I was going to take the next couple of weeks off from my blog to both enjoy Christmas and to reflect on the year, but after an extremely hard week at work and the loss this week of two women close to my family, I felt the need to share a word.
I’m sure that many people, like me, have asked “Why, Lord?” over the events of the year 2020. Without making a list, that would take up too much space in a blog post, this year has been filled with more of its share of things we just don’t understand. This week seemed to top it off for me with added loss.
One had lived a long life of love for family and service to the Lord. Even so, COVID restrictions kept those who were grieving from being able to come around her family and come together as a larger church family. As I sat in my car, in line for the “drive-through” visitation, I had to ask, “Why, Lord?” It seemed so inadequate an ending for a life well-lived.
As soon as I left that visitation, I drove across town to another funeral. This one was in person, but still carried evidence of the new restrictions we’re applying to all areas of life and loss. This life was not so different from the first, but had been cut much shorter, and the sudden loss left family, church, and friends all in a state of shock. “Why, Lord?”
That’s when, after singing the chorus containing the words, “Alleluia, the Lord God Almighty reigns,” the pastor came up and shared a verse that helped to settle my heart:
Like the family, this dear sister’s own church were asking the same questions, and in an honest confession, their shepherd turned to the right place for answers–God’s Word. He reminded us, as he was speaking of his own questions, that there are just some things we won’t know the answers to in this life. These are the secret things of God. He knows the “why,” but it’s not ours to know, so let’s leave it with him.
However, there are things we do know–things he allows to be revealed to us, and these are the things that we can own. These are the things which belong to us and to our children forever. We can cling to them and find comfort in them.
For this dear one, we knew her faith was strong. She loved the Lord and had served him faithfully for much of her life. She also loved children and cared for their spiritual wellbeing, which led her to be a faithful servant in her church and actually in multiple churches over the years. She loved her family, her mother, brother, niece and nephews. The knowledge of her commitment to Christ reveals to us that we will see her again one day.
All these revealed things belong to us who loved her.
As I thought about this strange year, there is so much I do not understand. There are things God keeps close to the chest, because he has the right to do so–he’s in charge, after all. I also trust that he keeps them secret because he knows what’s best for me. Some things are better kept hidden.
Yet, he’s also revealed much to me this year. I’ve been made aware, when dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, of my own short fallings and lack of faith. I’ve also learned to appreciate the everyday miracles of nature, kind words, acts of kindness from others. I’m touched more by the commonplace than the flashy and bright. He’s revealed the beauty of courtship and marriage in the midst of a crisis, as I watched my youngest son find the woman of his dreams, despite world events. He’s shown me how much good has been done in my workplace, even with the challenges and drop in numbers.
So, today, as I look to the end of an obviously rough week and year, I’m at peace with God keeping some things secret. I think it would be too much for me to handle, to be honest. I will rest and find comfort in that which he allows me to see, grasp, and understand.
Hurting over loss and struggle this year, this week, this day? Release to God your need to know why and find joy and peace in what he chooses to reveal. It’s all yours for the taking–for today and forever.
May you rest in the knowledge that the Lord God Almighty who reigns, cares enough to keep some things from you, so you can find joy in that which he reveals. Look for those things today.
Grace and Peace