“You make me so mad when you say that.”
“God is in control.”
I didn’t respond. A red flag stopped all communications with my sister, Anna, immediately. My mind shuffled through memories of past conversations we’d had on this subject— Mom’s death ranked first on the list. Anna blasted my attempt in trying to make sense of our mother’s sudden departure from this earth. Ever since that night, when Anna walked out of the room before I could finish sharing my reasons for thinking God has complete control over all situations, I’ve had been in limbo of knowing how to respond to this topic.
Now, several years later with our personal relationship repaired, we enjoy each other’s company and have many things in common. I love my sister. She would’ve made a great lawyer. In fact, she could actually “argue the horns off a Billy goat.” With this in mind, I just let her talk and not argue with her.
Anna continued. “I believe that God gave us free will, and that we make our own choices, so therefore we’re responsible for what happens to us.”
I took a deep breath. “Yes, that is true. We’re given the opportunity to make our own decisions, but—.”
Anna took charge. “I just don’t see how God could let bad things happen to good people. Why would he choose to let someone die when they’re still young?”
Thankful for the darkness, I shook my head and looked out the car window. The lights of our destination twinkled, in the distance. Closing my eyes, I said a quick prayer. Dear Lord, I need your help. I don’t know what to say to her. Why can’t she see Your Greatness in your creation? How could anyone ever doubt Your control over all things, after all You created everything? You have a plan and a purpose for what happens on earth.
I knew she was thinking of Timothy, her son, who had been killed instantly in a boating accident three years ago. Since that time, she’s survived day-by-day doing good deeds for others and sharing her creative talents. She can find humor in everything and keeps everyone laughing with her unpredictable topics of conversations.
Defending myself, I said, “The Bible says—.”
“I don’t like to read the Bible because the people can change the words to make it fit their own causes.”
A red flag.
She continued. “I always pray before I witness to others, I tell them that God is too good to let terrible things happen. People die or cause others to die because of the choices they make in their lives.”
Another red flag. The one was humongous. It sprouted goose bumps on my arms. The pounding of my heart jarred my internal organs. I was ashamed that I had let myself get in this predicament of not knowing what to say to my sister who struggled trying to make sense of a world in constant turmoil.
After all, I do work on having a quiet time each day. I do read and study the Bible. I do go to church. Yes, I do all these things, but tonight alone with my beloved sibling, I have no ammunition to fight the battle with. Was this is of my choosing because I feel inadequate when it comes to witnessing to others? Do I use this excuse because I don’t want to say the wrong things, or do I not have enough faith in the Holy Spirit?
Please forgive me dear Lord and thank you for bringing this to my attention. This is a scary thought that Anna could be leading the people in the wrong direction unintentionally. I know she loves You and believes in You. However, she's moved herself to a secluded island in her viewpoint.
She’s closed herself off from all Your communications by not reading Your Bible, or belonging to a fellowship of other Christians. She’s alone with her one-way communication—prayer.
By this time, we pulled up to my car in the parking lot. I wanted to talk with her to help her acknowledge God’s greatness in all situations. But, I just said, “Goodbye and I love you.”
I prayed all the way home.
Since that night, I’ve re-enlisted in God’s army using Ephesian 6:10-18. I’ll be strong in the Lord using His mighty holy power. I’ll equip myself in full armor getting ready for the next battle I encounter.
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