Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I'm Stronger Now

"Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us." -Romans 5.1-5

I've always thought that this was a cool passage. But now that I am going through this horrible tragedy in my life, I feel the truth of it deeply. It's only been about 75 days since Midi and Nathan died. But I can already feel that I am growing. I'm stronger now. Even in my weakness, I am strong. My faith is stronger than it has ever been, even when I first came to faith in Jesus. My capacity to love has grown. I am a better father to Lucas than I ever was. I am a better son, a better son-in-law, a better brother, a better cousin, a better friend, a better follower of Jesus. I have perceived this growth from the earliest of days after the accident. And I perceived that others around me would grow in their faith as well. My first response to this growth out of the ashes was anguish and guilt. I felt that the cost was too high. Midi and Nathan dying was an unspeakable cost to get myself and others to wake up and consider the course of our own lives.

But I quickly realized that my thinking was incorrect and a perversion of the truth. For to think this way means that I would have to believe that God caused the accident to happen. It would mean that God actually did it. But this is not true. God did not cause the accident, but rather I believe that He allowed it to happen. I am not sophisticated enough to dive into deep theological thoughts about the sovereignty of God. What I know is that God is good. I believe this. I am content with this (for now at least) and do not feel that I need to understand everything about God's sovereignty in order to have faith. My experience has been that God is grieving alongside me. The accident happened specifically because a broken man committed an irresponsible act. He drank himself to intoxication, drove someone else's truck, and sped through a red light, killing my wife and son. Then he ran. The accident happened more generally because we live in a fallen world where sinners sin and rebel against God. And there are consequences to our rebellion. Namely, we live in a world that is cursed with death. Now don't get me wrong. I believe that this man is solely responsible for what he did and that he should be punished. But whether he is caught and punished or not will not change things for me. My wife and son are dead. But it isn't as though some harsh punishment is going to make me feel good about the justice system. What I do and how I live does not in any way depend on whether or not this man is brought to justice.

I'm stronger now. And others are starting to seek God in their lives - some for the first time and some are coming back to Him. And we shouldn't feel guilty about it because God did not cause the accident to happen so that we would grow. He is not some disgusting cosmic manipulator. The truth and the beauty of God is that He is the Great Redeemer. He only can make something good out of something so awful. He doesn't leave me to just suffer for no reason. I am grateful to God for my relationship with Him. It is because of this that my suffering will lead to endurance, endurance to character, character to hope. I only wish that Midi and Nathan could experience this new and improved Mark that is being formed.


Renee L. said...

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea...

He alone is my rock and salvation; My soul finds rest in God alone."
--Psalm 46:1-2, 62:2,1 NIV

Dear Mr. Mikasa,

There are no words to express our sympathy for your loss. I am really sorry to hear about your tragedy. I know it takes time to heal and I am glad you are taking your time to do so. I am also glad that you are getting stronger now. In the beginning I was really worried for both you and little Lucas physically and spiritually, but after reading your blogs, I know my biggest concern is answered--that your relationship with the Lord is closer than ever. I am glad that through all of this, in your heart God remains as good.

You and your family are an encouragement for all of us. When I read the articles of your news, I realized weekly you and Mrs. Mikasa had held Bible studies. Mrs. Mikasa is remembered as the sweet and compassionate nurse who is kind and loving to everyone. I am very touched and motivated. It reminds me to really do something meaningful in my life, just like you guys had. It is a huge encouragement. Thank you.

It was nice to see you this morning. I am glad to hear Lucas is adjusting fairly well to his new preschool. Please help me say hi to dear little Lucas and take care.

Happy Early Easter!


Renee L. said...

Hello Mr. Mikasa,

The following is a link that leads you to a video of "The Interview with God". It is a slideshow with beautiful images, comforting music and truly meaningful and soothing words of wisdom and comfort. May you find peace and rest with it.


B.A.K. said...

Dear Mark,
I definitely know what you mean about somehow being stronger and different now. I have been thinking about that a lot lately - Midi and Nathan's deaths will always mark the end of a time and beginning of another for me as well in that way. I am living in reality more than I ever have - that God alone sees the whole picture of everything that has happened and all that is to come. It feels like a place of pain and hope and freedom all at once. Anyway, I look forward to seeing you and Lucas sometime soon.
Love and peace to you friend,

Lovelyn said...

Mark, I'm glad to hear that you feel stronger in your faith, and that you and Lucas have a new normal that you're adjusting to. I'm sure you're being showered with prayers from all over.

When I think about your experience, I still cry but I hug my family a bit tighter knowing that I may not always have them here.

I hope to drop by and say hi one of these days, except I only work until third period nowadays.