Have you ever had one of those days that feels like it is pressing so hard on your heart that you try to breathe deep just to take the pressure off? A few weeks ago a young woman from our church, a girl who attended my 20x class, was struck and killed while out walking one night. This girl was unique for all kinds of reasons, the very least of which had to do with some health struggles that put her into the dangerous situation that became the tragic end to her life.
Sitting today in the memorial service held at our church for her, it became apparent how unique she was because of the testimony of so many who knew her and were touched by her overflowing love. And everyone was left with the question...why?
We've begun a DVD series by Rob Bell during our 20x class. They are the Nooma videos and of the two I have seen thus far, they have the ability to wrench the heart into action. The first one we watched a few Sundays back...it is entitled "Rain". In it Rob talks about a hiking experience with his baby son during which a torrential downpour began and his son was terrified and crying-drenched by the rain. Rob pauses and says in a exhausted demeanor "it always rains". Then later remarked that his son may end up in therapy asking why his dad put him through that; to which Rob commented that he would be crushed because that was one of his most intimate, precious times carrying his son. After the short video, and a few thought provoking questions, I asked the 20's if there were times when they couldn't understand why it was God was allowing bad things to happen to them.
There were a few typical answers, and being the "teacher" I gave a few typical responses, such as "there may be a purpose God intends this for that we just cannot know". Then Katie spoke up. She said.....I don't know...I...I just have a hard time accepting that. I don't see how there could be a purpose in bad things, like children being abused.
Knowing at least a little bit about her past, my jaw dropped and my lips formed a tight line. I'm supposed to know how to respond here, and I couldn't, except to say that maybe one day those kids could help other kids in that situation. Her face and her large, inquiring eyes have been burnt into my mind. I don't know why crap happens.....sometimes it just does.
The irony here is that she was the one asking, and with what happened to her, it has left us with the same question she had a couple weeks ago. But, now she knows. And while we try to ask the whys of her death, the more important thing is to understand the whys of her life. The "whys" were all gathered today....Hoosiers touched by a Texan who found her way here under dire circumstances.
They played "Rain" today. There were only a few of us who knew this aspect of the story behind the video. To me it was crushing.....my heart felt like it would stop. But, it always rains. And while we stumble around for answers in this life the key thing is to understand that our Father carries us.....and yes, even sends the rain. And in rain....there is life.