When I was a kid, I saw all sorts of sad things. Tragic things. Crap you couldn't explain and felt moronic even questioning. Forget my life - it's not exactly a newsflash that I was sexually abused and grew up around alcoholics. Sometimes I don't know what damaged me more, what I personally went through, or what I saw other people go through. Alzheimers and car wrecks, plane crashes and friends' homes that were far more abusive than anything I could ever imagine, mental illness, and crippling physical illnesses. Everything left an imprint. I learned two things at a very young age:
1. Life is not fair.
2. Being a Christian does not grant you immunity.
So when you see others going through tragedy, while enduring your own at the same time, you begin to take mental notes. You learn things, whether you want to learn them or not.
Me, I spent a lot of time on my knees begging for miracles. Dear God, please find Craig's plane. Find Craig IN the plane, ALIVE. Dear God, just take Grandma before she loses any more of her mind. Dear God, take away my memories of being molested. Make the kids stop bullying me, make the kids like me, make me cooler. Make my family stop drinking - make us normal!
Fix it, delete it, make it right, make it THE WAY I SEE FIT.
I didn't get most of the miracles I asked for. I couldn't understand how anyone could endure tragedy beyond my capacity for understanding, and look me in the eye and say, "God is taking care of me."
I wanted to scream, "HOW?!? HOW IS GOD TAKING CARE OF YOU? YOUR LIFE IS RUINED!" It frustrated me, and angered me. I didn't get it. God was a big meany. I wanted nothing to do with just another bully.
God has not never a Lord of miracles, He was a grim disappointment. I didn't dare trust Him, because I knew it was pointless. As kids go, I wasn't Dad's favorite. Some people win the lottery, I won Bipolar Disorder. Now, try having joy with a worldview like that.
But then things really came crashing down. Jay - my beloved cousin and friend - was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease. The man who humbly told a 12-year-old girl about Jesus. Not a day has passed in those two years that I don't spend great amounts of time thinking about him. I remember the athlete, I smile at the man, now almost entirely paralyzed, who still has a sharp sense of humor and a handsome smile. I grieve on so many levels. Sometimes certain songs reduce me to tears. I cry for his wife and four daughters. For the beautiful singing voice I'll never hear again, or the hug I'll never feel again. Lots of things have rocked my world, but nothing has ever rocked it the way Jay's disease has.
Like I said, being a Christian does not grant you immunity.
So I started out the way I always had - praying for miracles. Praying for complete healing, praying for the doctors to be wrong, praying the new treatment would work.
But none of that happened.
So I prayed that God would take care of the whole family.
That DID happen. Big time. Beyond what I imagined when I first prayed that prayer.
And yet, the miraculous stuff I was searching for hasn't happened.
I fought God on this one. I was furious. We had it out. I yelled, I cried, I even threw stuff at the celing. Then I gave up, because I was just tired. Completely exhausted. It was the straw that broke the camel's back. I was done.
But this crazy thing happened to me. I felt peace. I read the Bible, took time to think things through, and I realized that God was giving me peace even though I didn't get it, and knew I never would in this life. And I realized that if I could feel it, then my cousin and his family could feel it, and ANYONE could feel it.
It was the first time I was ever able to point to a miracle in my life. I know there were others, but this was the first one that my eyes were opened clearly enough to see. I had the realization that, no matter where we are in life, or what we're dealing with, Jesus is the same. He's always good, always forgiving, always raining grace and mercy down on us. Whether we are sick, grieving, doubtful, or angry... the nature of God and the heart of Jesus Christ is unchanging.
God IS taking care of us.
He always has.