My friend’s son died by suicide. She’s grappling with it. Publicly and heart wrenchingly on Facebook.

Recently, she asked:

If God answers prayers, and we’ve proven that he does, and I begged and pleaded with God to heal Joseph, but his healing was to return him to God’s side and take him away from mine … HOW did that answer my prayers? Re-read the question. Identify the important points. Solve the problem. At least that’s what my math teachers would have said to do. Each time I try to formulate an answer, I fail to come up with an answer that satisfies myself. And so I turn to you.

I answered her:

First of all, I’m not even worthy to offer you an opinion. My friends who have experienced the death of a child sit on a throne to which I’m not worthy to bow in front.

But, as for my own experiences with both answered and unanswered prayer, I know that when I try to think logically regarding God is when I know I’m not understanding God. His ways are not my ways. He’s not of this world, so He is not bound by this world and our logical minds.

We see only a tiny fraction of the picture. I liken it (because I’m visual), to a scene from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” IKR? Stick with me here. Remember that scene where they were in the Art Institute of Chicago? Cameron is staring at Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” (Yes, I had to look it up.) He looks at the entire picture, then focuses in on the little girl, and the little girl’s face, and then individual paint globs.

That’s how I picture God. We see the paint globs. God sees the Sunday Afternoon painting.

We can’t see the entire picture, we can’t know. We can’t apply our earthly brains, even the best of them, to God’s ways. He is mystery and He veils his picture from us for His reasons. This is where trust and faith enter.