I had a wrestling match with God last week. I shared with you that in the middle of VBS closing I received word that my grandmother, my mom’s step-mom, had died. I didn’t know what to do with the news so I did nothing for several days. I had virtually no relationship with this woman but had a memory bank full of stories from my mom and her siblings about what growing up with this woman had been like. I had seen her and my grandpa less than ten times in my whole life…and yet I found myself grieving.
I wrestled for days on the grief. Where was it coming from? What did it mean? Was her death really what I was grieving? I didn’t know what else to do but hand it to God. This is something I’m usually pretty terrible at doing. I like to say I am handing things to him but in reality, I like to keep a piece for myself to play with and try to control. I couldn’t do that with this grief. I didn’t understand it or know what it was about so I started with the simple prayer, “God, show me what to do next.”
Go to the funeral.
What? Surely I had heard him wrong. We were sitting in the middle of a tropical storm, Charlie had left the country on business, the kids were out of school, and it would mean missing my step study that, of all weeks, I really need to attend, and….
I had all the excuses. The biggest one being that going to the funeral would mean facing family I hadn’t seen in many years. It would mean seeing aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters of my mom, who had not been around for many, many years. It would mean facing heartache that I had never fully dealt with and wasn’t even sure how to begin dealing with.
Go to the funeral.
I arranged for the kids to stay with my in-laws. I gassed up the truck. I washed my hair. I texted a few friends and asked them to pray. My friend Laura texted back that obedience is sometimes so very hard but that she would be praying.
I woke up at 4:15 the next day because I’m not cool enough to understand my husbands alarm clock and how to turn it off. I was wide awake and that word, obedience, kept rolling in my head.
“Okay, God, if the rain is heavy, I’ll take that as a sign I shouldn’t go. Charlie hates when I drive in the rain. Okay?”
The sun peeked out of the clouds for the first time in days.
I had a strong urge to pick up my phone and check in on the bible app. I opened to read and the story of Abraham placing Isaac on the alter was there waiting. God had commanded Abraham to sacrifice his own son but in the last minute God provided a ram to go in Isaac’s place. (Genesis 22:1-18)
“Okay, God, I can do this. You aren’t asking me to sacrifice my child. You’re asking me to drive to East Texas.”
I got dressed and left. About an hour into the drive the rain started again. The sky got dark and the wind was blowing and the rain was coming down in sheets. The traffic was not heavy but the cars that were around me were just that – cars. The rain was hitting their roof tops and bouncing up towards my windshield. I drive a big truck and there was no one around me to shield or block me. I was the big guy catching all the rain.
“Okay, God, what is this? I can’t do this.” My chest was clenched and I suddenly felt like I needed to u-turn around and head home.
That’s when God, with his great big sense of humor, reminded me of who he is. Because out of no where this pulled into the lane in front of me.
When I say I laughed out loud I don’t mean like when you “LOL” your friends text but you are really in the grocery store and not at all laughing. I laughed. Out loud. God provided a Ram for me when I was thinking obedience was too hard. And it drove in my lane, right in front of me, shielding me from the brunt of the storm. And just as the rain subsided the Ram took the next exit and left the road. It was one exit before mine.
God is good.
The sun came out and I drove on to the little church in the little town to the funeral. And I had total peace.
I had peace when I introduced myself to my near blind grandpa. I had peace when he hugged me and cried and told me he was so glad I was there.
I had peace when my uncle, the brother my mom kept a picture of in a locket, came in and hugged me so tight and told me he could see my mom in my eyes and that he missed her so.
I had peace when more of my aunts and uncles came in. We all sat together and we sang together and we ate together and we laughed together and it was good.
Obedience is good. It’s hard but it’s good.
I believe God worked so many miracles that day. I made connections with people that have been missing from my life for so long. Or maybe I’ve been missing from their lives. It doesn’t matter anymore.
God worked through doubt and fear and hurt and pain and questions and more questions. He worked and he is good and when I needed it, God provided a Ram.