Friday, August 27, 2010


A couple nights ago, Sam wanted to ride his bike down by the river.
I was shocked, but I tried not to show it.
"Great!" I said, and whispered a thank you prayer in my head. "Maybe your dad and I will go with you. Tanner could use a walk anyway."
Sam rolled his eyes. "Mom. You don't have to come. It's not like it's going to happen again. That'd be crazy. Besides, I just want to see if my blood is still there. I bet it is. It was everywhere."

It really was.
Last Sunday afternoon, Sam had a massive wreck down on the river path.
He and his dad had gone for a leisurely bike ride, and as they rounded a curve, a little boy stepped onto the path. Sam swerved to avoid hitting him, flew over the handlebars, and skidded on his side and arm across the asphalt into a bank of dirt and rocks.

It was bad.
Sam is my careful boy. His older brother Ben could lead The Ramsey Family Tour of Emergency Rooms of the East Coast and France, but in Sam's eleven years, he's never broken a bone. He's never had a single stitch.

Sam was screaming, writhing in pain. Rocks and pebbles were embedded in his arm, until Todd jumped off his bike, and in his shock, brushed them off. More blood started gushing. Sam saw the holes and began to panic.
"I hate God!" he shouted, as Todd wrapped his shirt around his arm. "Why did He let that happen? Why? He could have stopped it! I hate Him! I hate Him!"

Luckily, Todd had his cell phone. I met them at the edge of the path. As Todd put the bikes in the back of the van, I tried to calm Sam down.
"It'll be okay," I said. "We just need to get you cleaned up, and it'll heal just fine."
"CLEANED UP?" Sam screamed. "You're not putting anything on it! And I'm never riding that bike again. Or coming down here either!" He began to cry again. "Why did God let that happen? I pray all the time and He never listens."
I let Sam go on, saying what he needed to say, wincing at his crying out to God. Wishing I could make it better.

I wanted to tell him, "God didn't put that little boy in your path. He didn't look at his watch and time it that way, just to teach you that you can survive this." But I didn't say that. He needed to cry it out. Spread his pain before God.

I'm aware that some people believe that God sends hardships to test them this way. We lose people we love, we suffer great disappointments in life and grieve over losses. Personally, I don't believe God sends these things.
A little child wanders into a bike path. Bad things happen.
But God can help us navigate the pain. And as God helps us heal, as God absorbs our cries and our prayers, God can write His own story into our story. He can draw us nearer until we feel His embrace. Thankfully, God can help us heal.

It's remarkable to me how the human body heals. And the spirit too.

"It takes some courage to get back on the bike," I told Sam as he strapped on his helmet.
"I guess," Sam shrugged. "Really, Mom, it's silly for you to go."
But Todd and I followed anyway, claiming that we needed the exercise, trying to make ourselves believe that's why we were going.

The walk started fine.
Sam would ride ahead, circle back to us, and go again.
But then he didn't circle back. Where was he? Surely something hadn't happened.
It started to get dark on the trail, and we walked faster. Where was he?
We started getting nervous, calling out his name. What had happened?
Finally, when we were on the brink of panic, Todd's cell phone rang.
"What is there to eat in this house?" Sam asked.
He had finished the trail and ridden home.

After Todd and I returned home and finished ranting about how scared he'd made us, and that he should have told us he was going home, Sam said he was sorry. Then bit his lip, the way he always does before he reveals something important.
"I have to tell you, I was a little scared too. It was getting dark, but I just prayed the whole way. God helped me go fast."

Thank you, God. For healing of all kinds.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you feel okay about getting angry with God when bad things happen? What do you think about how God tests and teaches us? Would God send us pain, or just work through it with us? We can really learn from each other, so I hope you'll share.

Have a wonder-full weekend, y'all!

Love, Becky

PS. I just remembered that Beki over at The Rusted Chain is doing her Fingerprint Friday, a blog party to celebrate the presence of God's fingerprints in our lives. I suppose this post qualifies--thank goodness for God's fingerprints even in our pain--so I'm jumping in. Hop over here to find more fingerprint treasures!

*Photo by K. Praslowicz (Sjixxxy), creative commons


Roxane B. Salonen said...

Becky, ah, another poignant story. They all are. Your son reminds me of my middle son. Very thoughtful. Not one to get hurt. But he's had some stern words with God at times. He is my thinking child and perhaps this is part of it. But he always knows when to praise God. I love that. I'm one who believes we can have all kinds of emotions, and God understands. He gave us those emotions, even the ones that include temper tantrums and not being mindful of His grace that is being offered, even as we resist. We are human. He understands. He can take it, just like I can take it when my kids say, "I hate you." Because I know better. :)

Jean Wise said...

Great illustration. I don't think God intentionally sends us pain to test us - we do too much dumb stuff and the world sends out its barbs too - there is plenty of pain going around. I do believe He uses everything though and lessons abound from all our experiences.

And His has big shoulders. We can yell, scream and get angry at God - He still loves and accepts us. and isn't that so wonderful!! wow Thanks for that reminder today.

Susie said...

I think it is meaningful that Sam finished his post-accident ride alone (except for God!) Maybe it was a way to reassert his competence. Even though it was hard for you and Todd it sounds to me like Sam worked through this incident in a very empowering way!

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

ps 139 comes to mind in sam's situation - he's not the first to 'have it out with God' ;)
king david's style? good psalm writing resulted ~
and a great understanding of God's kind of love in the 2 He loves us posts
thx for the tip on Beki's Rusted Chain blog!
i'm partyin' with you :)

Michelle DeRusha said...

First of all, I love this story (even though I'm very sorry Sam had to suffer so much). Secondly, I really need to hear this today, as yesterday we learned that my dear mother-in-law has only about one month left to live in her battle against cancer. I tend to rail against God in these situations, just like Sam did. And sometimes that railing is necessary and long as you come to the realization that God is a God of peace in the end, and He comforts and loves, as you so eloquently remind me here.

So thank you, Becky, for this much, much-needed message today.

And by the way, you are a top-notch storyteller. I am always eager to read through and find out how it ends!

Rosebud Collection said...

A wonderful story..raising children is a real test in faith..I always wondered why I turned gray so fast..but thankful for Clariol..God has a good sense of humor too.
Happy all went well with thing he did was ride the bike again..Happy Fingerprint Friday..

Laura@OutnumberedMom said...

You're right -- he needed to rail, as we all do sometimes. Our God is big enough -- He can take it. He knows we're dust, knows our frame.

Two things cracked up this mom of boys: "I just want to see if my blood is still there" and "Isn't there anything to eat in this house?" Had to smile at both!

artsyclay said...

Beautiful story! It is especially hard to understand when we do something good (like swerving to avoid the child) but something bad happens to us. It doesn't seem fair, does it?

Some things we just can't understand while we are on the earth. I look forward to getting to Heaven and seeing everything as God sees it. In the meantime, even if in some moments I am angry, eventually I choose to trust Him.

Vicki said...

What a great story of lessons learned: one can survive physical pain, one can do good and have it hurt and still come out okay and one can get mad at God and then reconcile with him and trust him again.
Wonderful lessons that will probably remain with him all his days.
As far as God allowing bad things to happen, I suppose in a sense I do believe that he does. If he is our Creator as we profess him to be, then he is certainly capable of allowing or not allowing things to happen to us. Does he allow it to punish us, never. Does he allow it to teach us and draw us closer to him. Absolutely, I do believe that he does. What we learn in the valley, in the darkness and in the pain is often much more meaningful and long lasting and transforming than the things we learn in light, on the mountaintop when things are great! IMHO LOL ♥

Angie Muresan said...

Oh, Becky, I'm glad he's okay. My boy is like that too, so very careful.
I really like how you tie in your daily experiences with God's presence in your life. It is a message I'm needing to hear every time I visit here.

Jamie @ Bungalow Bee said...

When God tests our faith we should take it as a compliment. He will never give us anything we can't handle, although there may be times we question that. I'm like you in that I don't believe God sends bad things to happen to us. I do believe He ALLOWS things to test us and the devil to tempt us because it makes us stronger in our faith. What good is faith if it is not tested?

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Thanks, y'all for your thoughtful comments. I'm so thankful for a faith to depend on when the pain comes- as it always does in this human life of ours. I know my faith has grown through grief and disappointment and pain--and also through joy and surprise and peace. I'm glad that God can work through all flavors of life-both the ups and the downs!
Your stories and thoughts are gold to me. Hugs and kisses for sharing them!

Locusts and Wild Honey said...

I love that you're the kind of mom who gives her kids the space to work through their issues with God without chastisement.

You're so inspiring!

Kat said...

What a beautiful story. That boy of yours is a treasure. :)

I can't really recall ever getting mad at God. I probably did when I was younger. But I believe, like you, that bad things don't come from God. God only wants what is best for us.
My dad was very angry with God when my sister died when she was nine. He had a very hard time, and he was always such a faithful man. It was just hard for him to understand why God would allow such suffering. But he still never strayed from God. It was remarkable to me. He even had dreams about my sister after she died. She would visit with him and talk with him. The last dream he had about her she came to him and said she couldn't visit with him anymore. She told him that he needed to work on his anger and he had a very good chance of getting to heaven. I think that was very healing for him.
Just writing that makes me cry.

Beki - TheRustedChain said...

You are so beautiful. Your words. Your thoughts. Your heart. I love it all!

Rebecca Ramsey said...

Locusts and Beki, you're awfully sweet. Some days I sort of feel okay about parenting. Other days I'm convinced I have no idea what I'm doing. Thank goodness I'm not all alone in this.

Kat, your story is a treasure. I can't imagine the intense pain of losing a child. I know it would shake the faith of the strongest lover of God. Your father's faith is a wondrous thing. What a dream. With all the stories in scripture of God speaking to us through our dreams, I have to believe God must do it still. I'm sure we could learn so much from examining them. I'm so glad you shared your story. Thank you!

Terri said...

absolutely, God listens and journeys with us in and through our pain, because stuff happens. But God does not cause the bad stuff to happen just to teach us. Life teaches us well enough as it is.

Anonymous said...

I think sometimes bad stuff just happens, other times God gives us challenges to grow us. And I think He gives us all kinds of emotions to process good and bad experiences. It's a mature Christian who backs away from their feelings and examines truth. Not that we don't HAVE feelings, we just have to learn to get over them!