Sudden traumatic experiences leave us asking why. And those whys typically have no answer. We can make no logical sense of the situation. We are just left bearing the memory of the trauma for the rest of our life.
This is a fallen world. And in a fallen world horrible, terrible, awful things happen. And for no apparent reason.
However, there is One who is never shocked by any event that takes place under the sun. We are shocked. We can’t believe what happened. But God NEVER has that thought. Our trauma never took Him by surprise.
Recently a friend suffered a sudden, unexpected trauma. It’s the exact same one I faced 20 years ago. A pedestrian decided to go in the path of the oncoming car. No warning. No opportunity to stop and prevent the impact. One moment 20 years ago as I had the right-of-way, I was driving down the road without a care in the world.
The next moment I was in shock standing over the body of a stranger lying on the road, and I was frantically praying over and over, “God, help her! God, help her! God, help her!” 20 years later it felt like the exact same situation. Except my friend was the driver this time.
I know what my friend will face. I know this second in time has forever changed her future. Will it mirror my experience? Perhaps not exactly. But it will no doubt affect her for years to come.
Why? Why do these types of things happen?
I don’t know.
I am not God. I cannot know the why. Sure, I can say it is to grow my faith and that God means it for good in my life. But bottom line, this doesn’t feel good. I can’t see the good. And, I can’t see how my faith is growing. All I can feel is pain. Intense, unbearable pain. Pain that never fully goes away though 20 years have passed.
I hate what my friend went through. I desperately wish I could take away all her pain. But I am powerless to do so. Instead I hug her. I listen to her. And I hug her some more. One of the greatest blessings to me 20 years ago are the people who showed up around me in that moment of crisis. People who hugged me. People who told me they had been there. People who simply were present.
I wish I could extinguish my friend’s burning pain. I can’t. But I know Someone who will take away her pain and mine. This vapor of a life with all of its pain and confusion is but a moment compared to all eternity. We hurt. We suffer. We don’t understand. But we are not without hope. There is a God who is good, loving, and kind. He does not bring these tragic moments into our life willy-nilly. He does not cause us to walk alone on the hard days. He is there. His people are there.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Trauma is horrible. It’s incredibly hard to bear. But God has not forsaken me. And He will not forsake my friend. We have hope in this broken world full of unexpected trauma. We never walk the road of trauma alone.
We never walk alone.
I repeat, we never walk alone.
(For more on Dealing With Trauma, here is Part 2. )