A friend of mine recently told me something beautiful that I simply must share. First, I'll set some context, which is to say I'll grumble a bit.
You see there are some things that are dreadfully confusing to me. Like when a teenage boy gets in a horrible car wreck. Like when a widow, whose loss is way too fresh, faces insurmountable debt and uncaring bureaucrats. Like when a tornado wipes out a town, hitting a hospital for crying out loud. Like a father with Alzheimer's who can't recognize his own daughters. Like when a young woman is needing so bad for a freaking win, but the hits just keep on coming.
Now the last one, well I didn't want to add that one. It just didn't fit with the other three you see. That I keep praying for people to not die and then they do or for something to not happen and then it does hardly seems to compare to death and fear of dying.
I compare, I suppose, to try and make sense of it. There's always someone worse off. It helps. Ok, not really.
My little bad day started when my car died. It wasn't just any car. It was a car I felt I got from God. That sounds weird, I know, but hear me out. I had this sense when praying one night that I should pray for big things, like a car. It seemed silly, perhaps even selfish, so I didn't. Out loud at least. My soul likely whispered it still, hoping.
Then out of the blue a family member called us up saying: we'd like to give you so and so's old car. It needed a minor part fixed so we saved up the money and got it fixed. On the drive home it just stopped. On the highway.
My little heart sank. I wanted to pout. To shout. I had actually been thanking God for the car right when it died. No idea what that means but perhaps it could have been worse? Maybe he sent angels to help me, for cars zipped around me at sixty miles an hour but miraculously I wasn't hit. Maybe I would have died in that car?
It hurt deeply still, and there was this sense that something had changed. Can faith leak out like water in a hand? Did a little of it spill when I prayed and prayed for my friend who suddenly had a stroke but he still died anyway? Did more spill out when a teenage boy with blonde hair that dances like waves on his forehead fall asleep and get in a horrific car wreck? Is more of it spilling out right now as I scroll facebook, looking for friends' posts from Joplin, hoping, selfishly, that I won't know one of the 89 dead?
There is a hand, but not my tiny, fragile one. I don't think it's entirely up to me to believe, thank God. "Lord, I believe, help my unbelief." And. He does.
He gives me friends whom I can call and pray with. One tells me: "God, we know you are good. All. The. Time." I drink it in like golden, soul-filling water. In the midst of tornadoes. In the midst of car trouble. In the midst of a car wrecks. He is good.
Another, the widow, whom I cling to and start to fret over sets me straight, staring me dead in the eyes and telling me an eternal truth: "I worry about the rest of you, for I am right in God's hand! God loves widows."
Right in God's hand. Crazy, abundant love, in his hand. Which is what my friend had said after I whined about my car. She was struggling with work stuff and provision for daily life and trying to learn to trust him to provide. "I want to see beyond the horizon but God's hand is all I see." Did you hear that?
The dark places. The hard places. Are cracks in his hand. It does feel different. For when we need he squeezes us tight. Holds us in. Safe. It may not feel safe, what with tornadoes and what not, but God is certainly bigger than tornadoes. Bigger than car wrecks and young people getting hurt when they should be playing computer games and annoying their parents. Bigger than widows struggling and grieving. Bigger than little old me and my daily battle of "nasty me" or "worshipper." Bigger than divorce. Bigger than shot transmissions. Bigger than death.
This hurtful life really is just the beginning. And he lets me see as far as I need to. God is good, all the time. He carries us.