Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Where are you, God?

Update March 16, 2009

I hear from so many who are hurting from loss - some past, some present, and some in the future. And God is always comes into the conversation. Where is He? Where was He? Why did He allow this? What is or was He thinking? How could this loss be in His will? And zillions of books have been written to try to explain, to offer hope, and to share personal experience. But nothing gives us the answer we really want – which is to take away that loss, to have a “do –over” from God to fix it for us.
I was reminded of this by a tender letter from one of Megan’s close friends. She shared with me how so many continue to wrestle with the loss of their friend. We discover how vulnerable we truly are when we are deeply hurt. We are slapped in the face with an untimely death or chronic illness. I remember writing early on about taking Megan back to Emory for more tests and just being in the waiting room overwhelmed me with the reality of loss for so many - too many. And I was now part of that group.

Even now I watch as Blair goes to work everyday in a children’s hospital. She witnesses firsthand little lives in crisis. She witnesses suffering children looking out the window on a sunny day, wondering why they have to be sick, longing to be that child skipping along the sidewalk – free and well. It is not fair, we say. And we ask over and over, “Why?” And we cannot find all the answers we seek. But we can find some. We can scrutinize our own situation and we can discover where God is in the process. We have to really look. It is hard and painful, but we can find Him in the midst of our heartache. Even though He can become almost hidden it seems, He does not leave us. I know that.

From my friend’s book “Hannah’s Hope”, the author says, “I am struggling very much with being angry with God. Yet something I can't understand is calming me down. Sometimes I am so mad I don't care to understand this soft, gentle Spirit. I was so close to God. I loved him. I still do. I was totally impressed with Him and adored him. I think that is why it is harder for me right now. I feel very much like a wounded lover. I am waiting for God to recapture my heart and to ignite my flame for Him again."

I love the transparency of this writer. I love admitting “something I can’t understand is calming me down” during the crisis. I felt it, and did not understand it. People would come into our home and would say they felt it. Yet at the same time we all felt so terribly wounded. We were so hurt that God was not stepping in to restore Megan’s mind. We didn’t and don’t understand it.

Looking back over the past two years, I have discovered one place where God hid himself, invisible and yet so present. He was right there beside of Megan, ministering to her and to all of us, speaking through the updates that were posted weekly. That was not me; I can assure you of that. When I first started writing weekly, I often would wait a day or two until posting. I was uncertain of my words and totally inexperienced at writing. I felt vulnerable. As I would reread to edit, I would often cry, because I knew these words were not my own, but God’s. I just happened to be a fast typist who could somehow keep up with God’s thoughts (well, at least some) and capture my pain in print. It kept me sane. It kept me focused on a task that seemed productive when nothing else did. The further she slipped away, the faster I wrote. The greater the pain, the more the words came it seemed. I remember feeling stronger after I would post an update - like a surge of energy shot through me until the next week. It marked the time. It chronicled the journey. It kept me with God, who was “recapturing my heart” in the very midst of my grief. I have to believe it broke His heart as well because Megan was so in love with Him. And scripture says that Jesus wept over a world trapped in sin and death. He wept over those he was close to and I have to believe that those who love God and have been faithful to him must make him a little teary-eyed when they face life’s death trap – at least on this side of death. He is compassionate and loving; slow to anger and full of grace.

I think what I am trying to say in this explosion of thoughts is that today, while I have Dr. Feelgood and Owen and Blair, today while I have my family and friends, today while I have others who need a caring hand to hold, today is the day I offer it. I should go and sit with the one who is ill. I should take the time to talk to my neighbor. And I should be grateful for all that I have been given.

The Wall Street Journal recently posted an article about being grateful during these uncertain days. Grateful for a job, less complaining on the job simply because one has a job; gratitude instead of greed has become more fashionable on the job front. The turn in the economy, just like a turn in one’s personal life, makes us all think simpler thoughts, review our wish list and mark off a few things unneeded. And at the same time, we learn to add a few forgotten things like gratitude and generosity, and well-spent time with our Creator, who reveals and discloses truth as we draw close and make our hearts available to Him… again.

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