Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither
are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”
I was that (probably extremely annoying) child who always wanted to
understand the “why” of things. Why did I need to do an assignment
when I already understood the concept? Why was washing baseboards
part of spring cleaning? Why couldn’t I…? Well, you get the idea.
As an adult, I still want to know the “why” of things. What’s the
motive behind someone’s actions? Why would someone be purposely
unkind, even cruel? Why would a spouse walk out on a marriage or
kids begin to act out in destructive ways? Why would a precious,
faithful Christian, who loves the Lord, have one terrible thing
after another happen in their life?
I seldom have answers to those questions, and I’ve had some losses
that seemed to scream the question, “Why?” The greatest of those
losses was when my oldest son Buddy had a heart attack on December
19, 2016. After fighting in ICU for three days, he died. I don’t
ever say, “Buddy passed.” He didn’t take a test. He died. And I was
faced with the most soul-wrenching grief I’ve ever experienced in my
It’s important to say here “recovery” doesn’t mean you “get over”
something. There are some wounds that will not heal until we pass
from this life into eternity. Losing my son is one of those. Your
wounds may be equally as devastating. When we experience a hurt or a
loss that terrible, sometimes the best you and I can do is to learn
how to walk in a world that is forever changed. That too is
Choosing a path of recovery isn’t easy, but it becomes doable if we
realize from the beginning that we won’t always understand. How
could we? As I stood beside my son’s bed in ICU, my mind raced with
questions for which there seemed to be no answers.
Why now, when my precious prodigal had “come home?” Why now when he
was doing a living amends by investing in the lives of men in early
recovery? Why now when there were still so many broken relationships
that needed to be healed? Why now when he was only 49 years old? As
I begged God to take me instead and to let my son recover, I also
asked God why He took my son in the prime of his life when his
children needed him.
As the doctors and nurses tried to gently share the brutal truth
that Buddy was not going to recover, I asked if perhaps they were
wrong. I saw the answer in their eyes and also their sure knowledge
that I didn’t understand. And how could I? How could anyone
understand the death of their child? That’s not the way it’s
supposed to happen.
The realization I’ve come to is that I’m not ever going to
understand, and that’s ok. If I’m going to learn to walk in a world
that is forever changed, if I’m to have any hope at all, it’s going
to happen by accepting I will not always understand.
Isaiah 55:8 says God’s ways are not our ways,
and His thoughts are not our thoughts, and as
simplistic as that sounds, it’s the only thing that makes sense.
Am I still grieving? Of course, I am. I will grieve the loss of my
precious son for the rest of my life. And my ability to see that
loss as a part of my life rather than the whole depends on the day
and sometimes on the minute. I can, however, find some small measure
of peace in accepting that I can’t possibly understand the ways and
thoughts of God. I can only trust that He knows what He’s doing…one
day, one minute at a time.
Challenge for Today: What might happen if we, just for today,
accepted that we will not always understand the things that happen
in our lives?