Life and other catastrophes · Psychology and mental health · Relating to God · Spiritual growth and healing

A love that sees in the dark

I was talking with a group of women recently, and one of them shared her story with me.

She’d lost her son to an incurable heart condition when he was only four years old… Not only that, her other son has suffered from severe psychotic episodes throughout his life. He has schizophrenia.

She’s seen unbearable tragedy and heartache as a mother.

Yet every time I see her she has a warm smile on her face. Every time the topic of God comes up, joy and affection for her Heavenly Father radiates from her.

After finishing telling me about her pain and loss, she said something surprising.

She told me:

“I’m thankful for my trials, because I’ve been able to see how much God loves me. The people who’ve helped me along the way have all shown me God’s love in some way. If I hadn’t gone through these things, I wouldn’t know his love so well…”

I responded with a smile and a kind comment. But inside I was wrestling with her words.

I do know the clichés about trials bringing us closer to God and all that. But here was a woman who’d really suffered… who’d experienced more pain and loss than most of us will ever deal with… And she was smiling at me, saying she was thankful…?

I allowed her words to sit with me all afternoon, turning them around in my head…

Was I willing to accept a trial-filled life if it meant seeing God’s love more vividly?

Was I willing to suffer for the sake of showing others His glory?

Was I willing to take the harder path of growth instead of easy, shallow living?

Did I even have a choice?

Our eight-year-old son was diagnosed with autism (Asbergers) last year. Often I wake up thinking: “Buckle up. If you survive this day you’ve done well.”

His tantrums and meltdowns and mood swings are so out of control sometimes that I think I’m going to lose every ounce of joy and hope and faith I ever had as a Christian.

But I don’t. Only by the grace of God do I buckle up again – the next day and the next day and the next. And I realise my Heavenly Father is in the driver’s seat.

And he’s got this. He’s got my life in his hands.

And he has my friend’s.

He helped her navigate her grief and pain and fill her with a hope and joy that I never thought was possible after such heartache.

And she thanks God for it.

Thank you God, for your love.
It is vibrant, rich and penetrating.
It shines in the darkness through the light-giving people you bring us.
It rouses us from broken slumber, enlivening again.
It reminds us we’re never alone and wraps itself around us, warm.
Your love is the sunshine after the rain, our new hope in the morning, and the star that leads us home…

“Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:26)

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12 thoughts on “A love that sees in the dark

  1. God bless you. May God cause you to abound in hope. Our son has Asbergers. He is 28 yrs old and still lives at home. He has a part time job, his own bank account, ans is a gaming genius. He has grown to be a joy and a delight by the grace of God and a life of prayer. There is not a night that goes by but that he kisses me on the top of my head and tells me he loves me (he is a little under 7 feet). I’ll be praying especially for you and your son.

    1. Thanks so much Raymond. How heartening and encouraging to hear about your precious son. He has done well and sounds wonderful. Prayer is powerful. Thank you so much for praying for my family. We do appreciate it.

  2. What an inspiring story of faith in this woman. And such good questions, Ali, for our own hearts to ponder. Thanks much for sharing. May we all grow stronger in our faith and may our little lights burn ever brighter for Him. Blessings to you and your hubby and your precious sons. Much love to you across the miles. xxoo

    1. Yes… I am continually inspired by her…
      Thank you Sheila. Yes… Amen. May God grow us and use us where we are. Thank you. Blessings to you too as you bring your needs to the Father each day. Xxoo

  3. It’s interesting how “cliches” can become truth when we live them out. My circumstances are certainly not what I dreamed about when I was young–but I wouldn’t trade the results for a life more “shiny”, romantic, or richer materially. I would never have “met” the intimate Father and Lord, and Holy Spirit, and developed a growing relationship of trust and praise, hope and faith–if I’d had it easy. I can appreciate your struggle somewhat–the “daily-ness” of it; and isn’t that exactly what God wants for us–a daily sense of dependency on and need for Him? Our thankful attitude doesn’t diminish the fact that some days are rough–but it’s part of walking with faith in the God we know is GOOD, who LOVES us. God bless you as you keep moving forward, dear Sister. love, caddo

    1. Yes, well said… The daily-ness either breaks us or sends us running to God, arms empty… Child-like. Amen. Thank you for “getting it” and being such an encouragement 🙂

  4. She does have a wonderful attitude toward the adversity. It’s true that in times of trials we do see God’s love, but I’m not sure I would reach that understanding right way.

    1. No. Me neither. I think, even though I haven’t responded responded to my trials in the same peaceful/joyful way, I think it gives me hope that another perspective is possible… There are so many different ways of reacting to life it seems, and it is a journey.

  5. We all can learn from her example. I have a nephew with Asperger’s. He is in his second year of college, and doing very well. He is an especially-talented musician. Your son’s gifts will become evident, keep an eye out for them.

    1. Thanks for sharing and encouraging me Patti. Yes, it can be hard to find them sometimes, amidst the stress. But he was invited to join the choir next year at school so we will encourage him in that 🙂

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