I am at a place, and have been for quite a while, of having more questions than answers. I am a pretty simple-minded person, and can usually reduce most of life’s questions to “do your best” and “trust in God”. But I am struggling with so many questions without answers lately.
Many of them are questions we all have as human beings – Why are we here? What is my purpose? Why did God make me and put me where He put me? What does He mean for me to do with my life?
These are normal questions many of us ask ourselves as we journey through life. They are much more intensely queried of though, after the tragic , unexpected loss of a young person……….or, maybe anyone. I don’t know. I know I have been near to this place a few times in my adult lifetime – after the sudden loss of an 18-year-old friend of my oldest daughter the night before high school graduation; after the loss of a pastor’s wife to cancer several years ago; after the loss of my niece’s 4-month old baby to SIDS; after a 15-year-old friend of my youngest daughter was killed in a 4-wheeler accident when my daughter was not quite 14. All of these tragedies made me take a step back and not only ponder, but question, the meaning of life. These losses were all horrible tragedies, especially for the precious ones closest to the ones lost. For me, they were all heart-breaking, especially the ones that caused my children grief, but none of these tragedies touched me so deeply that I didn’t feel like I could, or wanted to, continue living. I still had what was most precious to me – my husband and all five of my children living and bringing great joy and satisfaction to my life. As hard as these losses were for the ones closest to them, and as tragic as they were and are, they didn’t touch my life like losing my own son did.
Losing one of my own children has set me back – in life, in my faith, in my understanding of God – like nothing I’ve ever experienced. It has made me question everything I’ve ever known – about life, about my faith, and about my understanding of God. I know many people believe it is wrong to question these things. I am not one of them, and I don’t think I come by that arbitrarily. I believe the scriptures show us that it is okay to question – life, faith and our understanding of God. Job 13:3 tells us, “But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God.” And in Isaiah 1:18, the Lord says, “Come now, and let us reason together…..”. Are these not invitations to discuss our questions with God? If God is who we as Christians believe He is, I believe He welcomes any time we spend talking to Him – whether it is thanking Him, asking Him questions or even arguing with Him. Of course, He is always right! But, he welcomes us into His presence to talk with Him.
The most pressing questions I have had since our son passed away have been “why” questions – why my son? why our family? why do we die? why didn’t God protect him? why am I still alive and one of my children is not? why are dangerous criminals still alive and my son is not? why do some people seem to experience miraculous protection and walk away from accidents similar to the one my son was killed in? And on and on I can go, if I let myself.
But, for the most part, I have come to a place where I can live knowing I will never know the answers to these questions this side of heaven.
However, more questions have vehemently resurfaced, and are pressing in on my thoughts regularly. I’ve lost 2 precious friends in the past 5 months – both to cancer. The first, probably the oldest friend I had, having known her since I was in my early 20s; the second, one of my more recent, but most cherished friends, having met her in the past 6 or 7 years, and having traveled with her several times, once to another continent to minister to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, bound our hearts together in an unbreakable way.
Not only has the passing of my friends been very sad, but these losses have scraped off the scab, so to speak, of the just-beginning-to-heal wound of losing our 25-year-old son two and a half years ago. And they have stirred up frustrating questions without answers that I was just beginning to learn to live with knowing I would never know the answers. I have no answers. None. In fact, I know nothing. Absolutely nothing. That is how I feel most of the time. I feel like I am here to be my husband’s helper, and to a lesser extent, help my grown children and their children. But beyond that, I simply don’t know anything.
Why does God sometimes protect us from harm, and other times allow it to wreak havoc? Why does God sometimes heal the sick, and other times allow sickness to take a life? Why are we here? Why do we live for 70 or so years, our bodies decaying to the point of non-recognition, then pass on? Why does the “cycle of life” repeat itself over and over, with no apparent real impact? We live, we die, we are forgotten. Others live, die and are forgotten. It seems pointless, even though I know it is not.
But now I’ve digressed into my depressed (and depressing) thoughts!
So, I will end with a painful, but honest, statement – I am weary – I am so weary………….of life, of death, of the constant struggles with grief and life and death, with the questions of life that seemingly have no answers, with everything. Well……not everything. My 3 little rambunctious granddaughters are telling stories with their grandpa, my wonderful husband, in the other room, as I sit in my office typing away, whining out my frustrations! This, I am not frustrated with; this brings me great joy, even if I can’t hear myself think over the racket!
“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:7-14
“I will praise the name of the Lord, Oh, praise the greatness of our God! He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” Deuteronomy 32:3-4
In all my ways I will trust in and acknowledge Him, for He is faithful, even when I am not faithful.