We were awakened at two in the morning last night by a phone call from our daughter in Hawaii. By the time we were coherent enough to know what was going on, we had each gotten two calls from her. We called her back only to find her reeling from being with her boyfriend, whom she did not recognize as anything like the person she has known and loved for the last three years. Then she shocked us by telling us about this person whom we thought we knew, who had suddenly flipped and became someone else — saying and doing things any of us would have never thought possible. It made the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde seem like a children’s Wonder book.
Anne was shaken to the core and we had to just let her talk. Among the things she was wrestling with was her relationship with the Lord, which for her at this point was in question. Why would God let this happen to her? “Why do things like this happen to me; I’m not a bad person?”
Indeed, she is not. As an ER trauma doctor, she is known in her hospital for the genuine, loving, personal attention she gives people over and above what is required. Just yesterday, she told us she sewed up an 80-year-old man’s leg the “long way” versus the short cuts that would have normally been used on someone his age in emergency. “If he were my father, I would never take a short cut.” And she did this lengthier process on her own time without pay. That’s my Anne.
So as Anne is assessing her situation, she can’t help but think that God is not being fair. Here she is with a broken heart. She’s grieving over this person, thinking she’s doing the best that she can, and God let’s this happen? How come? What has she done to deserve this?
That’s sometimes the problem with living in a cause and effect world. We expect an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Newton’s Third Law of Motion — for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction — applies to more than just physical bodies. It is a law of the universe, but God commonly and often interrupts that law because He is God and He can. We do not live in a closed system. Good children can have bad parents. Read the Psalms. Read Job. Sometimes the wicked do well, and sometimes the righteous have calamity visited upon them, and try to come up with a reason for this, and you will not always find one. God does not always follow His own rules. That’s the tough part. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8).
So we stay up into the night trying to make sense of what just happened and we cannot. We try to say something that will make it all better and we cannot. We look for reasons and causes and they elude us. All the neat Christian buzz words we’ve been saving up for moments like this fall by the wayside. We find we can only feel, and hurt, and question, and suddenly we understand the admonition of Paul to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).
We are taking this young man to our Prayer Warriors and you might want to join them. He is in a place where he could harm himself.