The rain falls softly this Sunday morning. I didn’t go to church. I couldn’t wear a fake smile and dress in fake laughter. I’m not ready to share my grief in person.
But here? In this space, I can hide and bare all at the same time. This space that allows me to process a life that is sometimes impossible to understand.
Two days ago, my sweet cousin experienced a soul-shattering loss. Her precious nine-year-old Carter died after a boating accident.
We are shaken. We are crushed.
My family has four boys the same age. Second cousins. The sons of sister-cousins. They were going to grow up together. We would watch them play and dream of the years to come.
Now there are only three.
And I can’t type those words without my chest caving in. The milestones of joy we imagined together will always carry a shadow of grief.
Death is hard enough to face without it wearing the face of a child.
How do we make sense of death? How can the world keep turning when my cousin, her husband, and their other two children no longer live in a world with Carter? How?
And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t angry. These last two days I’ve shot arrows of angry questions to heaven. Because why? Why do children have to die? Why did God allow the death of our sweet Carter with his eyes so blue and his future so bright?
The question that haunts humanity sits deep in my chest. Why?
I know the theology. I truly know God has a plan I do not see. I know that in order for humans to have choice—to be something other than puppets—evil and darkness must exist. I know God loves us beyond our comprehension and understanding. I know He controls our future and only desires our good. I know He suffers with us—shares our grief. I know these truths. I believe them. I’m not attempting to convince myself.
But still, I fling my accusations and hurt and questions to heaven.
Sometimes the easiest reaction to confusion, hurt, and pain is to question.
As I sit in this loss, knowing my heart knows nothing of the crushing weight my cousin feels, I am left with this—
God is big enough for my questions.
So I will make a leap. One, if I’m honest, I don’t know that I want to make. Because bitterness can sometimes look like the easier path to travel. Yet, a bitter heart is stone, and I don’t want the hardness that refuses to let Light inside.
To escape the ease of bitterness, I will choose the difficult. I will choose to trust. In my anger, in my doubt, in my grief. I will trust the God of all the heavens and the earth.
Even if I don’t want to.
I will choose this road because trust and doubt can be held in the same hand. A paradox of life. I can trust God in the same way I can trust my husband implicitly while questioning his decisions. Michael’s love for me hasn’t changed. My love for him hasn’t changed.
Trust and doubt. They’re not mutually exclusive.
God loves Carter more than I ever could. God loves my cousin and her family more than my humanity can love anything.
And so I will trust Him—despite my questions.
Because I choose trust, I can welcome His comfort even in my doubt.
Some may say it’s a sign of ignorance to trust in a God that allows such tragedy and devastation.
I call it Hope.
Hope in a Jesus who ensures I haven’t seen Carter for the last time. Hope in a Jesus who promises heaven for those who believe in Him. Hope in a Jesus who is close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit.
Hope is far easier to carry than despair.
I don’t know that I will ever think of our Carter without the rush of sorrow—the heartsickness. I won’t ever be without the questions. But that’s okay. Because I love a Jesus that allows me to question. I can choose to Trust and Hope in the midst of those questions and tears.
Our family will always feel this loss. Grief won’t leave us in this life. But neither will the God of comfort—the One who provides peace in the pain and confusion. Peace that surpasses what our hearts can understand. God will always walk with us.
I hear the rain. I curl into my grief.
And with every sobbing breath, I choose to trust.