You can’t hold your breath forever.
But when you first learn your child is dead you want to–oh, how you want to.
I don’t know if it was defiance or hope that made me certain that if I could just stop breathing, I could freeze time.
I could undo the truth.
I could stop the creeping terror that seized my heart.
But it was impossible. My body insisted that my lungs release the poison of carbon dioxide and refresh my oxygen supply.
There is a spiritual counterpart to the physical desire to stop breathing.
Most bereaved parents will tell you that at some point in their grief journey, whether they would describe themselves as “believers” or not, they have had to examine their notion of God.
They have to ask, “How am I to relate to this Person that controls the Universe–this Being that could have saved my child–but chose not to?”
I am a Christ follower. I believe in Jesus and I trust His Word.
But I will honestly confess that burying my child has made me reexamine just what that means and just Who He is.
Before my son was killed, I gave mental assent to the idea that “God is in control” but wasn’t forced to reconcile His control with my heart’s desire to guarantee my family’s safety.
But His existence, and His character does not depend on my understanding. And to be frank, a God I can comprehend wouldn’t be much of a God at all.
I could not will my body not to stop breathing.
And what I am learning in this grief journey is that I can’t hold my spiritual breath forever either.
The poison of doubt and the insistence that I be able to comprehend the fullness of God will suffocate my soul as surely as lack of oxygen will stop my heart.
So, “Hallelujah” is my exhale.
It is my letting go-my drawing in again the life-giving truth that God is God and I am not.
And acknowledging that while I cannot understand His ways, I can choose to trust His Father love.