Every so often I have an absolutely horrible, no-good, all the world is crummy, kind-of-day. The kind that forces me out of bed but leaves me stranded in the middle of my bedroom floor not knowing what to do next. Or I find myself talking with someone on the phone and simply want to scream, “YOU ARE SUCH AN IDIOT!” because the person has just offered another platitude (trite or banal remark or statement, especially one expressed as if it were original or significant) towards my grief. That happened to me again today.
(If you think you might be offended by my honesty in sharing these thoughts, please move on now. I do not want to offend, hurt, or insult anyone who cares enough about us that you have taken the time to read our messages or lift up prayers for us. I simply want to share the truth of our grief so that someone, maybe even you, will be comforted.)
Simply put, God did not, nor does he, need more angels in heaven! You see, God is bigger than that. The God I know, the Creator of all things in heaven and on earth and below the earth, does not “need” to allow Matthew, my son, to get cancer, to endure all types of medical treatments with vain effects, to then die.
The God I know, the Creator of all things in heaven and on earth and below the earth, does not “need” to have his brother and sister and father and mother watch his body turn yellow from the jaundice of his liver and struggle for every breath, and then die.
The God I know, the Creator of all things in heaven and on earth and below the earth, does not “need” to have two loving parents struggle to keep their marriage together when the world has fallen apart in front of them and they don’t know which way to turn, or a brother and sister struggle with a lifetime of guilt and doubt and remorse and pain.
The God I know, the Creator of all things in heaven and on earth and below the earth, does not “need” to have people grieving the death of the ones they love.
So, don’t tell me God needed an angel and that is why my son is dead because my God is bigger than that.
My God is big enough to take the memory of the suffering of someone who was, and still is, deeply loved, and turn that memory into compassion and action for someone else’s suffering. My God is big enough to take a marriage that was sometimes half-hearted and turn it into an example of true selflessness and complete commitment and loving devotion. My God is big enough to shape a young person’s doubts and questions for the meaning of life into purpose and strength for life’s journey.
You see, God has already taken the broken pieces and the broken people of this world and promised us restoration. So, where to go from here? It is the question I am asking myself today just as I have done many days since Matthews death. Nothing much has changed … except, today the water isn’t as muddy as it has been.
“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me;
he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners;
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;to provide for those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.” – Isaiah 61: 1-3