I drove to school this morning listening to a Rachmaninoff piano concerto while taking in a breathtaking orange-red sunrise over the Eastern Cape veld.
As always, the 35 minute drive allowed my thoughts to wander.
I was thinking about gifts. Blessings. Questions with no answers. Faith. What we believe to be true about God. The “WHY’S” we so often ask.
A friend is going through something similar to what I went through in my mid 30’s, wanting to settle down with the “right” guy, wanting to start a family, maybe feeling a bit desperate because the “right guy” is nowhere to be found! And sadly, the potential “right” guys are running a mile because no man wants to be at the center of the frustration of a 30-ish female with her biological clock ticking louder than the Big Ben every hour on the hour.
…and the WHY’S just keep coming…
( What follows is not another “Okay, here she goes on a religious mission”…I’m not about to hit you over the head with a virtual Bible. Stay with me to the end please)
Why Is God ( or the universe )allowing this loneliness? Why is God not answering my prayers? Why did God allow me to move to this place when He knew the unhappiness I would experience here? Why is God silent?
Why does God allow loneliness, death, loss, heartbreak, violence, war, the impact of the Corona virus for that matter?
We don’t know.
I often asked my mom “What will I do when you die?” Because the two of us were attached at the hip . She was my shopping, eating out , wine drinking partner and the two of us got up to all kinds of irresponsibility. She would say “Lets see what the waiter does if I order a bottle of wine with breakfast? ” And we would giggle at the waiter’s flushed face all through the entire meal.
Or … “I feel lucky. Lets go gambling!” ( on a Tuesday afternoon in the middle of a hectic teaching week)
“Some day is today. I’m going to buy that Michel Herbelin watch right now !”
And off she went, buying the super expensive watch she’d been eyeing for months.
She was living on borrowed time. And I think she sensed it. During the last year of her life, she lived life to the fullest, doing whatever she felt like, not worrying about the opinions of others. She had fun, she was happy.
When I asked her what I would do without her she always said : ” You will receive grace.”
And I did.
Of course, I was heartbroken. But my life continued. I was comforted.
To me, the answer to our “WHY?” lies in the fact that God did not promise us an easy life on earth. Just because we are “Christian” or we try to be good-ish people we are not given a guarantee that pain will not be part of our lives. We are here to learn. Our lessons are painful.
Now read the words below. For me, they are true. We hear that WE WILL NOT BE ALONE IN THE STORM. The storm will come, make no mistake. BUT WE WILL RECEIVE COMFORT.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” – Isaiah 43 : 2
We need to trust our path. Because if there is one thing I know for sure from my own life it is this :
God’s ways are not our ways.
God takes our wrong turns and turns them into rights.
God gives us pain so that we can understand the pain of others.
We are , in the end, meant to serve.
( ps. I understand that many reading this post will say “I don’t believe in a God”. I also know from experience that during my worst depressed times I was so completely irritated with so-called “Christians” throwing bible verse at me, saying my faith just wasn’t strong enough. If this is you, I get it. But I have come to know that there IS a path for each of us. Sometimes the reasons for our suffering come many, many years later when we can look back and say : “Ahh. God, now I get why.”)