To My Rainbow Baby in Times of Trouble,
You were meant to be here. Here. I used to think simply You were meant to be, as if your siblings weren’t meant to be and therefore– poof-– weren’t. Like it was physically and emotionally that easy. I don’t know why your siblings went to heaven and you got to stay here. Although I miss them and it was hard knowing them only long enough to give them up for the rest of this lifetime, I have found peace with it, and I hope through your suffering, you can find peace too. There’s a place and a time for us all, and yours is here and now.
This– whatever this is for your right now– is probably the last thing you would have chosen to go through. When you think of a list of all the trials a human could possibly endure, this would probably be at the very bottom of the list. Maybe that’s kind of the point. God knows our hearts. He knows our likes and our dislikes, our greatest fears and our deepest desires. He knows the joys and challenges that will change us and therefore the world around us. While he doesn’t cause us harm– no, that’s the last thing he wants– he knows ahead of time the harm that will befall us in this lifetime and how that works in the bigger picture of our lives and the lives of all of humanity through all of history. This is your part. It’s no mistake or accident or coincidence that this is the thing you’re going through.
Take that. Own it. This burden will somehow turn into your assignment. Don’t let that define you or limit you, but do be open to how it might change you and the gifts and passions it brings to light. I don’t know exactly what all that means to you or how that will reveal itself, but you have to go through this. As long as you are here on this earth (and I am SO glad you are here with me), you still have a purpose.
From the moment you were conceived in God’s mind, you had a purpose.
These are the days. These are the most important moments of your life. They will stay with you and transform you. Right now it’s hard, but one day you’ll have some semblance of peace– even gratitude– about it. Though I’d love to take away all the bad things, I’ve learned through my own experience of trying to bring you earthside that it’s just not possible. We all have our trials: the things that keep us up at night with our full minds and our stuffed noses and our hearts beating loudly in our chests. There’s no avoiding them.
Know that God doesn’t waste a tear. As I’m thinking through sharing these thoughts with you, a song comes on the radio, a song which has encouraged me through many hard times and which fits perfectly with my message for you.
There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place,
Will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we’ll hold on to you alwaysI know the journey seems so long
You feel you’re walking on your own
But there has never been a step
Where you’ve walked out all alone
Troubled soul don’t lose your heart
‘Cause joy and peace he brings
And the beauty that’s in store
Outweighs the hurt of life’s stingBut I hold on to this hope and the promise that He brings
There will be a place with no more sufferingThere will be a day, He’ll wipe away the tears,
He’ll wipe away the tears, He’ll wipe away the tearsThere Will Be a Day – Jeremy Camp
Maybe at the end of your life, you’ll look back and see how all the pieces fit together. Maybe it will look like one ginormous, wall-sized masterpiece, or maybe it will look like a few smaller masterpieces all hanging next to one another in one cohesive display. Maybe you’ll see it in the next life when you are reunited with Jesus and your siblings in heaven. Maybe not. Maybe you won’t care by that time when you have the ultimate, everlasting peace and joy. The thought of it all making sense is nice now while we’re struggling here on Earth, but maybe one day, it won’t matter to us.
As I was thinking through these thoughts and how to express them, I somehow completely forgot about this verse. I don’t know how since it’s tattooed on my body. I caught a glimpse of it in the mirror while thinking through what I wanted to tell you in this letter, so I knew I had to share it with you here. This verse got me through my most seemingly hopeless days, even when I knew nothing else of God. Even when I wasn’t sure I believed or even what it meant to believe.
Romans 8:18 NIV says, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” The CSB translation of the same verse says, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.” Do you see the difference between the two? At the worst time in my life, I preferred the version that ended with “to us.” I wanted glory to be revealed to me, and it was, but not in the way I imagined or hoped. Now, on the other side of that particular bout of suffering (oh yes, there will be more), I understand and prefer the version that ends with “in us.” I see how God worked through those times to change me in a way that positively impacts every aspect of my life and gives me an overflow of joy that then flows into the hearts of others.
The passage goes on (with several other points of encouragement) to verse 28, which says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I thought these were the only good verses in the Bible. They were so good and gave me such hope, I thought they must be the best of all of them! I was wrong. I hope and pray by the time you’re reading this, you know God. I hope you have seen his works for yourself and know more than I did about God’s love for you and his promises. I hope you know him and know that you are not alone.
That doesn’t mean it’s okay. That doesn’t make it better. It just means you have to keep going, and you can do that by yourself or with those who love you: God, me, your dad, your siblings, your friends, your community. Just as you excitedly invite loved ones to celebrate the good times and thank God for them, be sure to just as readily invite God and people to experience the bad with you. I was alone. Waiting for you, hoping for you, I felt so desperately alone, but loneliness is not from God. Suffering is not from God, but the victory and the glory will be. Rest in him. Have faith. Trust and surrender. Goodness will come from this.
You don’t see it, but God is working through these times.
You don’t believe it, but this time will end.
You don’t feel it, but good will come of this.
You are proof. You are the beauty after the storm. Your story is proof of God’s goodness and faithfulness. You were meant to be here.