life – resting in the strength of the triune God, who fortifies me daily with His righteousness, loving kindness and holiness of spirit. Read full bio here.