I am watching a friend die, although die is altogether too nice of a word for it. I am watching my friend being eaten alive by cancer. I have seen other people die this way and their deaths were just as ugly. But this one seems to be bothering me more than the others.
I sat behind my friend at church Sunday, and I was really feeling sad. The vibrant, energetic person I knew was sitting there slumped over in their wheelchair looking more dead than alive. So I found myself talking to God about it. “Why are you doing this,” I asked, “it’s not fair, it’s not right, it’s even mean spirited. This person served you their whole adult life. She raised Godly children, she served in this church and at other churches, and every aspect of her life reflected You and Your love for people. So why are you allowing her to be tortured like this? It’s just not right! Is this how you reward your servants?”
And then I saw it. While I was railing at God the rest of the people in church were worshiping. I looked at my friend and noticed that she was singing, and that she had a hand raised in worship. I noticed a peace in her eyes. As the worship service continued I noticed that she was a little lower in her chair and I thought she had done too much and was worn out then I looked closer and noticed that her feet were moving in time with the music, she was dancing, right there in her chair! Apparently she didn’t share my feelings about the way she was being treated.
The Bible is full of stories like this one. Stories of God allowing bad things to happen to good people, while their friends and family can do nothing except watch and wonder why are these things happening. I really don’t have an answer for the why part of it. All I know is this: God allows these things to happen. God is good all the time. God is not the author of bad things. He answered some of my questions Sunday morning. He told me that yes, it’s not fair. He told me that it hurt Him to see his daughter suffer. And then he told me that my friend has her eyes firmly fixed on what awaits her, while I was just looking at what she was passing through. He reminded me of a bunch of different scriptures, and the one that really sticks out in my mind is this one, that for the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross (Heb 12:2). I still don’t understand why my friend is being so afflicted, and I wish I could say I felt better about the whole thing, but I don’t. I guess I’ll have to use the rest of the Scripture from Job that I opened with. “Though He slays me, yet I will hope in Him. And I will defend my ways to His face.” (Job 13:15) I know that God will not abide a hypocrite, and I’ll not try to end on some sunny, happy note. I still don’t get it.
Till next time,