My teenager turned me onto a silly game on my phone – dots. You…well…you connect the dots. There are four different colors and the goal is to connect as many of the same color as possible. If you can make a square, then all the dots of that color are wiped off the game board. Of course, as soon as you connect a few dots and wipe them out, more dots drop down in their place. It is utterly mindless and can be a bit maddening. I stink at the game, yet I continue. Mostly because my fingers need something to do so my brain can think on other things. At any rate, I found myself drawing lines on my phone at 3:00am this morning, trying to numb my brain. As I was frantically trying to clear a board that will never completely clear, the correlation between that dumb game and life hit me square between the eyes.
You see, my brain needed numbing because my heart is hurting. My friend died. Even in typing it, I still can’t quite believe it. If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that I tend to leave out names to protect the innocent and the guilty. Today, I am breaking my own rule.
Her name was Michelle Suzanne Chidester Tate. She was my friend. But, she was so much more. And, as I read more and more posts on Facebook, I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. She was larger than life. She lived her Christian faith out loud for everyone to see. Was she perfect? Ummm….no. But, she was real. And she touched so many lives, drawing them closer to the God she served. And now she’s gone. She was only 48. It makes no sense to me. And that’s where the game correlation comes in. I want to make sense of it. I want to understand. I want God Himself to come down and explain to me why He allowed this to happen. I try, with my meager brain, to connect the dots. To make sense of it all. And it just doesn’t. It doesn’t make sense at all. Just like my dumb little game, no matter how hard I try, I will never connect all the dots and clear the game board.
But….guess what! The Bible already told us that. God made it clear in His word that we couldn’t connect the dots. He didn’t put it quite that way. He said, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9, NASB. Well, that seems pretty clear. In fact, I don’t think I can say it any clearer, so I won’t try. I think what I’ll choose to take from that is this….I can’t possibly figure out what God is doing, so I should quit trying. Trying to think like God is simply tilting at windmills….useless.
However…that doesn’t make me feel better right now. Right now, I want to rant and rave and yell and scream. I want to rip my clothes and put on my sackcloth and ashes. I want to ask God why He’s left a young woman and a ten-year old boy without their mother. I want to know why a husband is left to mourn the love of his life. I want to ask Him why He’s taken a daughter, sister, friend, worship leader, minister of His gospel out of this world at such a young age. And as I think these things, I am reminded of God’s response to Job when Job asked why. God made it clear to Job what the verse in Isaiah says….His thoughts and ways are much higher than ours.
So, what will I do? I will cling to what I know. I will cling to the verses that Michelle lead me through. And I will rejoice that, finally, she gets to see Jesus face-to-face and the pain of this hard, cold world is left behind for her. And I will pray fervently and ask God to wrap His arms around every hurting heart that will miss her and give them the peace and comfort they need….especially those hearts closest to her. Why? Because I must. I must believe God’s Word in this place of pain or nothing I believe will matter. God is God no matter what. To quote a song I heard my friend sing many times, “The God on the mountain is still God in the valley, the God in the day is still God in the night.”
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28, NASB
‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’ Jeremiah 29:11
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18, NASB
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You. Thank You that I know You are good, all the time. Thank You for allowing me to be a part of Michelle’s life. Thank You for using her so mightily in my life and the life of others. Thank You for the years of love and friendship I had with her. Now, Lord, please comfort every hurting heart. Wrap Your mighty, loving arms around her husband, daughter, son, parents, brothers, sisters, friends. Give them the peace and comfort to make it through this painful time. And Lord, I ask You to meet those who doubt You exactly where they are. Make Yourself real to them like You were real to Michelle. Thank You, Lord, for all You’ve done and all You’re going to do. In Jesus’ sweet, precious name, amen.
Go rest high, Michelle. You’ve earned it. I love you my friend.