We Can’t Always Be There, But He Can

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beach god is with them

Last month two of my kids had a brush with Death. The riptide caught them and was dragging them out to sea. The waves kept crashing over them. My husband could not get to them.

I wasn’t there. But, I can see the images in my mind. I know the beach. I know my kids. I know the catch in my husband’s voice when he talked about it.

We almost lost our kids. And I still reel from the thought of it.

But, God…

But, God chose to spare them — and us — from a horrific tragedy.

Our boys know how to swim. We made sure of that. My husband is a diver. He’s well-acquainted with the ocean. He just couldn’t get to them fast enough.

God sent angels with surfboards to rescue my kids. And I’m so very grateful.

So grateful.

Over the last few weeks and months, God has brought me to my knees over and over again. He’s reminded me

Our weekend, our month, our life could have been spent so differently. God has reminded us that we can’t always be with our kids.

Despite our best intentions, we can’t provide for all their needs. We can’t protect them from everything. My husband would have done anything to get to them in that moment, and the waves just kept him back.

We can’t be with our kids all the time.

But God can be.

And I’m so very thankful for that.

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. — Deuteronomy 31:8

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  1. The water can be so peaceful and beautiful one moment, and the next very powerful and scary. So glad your children are safe.

    What are we, as parents who have lost children in an accident because we weren’t there, to think about God? I have been wrestling with this for over a year and half now. Where was God for my child?

    I have been told that God needs my son more than I do, and that God has saved him from something worse, like a disease or any number of other ways we suffer on this earth. I have been told God was there with him, which I’m sure He was. But then . . God let Death win? I’ve been told God has a plan, and in this knowledge I am to rest easy, because it all works out. But my son is not here with us where he belongs. He was robbed, cheated. And I am not happy with God’s plan. I am thankful knowing my son is with God, yet cannot fully rejoice because this is not the natural order of things. He’s supposed to be here and be 9.5 years old, and celebrating his brother’s 7th birthday tonight, along with his mama & papa, his 2 older brothers, and younger sister. But his mama couldn’t be there to save him, and God didn’t save him from Death.

    I apologize for sounding harsh. I am truly asking for an answer or thoughts or a different perspective. Something. Some help with this. Because if we give thanks to God for being there, in the way we would want Him to be there, what are we to do when we feel He wasn’t there, in the way we wanted Him to be there?

    1. Oh, Leslie, my heart breaks for you. I am so sorry for your loss.

      I lost three unborn babies to miscarriage, and while that definitely does NOT compare with your loss, I asked many of the same questions. I wish I had answers. And I hope that my post did not sound boastful. I did not mean for it to be hurtful in any way.

      I don’t understand God’s ways. I read a lot of books on death and grieving in that year when I kept losing babies. I heard lots of people lecture me in many of the things you’ve been told as well.

      I can only rest in who God is, what I know of Him: that He is totally good. That this life is not all there is. That there are things I won’t understand. And that He is the only one I can truly lean on. I will be praying for you.

    2. I just finished reading the book Choosing to See by Mary Beth Chapman. She lost her little girl in an accident. Maybe reading about her experience might help bring some answers.

  2. My stomach dropped just reading this. I can’t even imagine how it feels for you. But yes, YES, to His always being there. I remember a NICU nurse once telling me, her eyes exhausted and brilliant after 86 minutes of manually respirating a baby back to life, “I can’t imagine a job where I would be blessed to FEEL God in the room so often. It brings me to my knees every time.” He is always there. Always.

  3. How scary! It’s so true…and something I need to remember as I just sent my oldest off the church camp today for the week. I’ve been so nervous since it’s his first time, but it’s all in God’s hands.

  4. (tears) Thankful that your sons and family were spared. (tears) Remembering and praying for Leslie and the many others who have said final earthly farewells to their precious ones. (tears) It’s been 33 years, 3 weeks since I’ve said “good-bye” and tears still can come. I (the created) choose to trust The Creator and His Plan. No it’s not the “perfect” little plan that we had in mind years ago, No it’s not the typical life others appear to live. But I’m trusting in eternal plans and purposes. God is good. He understands our aching hearts, our searching for answers and can handle our anger. As for me, I feel this is the individually designed race to draw me closer to God for eternity. And I rest in His promises and am thankful for peace.

  5. This brought tears to my eyes because sometimes the what could have been feels almost as bad as if it had really happened. Loved your heart in this post and is serves as a great reminder to trust God with our children. He knows the plans He has for them and us and sometimes tragedy will come and it’s hard to be so trusting but I am thankful that He is also my comforter.
    My heart ached as I read Leslie’s comment. My brother was killed by a drunk driver at 16 and he LOVED the Lord. So many questions can run through your mind when something like that happens but one thing I do know is that a lot of people came to the Lord because of my brother’s death. ‘God Bless you Jessica and God Bless your family!

  6. I’m so glad your two are safe!! And I will be praying for those who have commented sharing their loss.

  7. This story made my stomach weak just thinking about what your husband was going through at that moment. Bless his heart! You are surrounded by angels everyday to protect you and THANK GOD your kids are ok today. I bet you will think about this every time they want to go swimming again. I wish I could go everywhere with my son that just turned 18, to protect him but that’s what God does. I have to believe that he will keep him safe when I cant be there. Everything happens for a reason but when you loose a child, nothing could be worse. Can’t imagine that. It would be really testing your faith then. Happy your family is doing well!

  8. Jessica, Leslie, Teresa and Kim, my heart goes out to you all. What terrible things to go through. May peace be yours, someday.

  9. Jessica I was in tears before I even got to Leslie’s comment – so glad the boys are safe.

    Leslie my heart breaks for your pain and loss. All I can really do is pray for you and your family to find peace. I wish I could do more. I wish I had an answer that would help.