Due to both my overwhelming schedule and life this past year and the difficulty I’ve had in finding the right words for a new post, it’s been over a year since I’ve been able to sit down and write. It was a struggle to figure out how to break radio-silence after that amount of time. So I thought a more personal post to explain the silence and my thoughts in the silence would be fitting.
2017 was the worst year of my life, and while I can’t yet say this about everything that happened in 2017, I can see in some of those things how God truly does work even the crappy things for His glory and for the good of those who call upon His name. The fall of 2017 brought yet another career change. So far God has taken me from engineering, to being a stay-at-home, to writing a book and founding a ministry for Christian apologetics, and now He has combined all of those experiences and skills to bring me to a high school teaching position - teaching 12th grade apologetics and AP Calculus. The change was more difficult and time consuming than I ever predicted - mostly because of what all had happened at the beginning of 2017.
February 2017 brought the diagnosis that my mom’s leukemia had returned and it would require a very difficult stem cell transplant. May 2017 brought the news that she could not have the stem-cell transplant but would have to rely on a clinical drug trial. June 2017 brought the diagnosis of pneumonia and her decision to stop treatment. And on July 4, 2017 I was holding my mommy’s hand when I had to say good-bye to her. It is a horrible reality every day yet still an unimaginable nightmare that can’t possibly be true. I miss her every day. Every day there is something that I can’t wait to tell her…only to be reminded that she’s not here to hear it. Every day I wonder what we would be doing together if she were still here. Every day I feel like there was still something left for me to, and then I find that it’s because my days still don’t seem complete until I’ve talked to her. I’ve realized even after a year that it is a pain that will never go away. It is simply a pain you just have to live with.
Yet in my pain I know that she is experiencing perfect joy as she is finally with her Lord and Savior. And I know that my good-bye wasn’t good-bye forever, but more like “I’ll see you soon” because my mom loved Jesus. And I do too. However, in this situation, many people would wonder why I would still say that because Jesus didn’t “answer my prayer.” I had prayed relentlessly for her healing - not just me, but countless others who loved the beautiful, Godly woman that she was. She was always so joyful and so kind. I can definitely say that after a year, I still have no idea why His answer was different from what I wanted. But I can also definitely say that God is still real and God still loves and cares for me. Because, you see, God’s existence and love for me exists outside of how happy and comfy my life is. That is a truth…whether He had healed my mom or not. Those truths have no bearing on whether I get “my prayer answered” or not.
How can I say that God still loves me if He would take away someone so special, so dear, so important to me? Because I can see how much God hated this too. He hated it enough to do something about it. No, I don’t mean that what He did about it was heal her (although I desperately wanted that to be the case). It’s because He did something about death overall. He hated that His precious creation had chosen the path of sin, and pride, and rejection of Him – because He knew what that meant for us. He knew that part of His character is perfect Holiness (something we truly can’t fathom). So He can’t be in the presence of unholiness. But if the creation that He loved were sinful, how can He possibly remain with His creation and still be His other attribute: Just? That sin issue has to be dealt with before God’s creation can be in His presence…yet that is what God wanted because of yet another attribute of God: Love!
If God is perfectly holy so that He can’t be in the presence of sin, and perfectly just so that He must judge sin (which we would want someone who is good and holy to do), yet perfectly loves His sinful creation so that He desires relationship with us, what can He do? Well, He can pay the penalty for that sin Himself. The judgment has been made on sin – and it is death. This is where my personal situation falls. Death is an unavoidable part of our existence. It is what happens eventually to all of us, whether it is at the ripe old age of 102 or too soon at the age of 63 like my mom by a wretched disease or even in the youth of life by a tragic car crash. Death will come to us all because we are in this sinful world. The fix to that is to stop death. But if God stopped death here, meaning He made us eternal in this world, that would truly be a miserable existence. We wouldn’t want eternity where there is sin and suffering and pain and injustice. What we really want is for this to not be the ultimate point of our existence.
When Jesus came down to earth, if He could heal the sick, give sight to the blind, make the lame walk, but could not do anything about death, His existence here would have been useless. His claims as God would have been nullified. But when Jesus died on the cross and resurrected, this was how God fixed our problem of death. Death was defeated here on earth and our eternity in God’s presence was made possible. That was how much God hated what happened to my mom. Though I would have given anything to have my mom healed of her leukemia, to have her by my side as I raise my children, to have my children see her life as an example of Godliness and faithfulness, it would have still been temporary. Death would have still come. But now it’s not our time on earth together that is temporary, it is the separation at death that is temporary. Jesus came to give us life and give it more abundantly. Death has been defeated. So now it is no longer good-bye, but I’ll see you soon, mommy.