Today is my sister Tammy’s 51st birthday. We’ll celebrate her memory because she’s no longer with us. Tammy died of breast cancer 7 years ago. On days like this I tend to ask...
"God, What were you thinking?!”
Relationships in Tammy’s family disintegrated after she died; both her immediate family (kids, husband) and her birth family (sisters, mom). It took a few years for the hole that her painful death and her conspicuous absence hoisted on us. Today, many of those wounds have healed and some have not. In some ways and in some relationships we are closer than we were before. My older sister Pam and I have learned to relate much better than we did before Tammy died. We both love Jesus and He brings us together in a way that nothing else could.
But, after Tammy died many of us, including me, tried to figure out how to fix that gaping hole and that question, “God, what were you thinking?!” came up frequently, even if we just muttered it under our breath or begged it in our prayers.
In all my weakness I tried to hold the family together, thinking that I could somehow fill in for Tammy, but tiny as she was, her shoes were still too big to fill. She was a force to be reckoned with and she loved Jesus. My best efforts, as unrealistic as they were, didn’t… couldn’t make it all better. And, now it seems as if she and her family are farther from me than ever, though we are only separated my miles and not by dimensions, like the difference between heaven and earth.
I feel that somehow I have let her down by not making it all right after she died. By not fixing the broken places and not binding the wounds…by not carrying on in her place. And, faced with my complete lack of ability, there is that question in the back of my mind again, “God, what were you thinking?! We needed her!”
What was He thinking when:
• When he took a mother from her children, husband and grandchildren?
• He moved away my grandson from the Grandma that he loves?
• He asked me to live in a place where everything is upside down and topsy-turvy?
• He lets us be overwhelmed with the onslaught of pain, difficulty and strife?
• He lets people be mean and cruel?
I can’t begin to express God’s mind. There is a whole Book that does that. I can’t begin to explain it, but I know He understands our questions, our yearning to know the answers and our gnawing pain that makes us throw ourselves at His Feet like the woman whose years of pain and suffering made her grasp desperately at Jesus’ robe.
She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.
Like that woman I grab at His hem and hang on for dear life, knowing that healing comes in many ways, in many forms and on many levels. It just doesn’t always happened like we would prescribe.
So, what was God thinking when He let Tammy die, when He lets you suffer, when He lets your life seem to unravel? His Word says that everything…yes, everything…will lead us to the heart of God if we will only let it.
If you believe that God is God. I mean, really believe it…you have no choice but to trust that He knows what He is doing. Because what would a god of our own making be like?
Would He be made of gold and sit on a shelf? Would He be a robot we could give voice instructions to?
Would He be like Santa and just make it all the way we want, when we want it, how we want it?
Or would He be some hodge-podge of gods; a little of this and a little of that… Ta Da, a god of my own making! Which in reality would be me trying to make myself into God.
To be honest…I just don’t always understand God’s ways and I’m guessing you don’t either. But, I always come back to believing that the God Who IS, is better than any god I can make up in my mind.
Happy Birthday Tammy! I miss you. I love you and I can’t wait until the day that I get to run to you and hug you again. We'll sit together, laugh and revel in being together again. I know that I'll do that because I know for sure you're with Jesus. Until then I’m asking God to give me what I need to trust Him for what He allows for me down here and I’ll stop trying to figure out the mind of God and just follow His heart instead.