Today, I read a letter released by the family of the most recent victim of the ISIS situation, Kayla Mueller – a humanitarian aid worker passionate about helping refugees caught up in the struggle in Syria. She was 26 years-old. She wrote the letter after having been held captive for more than a year, and in it she does not express bitterness nor rage but rather hope.
So often, I am asked questions about the goodness of God in the face of tragedies such as the death of an aid worker or the loss of a child or the spread of disease… So often, I am asked the question, “How can God stand by while evil exists in the world?” And there are times when I struggle with those same questions. I mean, I know – ideologically/theologically – the answers. I know that God does not stand by… that in Jesus Christ the evil, sin, suffering of the entire world was placed on his shoulders, that the wrath of God for all the evil in the world was placed on his body in the sacrifice of the cross… I know and firmly believe that by his “stripes we are healed.” I celebrate with gratitude that God did not spare his own Son, but instead took the initiative to remedy the problem of pain in the world, and that while we still live in a time when that reality is not fully realized we have the hope of glory. I know that, believe it, embrace it. But there are times when it is difficult to appropriate emotionally. There are times when personal tragedy hits so close to home that my heart and soul are in conflict with my head. There are times when I read the news and struggle with those questions.
Then I read words like this…
I remember mom always telling me that all in all in the end the only one you really have is God. I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator b/c literally there was no else … + by God + by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall. I have been shown in darkness, light + have learned that even in prison, one can be free. I am grateful. I have come to see that there is good in every situation, sometimes we just have to look for it. – Kayla Mueller
There may be some who try to explain away this sort of hope, but to do so would be corrupt because there is a powerful testimony to the what God does for those who put their trust in him in the middle of crisis. I may still ask God, “Why?” But seeing how one person who literally walked through the “valley of the shadow of death” responded helps. I cannot say, “Thank you!” enough to the family for letting the world read these words and feel inspiration from them.