During the last week of Mom's illness, it got to the point where my strong, capable, 61-year-old mother needed her husband, her sister, and at least two of her children just to help move her from the hospital bed that had been placed in her room. Her body was so far beyond her control that she couldn't stand up, sit in bed, roll onto her side or do any of the normal things most of us take for granted each day.
When Dad would say Mom had to get up, she would start on a moaning litany of "Oh, God ... oh, God ... oh, God!"
Not a curse, but a plea. Not taking His name in vain, but calling out desperately for help, for strength, for survival.
And in the midst of the last few days, the question came: Why?
And not just why Mom, but a list of other beloved names and wrenching situations as well. Why?
At the time, I really had not thought at all in terms of why. My mind seemed more set on "This can't be happening" or on my own daily, hourly, minute by minute prayers of "Oh, God, oh, God, oh, God. We trust You, we love You, please help us."
I went back home for a couple hours that day, to shower & change & see my own children. And then I got back in the van to make the familiar 35-minute trip west once again. Driving to Mom & Dad's home or driving to a radiation appointment or to the hospital emergency room or to the university medical center, I would so often listen to Chris Tomlin sing "How Great is Our God" or Mark Shultz belt out "I Am" or Steven Curtis Chapman declare "Believe Me Now." This Friday afternoon, as I heard those words of encouragement and truth, I prayed as I always did, I cried as I always did, and I thought about the question of Why this was happening. Why did Mom have a brain tumor, why was she slowly dying minute by minute in her own bedroom, how could this be happening to her, to us? And I heard a reply, very strong, very clear.
Because you're in danger of loving the gifts of creation more than you love the Creator of them. Your eyes are out of focus. You look at the shadow instead of the substance. You want to cling to the goodness I've blessed you with in a fallen and broken world rather than moving forward to the perfection I'm creating and sustaining for you in My world. You're trying to hold onto life rather than grasping the Life.
I got to the house, pulled into the crowded driveway, and parked up on the knoll overlooking the house. I sat right on the rim, looking past the home full of family and watching the sun set that evening. I prayed and thanked God for oh-so-needed care and comfort and His everlasting arms.
There's nothing God has given us here that doesn't find a perfection in His Heaven. There's nothing our hearts rejoice at here that we won't know and thank Him for there. There's nothing we will lose here, that we won't come home to there. His ways are perfect and trustworthy and faithful. And we believe.