This morning I joined friends for a beautiful morning of worshipping the Lord through our choir practice, for Easter morning. I thought I had my emotions in check but there is something about walking into the house of the Lord and being in company of other believers. I was overcome.
I tried to discreetly wipe the tears, blow my nose, and return yet when we prayed, the tears transitioned from trickles to a steady flow of grief for so many. I looked around and this feeling was common among others in the room. The words for Easter reached to the depths of my heart this morning. I returned home perplexed and saddened.
My question to my husband, "What is my problem? Why can't I get it together?" He kissed me on the forehead with an "I love you." He kissed me on the cheek, "I love you." And then a gentle kiss on my lips, "I love you. You don't have a problem, you have a heart. Call if you need me." And off to work he went. (Is he a great guy or what, but don't tell him I shared this, he has a "tough guy reputation" to uphold, or so he tells me, isn't he cute?)
It wasn't our typical groceries and errands this weekend. These lists would need to wait until later too. Mary and I enjoyed a little K-LOVE for the ride in, talking about how we could pray for our friends.
Today, we joined friends to celebrate the life of a loved one who died much too early. My friend Amy's husband passed away unexpectedly this week. At the young age of fifty, he left his family and friends. Many are asking "Why?" In addition to his wife and siblings, Dan has three children who will grow up without their Dad their. "Why?"
I don't know the answer to this question.
A good question from an insightful teenager. She recognized the hurt, felt the pain, and understood the tears were deeper than the obvious. I cried because Dan died much too young. I cried because his children will grow up without a father. I cried because my friend is experiencing such pain, hopelessness, and fear for the future.
Then more tears as I think of my friend Lisa who passed away this week too. She was only in her forties and leaves behind a loving husband, two fabulous children, and a great family. "Why?" This is the question many have asked this week and in the weeks and years prior to. Death of a loved one before we think it is time, is not new. Yet no one answers this small yet important question.
I remember asking "Why did God take Heidi?" "Why did Heidi get kidnapped?" "Why? Why? Why"? Some responses helped while others created anger. It is this reason I continue to pray for God to give me the words, silence, or hug necessary to those hurting around me today. May I share His love, grace, mercy, hope, and healing versus creating more distance between them and the One who can help them the most.
I know today, God did not take my sister, yet in the depths of despair and the raw reality of her kidnapping -- this wasn't a truth I could grasp or even wanted to attempt to. I needed to blame someone, so sadly, it was God who received most of it. I still don't know today "why" Heidi was kidnapped or where she is. We don't know "why" she wasn't saved from this tragic death. We don't know "why" she remains missing nearly nineteen years later.
BUT one thing I do know, it is possible to survive and thrive after loss. I spent a decade searching for the answer to "why" and the only result was more bitterness, anger, and distance between God and the ones I loved. No where in the Bible does it tell say, "When tragedy and loss enter your life, if you are confused, then ask and I will explain it all to you." It isn't in there, I looked.
The Bible does say, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” in John 16:33. (Also the verse I have included when I sign When the Waves Subside: There is Hope - thirty minutes searching the Bible for this verse and it was one I have read and written multiple times lately, go figure)
This is the truth ~ God overcame the world and there is hope. Romans 8:18 tells us, "Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later." So I can't tell you why the good die young. I can't tell you why my sister is one of America's missing.
The only thing I can tell you for sure is this ~ God loves you. God is right there when you need Him. God desires a relationship with you. God's shoulders are big enough, strong enough, and waiting to carry our burdens. If someone asks you "why" this week, be honest and say "I don't know". I found comfort in the honest answer. When people tried to explain the pain away, I only turned farther from God ~ may we show Jesus to the hurting, not hit them over the head with our Bibles. Just a thought.