Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Faith? Simple, But Not Easy.

My nephew died today. He was only 24 years old. In the time it took his car to collide head-on with another, he was gone. About now I imagine him giving his big sister a gigantic hug. She was just 15 when God took her home. Staying here without them is hard. The tears flow easily just thinking about how our family dynamics has changed forever on this earth. We will miss them so. But, of course, my dad is there with them – in fact, they have both their grandpas there with them – and Jesus! Most importantly, Jesus! I don’t think they miss being here. The relationships they had here will surely pale in comparison to God’s glory.

So I’m not sad for them. If anything, I should be jealous – longing to be where they are, seeing our Heavenly Father face to face, no longer feeling pain or sorrow, but instead – pure, raw joy. What an amazing time they must be having! I am sad for me, though, and I’m sad for my brother and his wife and their two younger children. I’m sad for my mom, and for all the family who must somehow manage to carry on without those whose lives so touched our hearts that it seems the hole left there will never be filled.

And yet, through the events that take place every day, I am constantly reminded that my life is not really about me. None of us can claim that our lives are about us, because we did not create ourselves. God created us for His pleasure. Our lives are His. He created us to bring Him glory. Some of us are called to glorify Him by living; others by dying. Who are we to question what He chooses to do with His creation? He does not expect us to understand His choices, but He does want us to trust them. Simple trust – that’s all He requires. Trust that as God of the universe, He knows what He is doing even when we don’t. Trust that as our Creator, our Lord, our Savior, He loves us. He has not promised life on this earth to be easy, or happy, or without pain, but He has promised He will always be with us. Sometimes it takes losing the things that are dear to us to realize that when it comes right down to it, He is all we need. If all else were lost, He would still be here.

My nephew learned today the truth of Philippians 1:21, To live is Christ; to die is gain. Do I understand God's ways? No. I don't think I ever will. My head tells me that He could have used His power to change the outcome of a car crash. My heart tells me that if He would not change circumstances to save His own son from suffering in order that the world might be saved, why should I expect Him to change circumstances for me when I have no ability to see what good will come from the choice He has made? My understanding of God and the choices He makes is limited by the boundaries of my experience as a human. So all I can do is surrender my understanding to my faith in who He is. He is my God. He loves me -- I know that because I feel it even in the midst of my pain. Was it His choice for my nephew to die today? I don't know. But I do know that it could not have happened if He had not allowed it. Because He has allowed it, I must trust that He had a reason. Something I can't see or understand -- at least not now; maybe never. How can I trust God when I don't understand His ways? Through faith – faith that He is who He says He is and that He does what He says He will do. It’s simple, really. What it isn’t, is easy.