Continued from previous post: Echoes.
I returned from my mental journey and Joe was still rambling about the woes of the world.
“So,” his hands buried in the pockets of his shorts. He looked at the sky and then his sandaled feet. He kicked at a pebble and sighed. “Why’d God let that happen to those kids? They didn’t do anything. Think of those who have to live with the horror.” He shook his head and wiped his eyes. He didn’t have to explain that he was talking about the shooting at Sandy Hook; that was part of it, anyway. But I knew there was more to it.
I know Joe’s story. Why this hits close—too close. About this time last year he lost a child. At about five or six years old his granddaughter, Lisa, died. Leukemia, slow, hard and cruel drained her of life. The casualties extended to Lisa’s mom and dad—they divorced. Joe’s son, Joseph, can’t go to sleep sober. His daughter-in-law, Jennifer—well ex-daughter-in-law, but he doesn’t consider her an ex anything, she’s still his daughter; divorce or no—bounces from one relationship to another.
They’ve lost their joy. And God? Well, God is someone to either be mad at or ignore, but trust—no way. And things like this just add one more brick to the wall they’ve built between their hearts and God’s.
I get it. I understand how someone could feel angry at God. How can a God who could so easily stop the hurt and pain and tragedy, allow it to continue? I think of my son, who is on his way to visit us. He’s driving over 1,500 miles with his daughter, Kylie. He’s never heard the pitter patter of her feet on the floor. She’s never taken a step, and she’s five years old. He can’t listen to her chatter about her favorite color; or how kitties are cute or about what she wants for Christmas. She doesn’t talk. At three months old they entered a battle with epilepsy—and the war still rages. Since that time he’s watched her health disintegrate, along with his marriage. Now, everything that’s done for Kylie has to be done by someone—mostly him.
We take for granted the first steps of our kids, the silly way they say certain words, the first bike ride without training wheels and the toothless giggles. He doesn’t. He marks the days she makes it through without a painful seizure. He’s overjoyed when she focuses and follows him with her eyes. He’s happy when she sleeps peacefully. A full nights’ rest is foreign. Going without sleep to care for an infant is endured for awhile, but eventually the baby begins sleeping through the night. Kylie’s sleepless nights continue. Travis has endured years of sleepless nights. I’ve never heard one complaint.
If he were angry—Id get it. But he’s not. He said, “I think God gave me Kylie to show me His miracles.” He sees miracles where we see failure. He sees hope where we see hopelessness.
Love won’t let him say: “That’s it! She’s suffered enough, it’s no use. I give up.” He sees the glimmer of hope no one else can see. He holds out a patient loving hand that comforts through the seizures. He wipes away drool and melts when he finds a crooked smile.
I think Travis looks at Kylie with God’s eyes and God looks at us the way Travis sees his child. God sees miracles where we see failure. He sees hope where we see hopelessness. And perhaps that is why He holds on, hoping for the joy we will find when we focus and follow Him. And just maybe, the next time life seizes us by the throat, we can find enough faith to say, “I think God gave me this to show me His miracles.”
Joe still stood there in front of me, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. I thought of a thousand different ways to answer him. He wiped his forearm across a shiny brow. I wanted to say something wise and kind—and quick—suddenly I was in a hurry, but I didn’t know why. I took a breath and offered a silent prayer, and then the only thing I could say was, “Joe, let’s sit in the shade, are you hungry? Can I get you something to drink?”
Continued…Joe asks “Why’d God create evil.”