All in all, my dad’s death was a huge blow to me. It didn’t help that I lived in Jamaica. Well, in some ways it did help. We returned after the funeral and my extended stay in the US (10 days), to JA in time for Christmas.
It almost seemed like all that had happened shortly after Thanksgiving of that year had been one horrible dream. But back at our home in JA, life was getting back to normal.
Gradually, however the grief began to take its toll. It turned out that the death of our stillborn daughter three years earlier and the death of my dad were BOTH needing to be dealt with.
I read a lot about death, and dying… yes, I know that doesn’t help everyone, but I had to find a framework for dealing with the reality of what happened. I was reminded often of our hope in Christ for the future as well as the present. But I must say, the present was awfully painful!
My initial way of dealing with my hope for the future was to think of the fact that I would some day see my dad in heaven. Somehow, that wasn’t very comforting when I longed to hug him one last time. To say one last meaningful “good-bye” and tell him how much I did love and appreciate him, despite his faults. . .and mine!
LEARNING TO DEAL WITH GOD AND HIS SOVEREIGN PURPOSES
One of Elisabeth Eliot’s books on death was very helpful to me. However, I can’t track it down now and don’t remember the title. I just remember how her words hit me like a hammer…eventually I realized if anyone knew what they were talking about in this arena, she did.
Her emphasis in dealing with the death of a loved one related more to God’s sovereignty than merely to seeing them later in heaven. It had way more to do with my acceptance (with grace) of the circumstances God has planned for my life and an awareness and submission to His authority in my life. He is the King of all, but His purposes are way bigger than me and MY small universe.
It may not seem like a very important distinction, but it really was huge for me. This perfectly loving, just, righteous GOD had the power to do anything He wanted. He sovereignly took my dad to be with Him, without the good-byes that I craved, without the final words to tell me he loved me.
Why would a God like that do such a thing? If I knew the answer to that question, I would probably have to be GOD too!
I don’t have the precise answer but I do know that within the parameters of his character, knowing all that He does know, this was the best way for it to happen for His glory.
Of course I did NOT like it, but I know that God was not blinking or taking a nap when it happened. It did not catch Him by surprise. I am comforted by the fact that He is in control even when events in my life are not in my control! I no longer had to do the mental gymnastics, sorting through all the “what-if’s” of his situation. (What if my mom had returned when he knew he was in trouble? What if his secretary had realized and called 911? What if the clot had been in a slightly different place than the “widow-maker” location?) I no longer had to struggle with these questions. I could just let GOD be GOD! Writing it out here makes it sound much easier than it was in real life!
That’s right! HE IS GOD! I know that isn’t new, but sometimes we don’t like accepting GOD as He is. His perspective is much larger and grander than ours.
Someday, I’ll understand His full purposes in that event…and a few others too. For one thing I am thankful–I had a good father, not perfect, but a good man whose desire was to serve God. What a wonderful gift!
Are you struggling with a life circumstance that is causing you to agonize over the why’s of it?
Are you at the point where you just need to stop agonizing over it/trying to control/manage it and trust GOD that He knew what He was doing by allowing it to be part of your life story?
That’s part of what it means to bow to His sovereignty. He is the King. He is sovereign over all the events of your life. Can you trust Him with His hugeness? Can you trust that He understands way more of the big picture than you or I ever will?