I must apologize to readers for the long time between posts. Oct. 18 marked the 53rd anniversary of the day of my birth. It also marked the 12th anniversary of the day of my mother’s death. I don’t always handle that well. This began as one thing and morphed into something completely different.
A couple of weeks ago I saw that someone was publishing an in memoriam notice to mark the passing of a loved one. I tend to pay attention to those things around this time of year. The poem they included in the notice ended with the line "God broke our hearts to prove, he only takes the best." My immediate reaction was, whoa, wait a minute! Do you actually venerate a god who deliberately hurts you in order to prove himself to you? Think about that for a minute. If this was a relationship between human beings the kindest word we could use to describe that would be dysfunctional. Gotta say, I don’t know that god and don’t think I want to.
I started thinking about two particular bible verses which point me to a quite different God. They tell of a God who wants good things for us and is not in the business of hurting us so that we will see how "good" he is. Listen to Jesus in Matthew 7:9-11 - "Which of you, if your child asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he or she asks for a fish, will give them a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask." or Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
When my mother died 12 years ago, it was from a broken heart. She had a heart attack. Her heart was literally, physically broken. Broken from a to short lifetime of less than healthy behaviors and lifestyle choices. Some times those behaviors and choices were dictated by circumstances and sometimes they were made through ignorance but the end result was a heart unable to continue working properly. She also in her 63 years had more than her share of metaphorical broken heartedness, some of which I know about and much more of which I can only guess.
Did God break her heart? Of course not. Life broke her heart. Other people broke her heart. Sometimes she broke her own heart. Was God there? Absolutely. The one constant when things were difficult or unsure. The one unassailable source of comfort and strength and even healing. Is my mother with God now? Yes, she is. I know. I have seen it. Did God need to "bring her home" in order to be near her. No, God was near her always anyway. Was my heart broken 12 years ago by that phone call? Yes it was. Did God break my heart in order to prove something? Of course not. Was God there? Absolutely. Just like for my mother, God was the one constant. The one unassailable source of comfort and strength. Was God near? Yes, God was and is near always, in ways for which I can only be profoundly thankful.
So God does not need to "prove" anything to me. God's greatness is proven to me everyday when I open my eyes on God's creation. [Yes, even when it's gloomy and raining :)]. God's compassion was proven to me when I saw my mother beaming with happiness because she had seen Jesus. That's the God I worship.