Today I'm having a hard time comprehending two of the drastically different sides of this God I serve. I am completely divided and torn in half by my God of life, and my God who rules over death.
Life and Death. Two opposing states which have made themselves well known to me in these last few months, and which are governed over by the same God who created them both at the very beginning of time.
One evokes joy in me, the other deep despair. One fills me with love, the other with pain. One prompts me to praise, the other leaves me swirling in doubt.
At church Sunday morning we sang the song, "Mighty To Save", which I'm sure is familiar to some of you. This song invariably brings me back to the days when my father was alive and we would be singing this song together, filled with hope for his future, and confident in our Lord who we knew was mighty to save him. Tears would stream down our cheeks as we stood there, recognizing the power of our risen Savior in the life of my Dad, sure that He would intervene and heal him of the cancer and pain that had wracked his body.
But God chose not to save my father from his earthly struggles. Our God is mighty to save, but He opted not to. His plan for His people involved taking my Dad from this world and bringing him Home.
And today that makes me mad.
Do I still implicitly trust that His plan is perfect? Yes.
Do I know, deep down, that He has a reason for allowing my Dad to die? I do.
But right now I am still so, so angry with Him for taking my father away from me, and my children, and the rest of my family.
I couldn't sing the words to that song Sunday morning, as the angst that lives inside of me just got too big to stifle. I couldn't utter even a note. I was mad at Him for not letting me understand, for keeping His reasons from me, for allowing me to go through this pain with no explanation as to why He chose to not save my father.
And then, in the middle of trying to hold back my tears of frustration and bitterness, I looked down, and saw the sleeping babe in my arms. Absolute perfection in newborn form. Peace in a pink blanket. His love revealed to me all wrapped up in the tiny figure of this little one.
And my anger instantly dissipated into awe, and gratefulness, and humbleness in the presence of His majesty.
My God created Life! And I was holding this life in my arms. Again, the moment was much bigger than me as I tried to wrap my head around the conflicting emotions I had just experienced in those few short seconds.
And then I was brought back to a memory I had of my father and me, just the two of us, sitting at my dining room table. It was before he had been diagnosed with cancer, and he had stopped by my house on his way home from work to check on me, as I had just received some potentially scary news at the doctor's office myself. (Which turned out to be nothing serious.) We were rehashing the finer points of the well-known and oft-discussed argument, "Why do bad things happen to good people?". And at the end of our talk he summed it up best by quoting Scripture, as he so often did. He referenced Isaiah 55:9, which states, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts".
And I guess I'm going to just have to let that sum it up for me today. I will never understand Him. I will never get why He does the things He does, or doesn't do the things I want Him to do.
But He understands me.
He understands me when one minute I am so angry Him I can't even see straight, and the next I am so overcome with love for Him my heart feels as if it will burst.
He knows what I'm going through when I shake my fists at Him, and when I raise those same hands in praise.
He doesn't judge me when I can't pray to Him because of the darkness that has taken over my heart, and when in the next instant I fall on my knees in supplication before Him, so overwhelmed by His goodness.
So today I will just accept that He is bigger than me. I will try to reconcile that I cannot know Him the way I want to, and the way (in my human mind) I feel I need to and deserve to. And I will just try to be thankful that He lets me know Him at all.
Dear Lord in heaven,
I pray this day with so many mixed emotions towards You. This comes as no surprise, as You are the first one to witness my resentment and my doubt, while also experiencing my love and my gratefulness to You. Sometimes I get so overwhelmed with all the different reactions I have to You that I choose to not react at all anymore, and I ask Your forgiveness for that as well. Let me never get so blinded by the greatness of You that I lose complete sight of You.
Today I ask that no matter how angry I am at You, no matter how badly I want to throw in the towel of our relationship, no matter how many times I curse the fact that I cannot know Your reasons why, and no matter how betrayed I sometimes feel, that in the end I always find a reason to praise You. A reason to love You. A reason to keep coming back to You.
You are a God of many things. The God of Life, the God of Death, the God of my father, and the God of me.
Keep me centered in You, oh God. You are bigger than my anger. You understand my bitterness. You can handle my fears. You welcome my doubt. All of these things just give You the opportunity to show how great You truly are... by taking them in, and releasing me from them.
I love You because...
I love You still...
I will love You always.
In Your Name I pray,