I recently attended a funeral of a teacher who I scarcely knew. I had spoken to her in passing. She was tall; I am tall. We compared notes on where we bought our pants. That was really the extent of our interaction. But I watched her. I watched her smile. I watched her interact with her students. And I admired her.
She was taken from this earth suddenly, and I felt compelled to go to her "celebration of life". Fitting, because she was so celebrated. As I sat there amidst her family and friends, I watched photo after photo appear on a big screen - her with her husband, her children, her students, her friends. I listened to them honor her with stories of her life and how dedicated she was to everyone she touched, especially her God. In fact, there was one resounding remark that seemed to come up again and again when they talked about her. It was something she said time and time again, in good times and bad.
"It's a God thing."
So simple. Yet so complex. "It's a God thing." What did it mean? Was it her way of somehow explaining the fantastical things, the horrific things, the unexplainable things that happen in our lives? And if it truly is a "God thing", WHY? and HOW?
I think of those she left behind. I think of those who wake up and feel the void she left each and every day. I think of those struggling with major, life-threatening health issues. Beautiful, God-fearing, lovely people who never even saw it coming.
"It's a God thing."
I haven't yet experienced such sorrow - the death of a loved one, a major health crisis. What I'm going through now is probably the hardest thing I've ever gone through in my entire life. And I think now I understand. Because I don't understand. I don't understand why I'm here. I don't understand why God led me down this road, and why I am where I am. I cry out to Him and ask him why. I cry out to Him and beg Him to lead me, to give me a sign, to show me His plan. And I wait for His answer to be revealed to me. It may never be revealed to me entirely.
The emptiness I feel in my heart right now is a physical ache that I wish I could just take a pill and make it all go away. I want to somehow reverse the past and change who I am and what series of events have led me to this place. I want answers. Validation. Something. All I can come up with is, "It's a God thing."
We all need to have some kind of faith. We all need to have something to desperately hold on to when it seems that all is lost - that we've lost control. That we've lost the ability to go on. That we're drowning in a sea of uncertainty and standing in the middle of a cave with dozens of different tunnels, none of which we have the confidence to walk through, for fear that it's the wrong one and we won't be able to find our way back.
It IS a God thing. And we have to trust Him. We have to know that we weren't just put here by some random evolutionary explosion. We all have a reason to be here. We all have a path. For some - the lucky ones - it's defined and set. For others - like me - it's uncertain. Is it solid ground or quicksand? And if it is quicksand, will I be able to reach that branch to suck me out before I submit to its weight?
For those people, like me, we cling to God and trust in Him that he knows the way. We follow, sometimes blindly, hoping that in those dozens of tunnels, there is one that has a dim yet visible light that will give us a hint of where to go.
"It's a God thing." Hold onto that. I know I do.