by Fran Sandin
Even when we are too weak to have any faith left, He remains faithful to us and will help us, for He cannot disown us who are part of Himself, and He will always carry out His promises to us. 2 Timothy 2:13 TLB
Before the meningitis vaccine became available, our blonde, blue-eyed, vivacious, lovable 17-month-old-toddler, Jeffrey, succumbed to bacterial meningitis. He became ill on a Sunday, placed on life-support Wednesday, and died on Thursday the same week. He received the best medical care possible at the Children’s Hospital in Dallas, Texas. Devastated, as a young wife and mother, I was in shock.
Our family and friends rallied around, and I felt God loving me through their beautiful expressions of concern, sympathy, and prayers. But months following the memorial service, the reality of Jeffrey’s sudden departure caused burning questions in my soul.
- Is God punishing me?
- Will I ever get over this?
- Does God really answer prayer?
I needed answers. God and His Holy Spirit would be my counselors. I raised My spiritual antenna, alert to radio programs, pastor’s sermons, fellow believers, books, and most of all what was in the Bible.
Eventually, I came to peace about my pressing question: Is God punishing me?
- God is sovereign. I had no idea why Jeffrey’s infection occurred. I do know that after the general fall of man, disease and death would be allowed on earth. We are not as wise or as strong as God. I finally realized I did the best I could as a fallible and feeble mom. Although I could not understand why it happened, Jeffrey was in God’s hands, and He allowed that illness to happen (John 16: 33). God oversees the ultimate outcome of any illness. He is in charge. I am not.
- God is forgiving. When I confessed my sins and trusted Jesus as Savior (I John 1:9), my sins were forgiven, once and for all (see Psalm 103:8-14). But I identified with the widow who cried to the prophet when her son died, “Have you come here to punish my sins by killing my son?” (I Kings 17: 18 TLB). Then I remembered Jesus had already forgiven me for my past, present, and future sin. A pastor said in his message, no pain or sorrow could be severe enough to punish us for our sins. The Bible tells us in Romans 8: 1 that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
- God is faithful. “Is God punishing me?” was a question I could not discuss with anyone but the Lord, but He is the best counselor I know. It took many months for me to work through the self-condemnation I experienced after Jeffrey’s illness and death. Through truth I found in God’s Word and the messengers He sent, I learned to leave the questioning behind. God is faithful, He will never leave us (Hebrews 13: 5), His grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12: 9). His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3: 22-23). He makes all things beautiful in His time. (Ecclesiastes 3: 11).
Assured of His love, mercy, and forgiveness, I began searching for the productive life He designed for me. Jeffrey will always have a special place in my heart, and I look forward to someday when we will be together FOREVER.
About the author: As a registered nurse, Fran did not plan to be an author, but God prompted her to share His answers to her questions so others asking the same ones would be comforted. (II Corinthians 1: 3-5). Her book, See You Later, Jeffrey, has been translated into Russian and shared in the Ukraine and Germany. The original edition, published in hardback by Tyndale, is now published by EABooks in paperback, and is available by request in Christian Bookstores (through Ingram) or online at Amazon. Visit Fran’s website www.fransandin.com.
Join the conversation: Have you ever wondered if God is punishing you?