“Why didn’t you save my Jennifer?”
“What is the point of her death?”
In my journals of grief I continued to ask God these questions. Job asked these questions; so did David. And then I would find an entry in My Utmost for His Highest that seemed to be speaking to me.
July 16 (Oswald Chambers)
At times God will appear like an unkind friend,
but He is not;
He will appear like an unnatural father,
but He is not;
He will appear like an unjust judge,
but He is not.
Matthew 7:11 . . . how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
My journal, January, 2003
I feel a darkness in our lives, and it has been here since April 13. Sometimes I have so little motivation and seem to be just going through the motions. I am content to stay at home especially this long weekend with snow. I didn’t go to a party for a friend from the Woodmont church because I knew I would see so many people. Larry came back with greetings from many friends
Despair and infinite sadness are waiting in the shadows to drown me with tears. I guard my heart carefully because I am drained with these feelings.
When will the pain ease? I am careful not to listen to songs with memories or look at pictures of Jennifer. her room is waiting for cleaning and sorting, but I cannot face it.
In January 2003 Larry resigned from his work at our church as a video director; he now works full time at his free-lance video work. At the same time we changed our church home and returned to Woodmont Hills, our first church home in Nashville.
The change in church homes did two things for us — we had been gone long enough that if we wished, we could be anonymous. We did not know many of the newer members, could sit near the back and leave quickly. But it was also a familiar place and through several moves and job changes had continued to feel like home. Being in church continued to be my toughest times. This is what I wrote after our first Sunday at Woodmont:
The sermon topic was very appropriate, Job’s question, “Why me, Lord?” I shed no tears, but during songs I keep my guard up. The tears are so close to the top and I don’t want to begin those huge emotions. After church I realized I was under more of a strain than I though. Feeling low and flat. I wonder if this is the beginning of a difficult day. But after a nap, I’m able to work on my dissertation proposal for school.
Seven inches of snow on the ground and temperature below 0°. How thankful I am for a warm place and plenty of food.
Winter days, cooking soups remind me of those wonderful times Jennifer and Josh came home and ate with us. She usually had stories to tell of cooking adventures – making homemade pasta. I treasure those memories.
Larry went to her room last night and said how sad it was to see her clothes in the closet. Just some jackets and a coat. Maybe in the spring we can rearrange her room and close some doors.
Chambers, January 19
The time to listen is when a darkness comes. When God gives a vision and darkness follows – WAIT. Never try to help God fulfill His word. Consider Abram. God promised him a son, and then was silent for 13 years. Abram no longer could rely on himself; his self-sufficiency was destroyed. Those years were a time of discipline – not God’s displeasure.
I continued to look for a deeper understanding of this grief, and a few years later I found The Ransomed Heart. It became one of my favorite books to use for a daily study. Eldredge says we need to rethink our image of God. If we do, our questions change. Since He is the Creator and can do all things, when God seems to be absent in a crisis, we feel betrayed.
Rather than viewing God as the Author of this Story we are living, think of Him as the central character in the larger story. He is not the Mastermind like Oz or the Grand Chess Player (p. 31, originally written in The Sacred Romance, 71-72).
God is IN our story as the hero. He comes to save us. But, as in all good stories, the hero shows up AT THE LAST MINUTE!
God created us to share His joy in His love for us — in a relationship.
“You will find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13.
To hear His voice, I need to listen with ALL my heart.
To love Him, I need to love with ALL my heart.
Without my heart, I cannot have life. (Eldredge, Waking the Dead)
Perhaps these words from C.S. Lewis makes the most sense,
Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal.
This risk we take to love is to risk a relationship with God. My dilemma could be narrowed down to this: how can we reconcile God’s sovereignty and man’s free will? I can’t say that I found any solid answers by reading Eldredge or Chambers or Lewis, but it helped to know that these questions have puzzled man since the Garden of Eden.
Counting joy everyday for the every day gifts found in these gifts:
- gift on paper — beautiful journals at Michael’s for $1.00
- gift in person — smiles, stories, prayer
- gift in picture — God’s beautiful world in every season