Last night Robert and I attended the funeral of the sister of one of our friends. It was really touching and I am so glad that we went, even though we had never met the sister who passed away. I came away from the funeral wishing that I could have known her though, because she sounded like a sweet, loving person. It was a Catholic funeral, and although not a Mass, they read the same gospel reading that was read at Mary Grace's funeral. The one from Mark where Jesus tells his disciples to "let the little children come to me".
Shortly after we buried Mary Grace we heard a homily about choosing between the particular promises of God as we have perceived them and trusting in the God Himself who makes the promises we may not comprehend. I have to quote just a small section of it because it spoke directly to our hearts as we sat in the pew...in fact, I took out my notepad and pen and started copying as fast as I could.
"At some point in our lives, we all face the loss of something dear to us; something in which there had seemed to be such promise, had seemed to be such a blessing from God. We face the death of a loved family member or friend, perhaps one who dies too young. We face discovering that some path we thought our life was going to take falls apart and is no longer possible. Someone or something that had seemed such a concrete manifestation of God's blessing is taken away from us. And in that experience, we are tempted to despair, tempted to doubt; tempted to doubt God."
We thought we were going to finally have another baby in the house. We thought that bringing that new baby home to live with our family was the blessing God had in mind. We thought that the path laid out for our family was to become a family of four this July. We were so sure this was God's plan, we went out and bought a minivan to replace my 4 door sedan.
Two things struck me in this homily...the first was that my perception of God's particular promise, His particular plan, may not be God's plan at all. We perceive His plan through human eyes and with a human brain...it's like wearing glasses with scratched lenses- you can't see clearly. Our "lenses" are "scratched" by sin. But in heaven we aren't going to have that sin and we will understand God's plans more fully. For me, that means that I don't need to torture myself by asking "Why did you take Mary Grace, Lord?" I won't fully know that answer until I get to heaven. And I can live with that because I have a choice to trust in either the particular promises as I perceive them or to trust in the God who makes the promises that we sometimes cannot comprehend. That is the second part that struck me- that it is a choice that God is giving me- "choose Me", "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life". Well if it's a choice to choose God or to rely on my own, limited perception of what I think He is promising- my choice is to choose God. And that brings me comfort.
Lord, You know the plans You have for me...and I trust in You. Please do not let me despair over our losses. Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 4:1