Beauty From Ashes
So last Friday my friend, Rachel*, and I had dinner, and on her way home she passed away in a car accident. Through my shock and anger, I asked God “why?” Why bring her into my life for such a short time? We reconnected after a few years of limited communication because I moved closer to her. Talking through some things with another friend reminded me that there’s purpose in everything God does, “even tragedy.”She shared a story of reconciliation between her dad and Rachel’s dad as an example of beauty coming from the ashes of this tragedy.
As I was sitting in the funeral this past Saturday and thinking “no one is supposed to bury their child or grandchild.” I heard God respond with, “Who told you that?” He’s been saying that a lot me lately. So many things I heard my parents, pastors, and other people I respect say, God never said. There isn’t a perfect way your life is supposed to go laid out in the Bible.
I kept hearing God say “Everyone’s days are numbered.” I took this to mean that no matter what we did or did not do that night Rachel’s days are numbered. Its hard to look at death this way but I’ve begun to look at death through the eyes of God. God doesn’t see death as the end of our lives. Our life on earth is only a piece of who we are. Rachel was a blessing to everyone she encountered. She was one of the purest people I’ve ever met. She consistently challenged me with her lifestyle to be more and more like Christ; to seek him in all things and to share him with all people.
The bishop that delivered the eulogy said something that stuck with me. He said the funeral program has a sunrise and sunset printed on it with a dash in the middle. He said it’s not about the length of time the dash represents, it’s about what you do with the dash. He reminded us that Rachel’s life was worth more than some people who lived to be 120. She lived each day with purpose. Her short time on earth fulfilled her purpose.
Another pastor quoted Psalm 116:15. “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of a saint.” We don’t like to think that, but it makes sense. God wants to say well done thy good and faithful servant. I know that’s what he said to Rachel. I know he welcomed her home with open arms. As I was talking to my mom about the situation she helped me to realize that we can be selfish. We only want the person around because we are sad without them. We aren’t thinking about them or the rest they needed. Nor do we think about God and the plan he has for their life.
I’m never going to forget Rachel, and I know so many people other won’t either. I’ll leave you with one wise she said in our last conversation. We were talking about revelations we got from the Lord, and she brought up Mark 12. The Lord was showing her that it’s possible to love God with only part of your heart. She said, “why would the Bible say your whole heart if we couldn’t?” It spoke so much to me at the moment and even now rewriting it. I am more challenged by that each day.
So I leave you with this “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” Mark 12:30.
God is good y’all, even in tragedy.
*I didn’t use her real name to respect her and her family.