The wondering

I grew up on a farm in upstate New York. We lived on a big hill–a little girl’s version of the top of the world. There were cows and chickens and windy meadows, an old rope swing that could lift your soul, and a daddy who laughed.

My mom loved to watch the sun as it dropped low behind the hill each evening. The sky with its vibrant colors at end of day brought quiet joy to her busy days, and she rested in the God who painted it. She smiled at the future through strength and weakness, sickness and sorrow, and blessings scattered all around.

She is smiling still, though frail and worn. She has seen a lot of sunsets. She has said good-bye to many joys and wished a few times for journey’s end. But she’s had ninety-five years of trusting the One who paints His landscapes and spins the world and shepherds His people.

Ninety-five years of changing skies.

She broke her arm recently, and I am here with her. There are so many similarities to Marissa–oxygen tank and wheelchair, weakness and pain. And there is also the beauty of a life well-lived and the expectation of a future home where all is well.

An enduring spirit and faith in a God who safely keeps.

I suppose it is natural to wonder why Marissa was given only 26 years while my mother has been given almost 96. It is natural to wonder about so many things, and I don’t think God is disappointed or surprised when we wonder.

He put in us the wondering.

It is the wondering that invites us to seek Him. It is the wondering that draws us to the ancient God-words of truth.

So let us wonder about the things we do not know while we rest in those we do. Let us wonder in the breath-taking moments, and let us wonder in the hard.

Let us wonder in the changing color of our skies.

But in our wondering, let us seek truth.  Let us rest in God who has always been and will always be. Though the earth shakes, He does not move. Through every darkened sky, He changes not. In the midst of every despair, He loves fiercely and loyally. He keeps us and He carries us. He knows all things and faithfully fulfills His promises. He causes all things to work for good.

In our wondering, let Him speak.

In our wondering, let us find Him.

Let Him open our eyes to the beauty found in changing skies.

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. Lamentations 3:25

Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6
















He wept, too.

Grief comes in gently most days.

The mornings sing with newness. Blooms and air and birds all fresh with wonder. And the wonder is still there inside of me.

I read God’s words–alive and working in me. I’m always surprised by the treasures found in passages read many times before. There is this settling of the soul that happens–a grounding. There is a peace in aligning my thoughts with God’s.

But there are other days when grief is not as gentle. Days when I am agitated and restless. Days when I am sad. This merry-go-round of grieving–some days up and some days down and never the same as the person right next to you.

It keeps you dizzy enough to lose your balance.

I was reading in John 11 where Jesus wept after the death of Lazarus. Why was He weeping? He knew that He would soon raise him from the dead. He knew that Lazarus was safe for eternity. He knew all the days, all the details. He was not surprised.

Yet still He wept.

I’m certain He wept in compassion for Mary and Martha. And in sorrow for sin and its awful consequence. Maybe for the magnitude of death–its unnatural pain and unspeakable grief and the misery of this unintended process.

Perhaps He was weeping over the path He was on to conquer it.

He sorrowed even though He knew Lazarus was ultimately safe. Even though He knew the power of resurrection. Even though He knew God’s will was being done.

He wept.

And I weep some days. Over the enormity of this loss, over the empty place next to me and inside of me. Over the unnatural call of death and the weariness of dealing with it every day. Over the painful hurt that does not go away.

And even though I know she is safe, and I know the end of the story, and I know this is God’s will, I weep.

I weep because she is gone.

And my Savior knows. He understands each heartache and every longing. He is acquainted with this merry-go-round of grief.

Even here, He finds me.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:15