I've spent some of these last 24 hours in the emergency room and neuro-intensive care unit of a local hospital, where a young member of my parish is being treated after a biking accident. Tyler is suffering from a broken femur and lower back.
His family, friends, and church--we're all praying for his healing and full recovery.
I believe God is answering our prayers. The surgery to repair his broken leg went well this afternoon. And tomorrow, if he's able, he'll have an operation on his back. He has some sensation in his intact leg, which is encouraging.
In the midst of tragedies and near tragedies, people of faith often ask, "Why God?"
Several years ago, I asked that question myself; my daughter was lying on a bed in the emergency room and later in the intensive care unit of that same hospital. She survived her encounter with death and is healthy now. And I give God thanks continually.
I don't know why Tyler crashed when he was riding his mountain bike. In a broken world, accidents happen, and people break.
I do know, by faith, that God does not send affliction upon His children. He does not punish or curse us with calamity. He is a wholly loving God. He seeks to relieve suffering, not to inflict it.
And I know by experience that God loves us in the midst of bad things, giving us courage, strength, hope. He stands with us, His hands holding us up and keeping us from collapsing under the weight of anguish and fear.
During my daughter's hospital stay, I knew God's presence in the outpouring of love, support, and care by my church, friends, family, and doctors and nurses.
God is loving and upholding Tyler and his family now through others. And God is healing him through their presence and prayers.
God is good, even in times of suffering.