There are things in this world we will never understand. There is tragedy so painful and so seemingly senseless, we wonder
Where is God in all of this?
It is a question we have all asked and likely one to which we have all tried finding answers.
I can’t say I know God’s answers exactly. I could give you a list of theological reason as to why there is tragedy, pain and suffering in our world, but that’s not for this space and this time.
What I do know, is every time I see tremendous beauty in another human being, behind it lies the ashes from their pain. Together those chapters of heartache construct a beautiful story overflowing with strength, dignity, and ultimately victory. A victory they found because they held on tightly to hope. God’s hope.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to read the book, Life is Beautiful by Sarah M. Johnson. In the book, Sarah tells us her story. A story so tragic, you cannot help but ask that question …
Where is God in all of this?
Beautifully written, Sarah pulls you right into the deepest parts of her life. Immediately a sense of concern builds within for this young girl. I felt my heart respond as a mother, desiring to step into her story and shield her from pain. Dysfunction, alcohol, and drug abuse wreak havoc on the lives of her immediate family as it did the generations before.
In the midst of all the chaos, this young girl always senses the presence of who she calls her “Higher Power”. She knows there is something bigger than her and a comfort and protection that seems to be over her, but yet she doesn’t understand who that “Higher Power” is.
As her family begins the long road to recovery, her father participates in a mission trip that changes him and gives him purpose beyond his addictions. He believes a mission trip together as a family is their next step. Reluctantly, Sarah agrees to participate and the family heads to Guatemala.
But the unthinkable happens.
Their small aircraft crashes killing everyone but Sarah, her mother, and one other man. Sarah crawls from the wreckage leaving the mangled bodies of her brother and father behind. Her mother is trapped and Sarah makes the desperate but unsuccessful attempt to free her as a bystander pulls her away from the consuming fire. She hears her mother screaming, but can do nothing to save her. Miraculously, she finds her mother did survive, but not without severe burns over her entire body.
So, how did this young 19-year-old girl make it through this tragedy?
One foot in front of the other. Baby step by baby step.
She sunk into a depression that once again included vast amounts of alcohol, but she learned that by the grace of God, love of others, and professional help, you can not only survive, but you can find joy again.
And through it all, every bit of tragedy, she can still call this life beautiful.
Sarah’s story is inspiring.
It’s beyond brave.
Over and over again, I found myself wanting to reach out and do something to speak hope into the eyes of that young girl facing such intense tragedy. Maybe it was the magnitude of the situation, or the authentic script, or maybe the fact that this young lady grew up in a small town near my own childhood years. But, I couldn’t help but feel deeply connected to her throughout the book. I hope and pray now that those surrounding her shower her with BIG love!
But there was one component of this book that caused a falter in my spirit. Sarah never moved from knowing God as more than her “Higher Power”.It was the same tugging I experienced years ago as I listened to Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, describe a moment of deep pain crumbling on the bathroom floor. In that moment she heard the voice of God and felt His comforting presence, but never called Him by His true name. She merely gave Him the name of “Higher Power”.
That tugging I felt? The faltering?
It was a sense of aching for Jesus. The only One who suffered for us. The only One who meets us in the deepest darkest places of our life. Who meets us in the tragedy.
It was as if I could hear him say, “But that was Me. I was holding you up. I was protecting you. Me. Not any other god.”
And I wanted sweet Sarah to know, too, that it was Him.
Maybe someday I might get the opportunity and honor of sitting down with this beautiful young woman and talking about where she is now and if she knows that it was Jesus there in those darkest moments with her.
But friends, that falter does not alter my opinion of this book. I highly recommend. It is the kind of book you will pick up and not want to set down until you finish! It’s the kind of book that gives you hope. That shows you we have a strength beyond anything we will ever know. You can find it here on Amazon!
I was given this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Just a reminder, friends, I am launching a new Link-up right here on Searching for Moments! It will begin this Monday, May 2nd and I am titling it, #MomentsofHope . Will you pray with me that this is the beginning of a beautiful hope-filled community? And I would so LOVE for you to join me back here on Monday to contribute and/or soak in some hope!
I regularly link up with these encouraging bloggers!
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