I like to think that I have a strong faith in God. I believe that He is loving and good. But sometimes things happen that make me stop and question. For instance, the way special needs orphans are treated in many countries. They suffer and die alone from neglect and preventable diseases. And I question why. I wonder how God can stand to watch the pain and waste.
But sometimes an event occurs which is so patently evil, where death is so real and all-consuming, that I lose my breath and just crumple over in a heap for a while. I know that the evil that exists in the world is our fault, not God's. I know that we brought sin into the world and it's our choices that make room for all the suffering and pain. And it's times like this that make me pray even harder for Jesus to return. And it's times like this that test my faith the hardest, because no matter how much my head knows that it's our fault, I have a hard time understanding how God can allow such an act of evil to occur and I know that I won't get an answer this side of heaven.
Today, I want to introduce you to Olivia. She was not like the other children I feature on this blog. She was born into a family who absolutely adored her. She was perfect and whole. She was sweet, and serious and had enormous blue eyes. And on this day last year, when she was just over a year old, her family went to the park to watch her older sibling play in a game. Her mother realized that she had forgotten Olivia's sippy cup and so she wheeled Olivia in her stroller back to the car to get it. Such a simple act. One of those things we do everyday without thinking. Except that this wasn't everyday, it was Olivia's last day.
You see, just as Olivia's mom pushed the stroller into the crosswalk, a woman in a big SUV decided to back up on the wrong side of the drive to get a parking spot she had passed. And she struck Olivia and her mom. As Olivia's mom was running to the stroller, the woman drove forward over Olivia's head and then backed up over her again. Of course by this time, Olivia was virtually gone. And her mom had to watch every second of it and I imagine still watches every second of in her head everyday.
You may be wondering why I decided to ruin your day by sharing this, but I really do have several reasons. One, the Bible tells us to share each other's grief, so today I am asking you to lift Olivia's family in prayer as I can't imagine what they must be feeling on this one year anniversary of her death. Two, how many of us really pay attention when we're driving? We talk on our phones (or worse, text). We eat. We put on makeup or fiddle with the radio. We speed because we are the most important person on the road. Olivia did not have to die. If the driver of the SUV had taken the time to circle back around, she would be here. But apparently that few seconds was worth the risk, everyone else be damned. So I'm asking you to watch for others when you drive! Slow down! It only takes a second to change a life forever.
Olivia's death stretches my faith, I must admit. But in the end I continue to cling to God because He is the only good I can find in this world and I do believe that one day He will set all things right.
Hold your children a little tighter today. Tell them that you love them. Thank God when they return to you tonight. And please keep Olivia's family in your prayers.