"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." – Proverbs 3:5 (NIV)
Last week my nephew, whom I am a guardian of, was bullied at school. Though not uncommon, since he is 13 years old and in probably the most difficult years of his teenage life, it is troublesome as he is on the Spectrum and struggles to communicate. We found out two days after the incident, not from the principal or his teacher, but from the security guards on campus who had to intervene. Due to his one-on-one aide being gone, he was left with no help at all; the we were assured he would have someone with him. His teachers knew. The security knew. No one told us; not even my sweet little 13 year old nephew.
I want to say I handled the news graciously and calmly; but I would be lying if I said that. I was so angry! I wanted to find out who the children were that bullied him, I wanted to find their parents, I certainly wanted to smack someone. How could I let this happen? How could his teachers let this happen? Why was I not told? Why would anyone bully someone that they don't like or that was different? I can't wrap my head around it, and it brings me to tears.
In that moment of finding out what had happened, I'm struggling to be a good and trusting Christian and to not be mad at God. Every single day, we put that child in His care, trusting that He will watch over him when we can't. The fear that comes with being unable to do anything in those moments brings me to my knees. I want to trust God at those times. I want to know that He will do what I cannot. How can I, however, when things as terrible as this, and even worse, are happening?
Trusting God and relying on Him when you have no control of a situation, can feel like the most risky thing you will ever do. You have no control! There is absolutely nothing you can do to prevent any bad thing from happening. God has a lot on His plate, and as humans who are limited in capacity to do or think or pay attention, it can seem unrealistic to us that He has time and energy take care of what we care about. We tend to put God into a box that we fit into, instead of understanding that He is not us. We worry ourselves to death and we get angry when we do trust and the outcome doesn't look exactly like we thought it should. Like I said, trusting God and relying on Him can be really risky.
God is, however, always there and always ready and willing to help. I sat down after my anger have subsided a little bit and I thought about the situation in light of God being within it all. My nephew, who is so in his head that he can't even tell me that he had been bullied, was helped out of a bad situation at just the right time. Though he was unsupervised for the first time in his life for a number of days – for the entire school day – he was able to make it to each of his classes remarkably and did not elope from campus and create a situation where we lost him. This is important. I don't share much about my nephew but he is 13 and wears a GPS at all times due to his Autism. Yet, he did not run, he did not miss one class, and he knew what he had for homework each day when he came home from school.
When I start to think about all those things in light of the situation he'd been put in, and his capability levels; I start to see all that God had done to keep him safe. We serve an Incredible God. When I say that I don't mean it as hyperbole – no, I'm serious. He. Is. Incredible. He doesn't let us stray beyond His reach. He gives us little mercies, even when things go wrong. He holds us and He protects us and even when we have no control or we don't know the situation, He does.
Last week I was really angry at the situation I found my sweet little nephew in. I was mad at myself, the educators, the parents, the kids, and God. I had taken a risk in putting my trust in the safety and well-being of my nephew in God's hands. On the surface, it seemed like He let me down. When I looked at it in light of what had happened and what God has done to keep my nephew safe, it was hard to see anything other than the incredible, loving hand of God. I'm not saying all situations turn out as great; I wish I could say they did. What I am saying though, is that in those difficult times that we face as parents, we can trust that God is in the midst and that He's doing what he promised and will never let us down, even if the world does.