For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17 (NIV)
I confess, I have no idea how to begin and end this post. But, as always, when I am struggling, I write to sort out my feelings. Reality is the key word on this blog so here’s a dose. Let’s begin at the beginning. I have often written about adopted daughter. How she came into our life, homeless and scarred from abuse. How God worked miracles in her life and how joyful we were to be able to walk that road with her. To open our home to her and welcome her in. She is a delight and it has been like watching a butterfly emerge from her cocoon to see her overcome her past, embrace adulthood, make wise decisions and find love. But, adopted daughter was not the only girl we welcomed into our life. We had another live with us for a short time, but the outcome was not as successful. We loved the other just as much as adopted daughter, but the other was not as easy to raise. Unlike adopted daughter, she had strong loving parents who worried themselves sick over her wild and willful ways. We provided a safe house where she could come to give her parent’s respite in times when her choices were more than they could take. But, she never stayed long. Our rules were similar to her parents and she was living a life free of rules, or at least trying to. The other one was endearing, fun to be around, always willing to pitch in and help with housework or cooking. She shared my love of horses and doted on our dogs. But, she could never truly abandon her wild side and before too long, she would leave our home, sometimes by choice, sometimes because we asked her to go. Then, two sets of parents were left fretting over her. This other had a disease that sometimes reared its ugly head and was life threatening. Her body brutally attacked itself leaving her on the brink of death several times. She always rallied and before long resumed her willful ways. I don’t know what she was seeking, but our love and security wasn’t it. A few months ago, the other had a baby. An adorable happy sweet healthy baby. And the other began to make good choices. Her baby was enough to save her. So, we thought. On Tuesday, we got word that the other had died. At age twenty-five, her body finally had its way and swiftly, surprisingly, she slipped from this life to the next leaving her grieving parents with a grandson that they have no rights to in our archaic and backwards state. Today, we went to see her parents and though we could never understand what it is like for them, we confessed, we feel like we have lost one of our own. It has knocked our feet out from under us and taken our breath away. We rethink our last decision to make her leave. We wonder if there was something else we might have done. But, we could not have saved her, her parents could not save her, her baby, as much as she treasured him could not save her. Only God could save her and He did not. And we are left wondering why. I often write words that may sound trite and smug to some of you. I speak of faith and take a stand on the side of hope and grace and mercy. This week has been one of seeking and crying and some shaking of my fist at God Almighty so I don’t want to sound hackneyed or clichéd. I do not know why the other died this week. I cannot begin to imagine why God allowed it. I do believe that God could have saved her, but He did not. The real question is, “How will I chose to act?” Will I turn away? Will I remember times in the past where I wanted Him to intercede and He did not, but looking back, I realized it was for my good? Theologians more eloquent than me have debated why bad things happen to good people. One whole book in the Bible, Job, is dedicated to that question. All I can say is, “I don’t know.” But, I still believe. And someday, I will know.