Critical (because we have all had our turns).

When I was three, my grandfather was killed by two men who broke into his wheel alignment in the middle of the night.  He was working late and the men broke in while he was test-driving a car.  One of the men struck him on the head and they fled the scene. My grandmother, worried that her husband was out too late, called our house and asked my dad to go check on him.  My dad found him in a pool of blood from his head wound, and he died on the way to the hospital.  

I remember waking up the next day and feeling confused and scared.  I didn't understand exactly what was going on, but the grown ups kept using words like "Papa's not coming back" and were crying non-stop.  I was heartbroken.  Everyone was so tense and sad and mad and I learned very quickly that to avoid getting fussed at (or letting anyone down) during those months, I needed to be on my best behavior.  

At all times.  

It's a trait that haunts me to this day.  

As the years rolled by, I convinced myself that nothing bad would happen to us because our family had already had its turn with tragedy.  I'm not sure where this idea came from, but my childlike faith and reasoning refused to believe that the same God that loved me (and everyone else) so much would allow His children to go through more than one tragic event at a time.  I believed that everyone simply had to take their turns with tragedy, and according to our family history, it meant that every 10 or so years one might have a pretty serious event, and then you would be ok for another decade until it was your turn again.

When our family flew cross-country a few years later to see my family in California, I remember being terrified by the idea of the plane crashing.  And in my prayers I would remind myself and God that we had already had our turn and it wouldn't be fair for something like that to happen again.  Not yet, anyhow.  It wasn't our turn.

Anytime we had any sort of thunderstorm, I would immediately become fearful of a tornado.  I would cry in my room and remind God that it wasn't our turn.

This reasoning helped me get through stressful moments and worries in my life.  I somehow had to believe that God was fair.  Because my head and heart wanted to believe that if this God was as good as I said He was, then obviously He would adhere to our human standards of fairness and equity.  All people would have the same amount of worries and heartaches.  All people would enjoy the same number of highs and lows because it was only fair.

So, imagine my displeasure as the years and decades rolled by and I learned that His idea of fair and my ideas of fair do not always align.  I had spoken my whole life about a God who was "fair and just" and then I would watch families go through situations that seemed everything but.  Classmates would die in horrific car accidents.  Fathers would walk out of families.  Friends would lose their children.  Families would go through extreme heartache after heartache after heartache.

There are times I look forward to Heaven and getting the answers that I've been waiting for.  How He could allow such horrific things to happen to His children.  How certain families seem to go through crisis after heartbreak after crisis.  I have said on more than one occasion that I will have some bones to pick with Him when I finally arrive.

But, I trust that He works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28).  I believe that He is in the middle of the madness I see around me presently.  I believe that He is only Good, even when I don't understand the trials we face.  And, if I'm going to write about Big Faith and Big Life with Jesus and His Great Love and Mercy, then I have to believe it for myself and my family, too.    

This is my cutie-pie cousin, Allison.  She is the most talented person I know--and I know a lot of talented folks.  The doctors found what appears to be a tumor on her brain a while back and have been monitoring it.  This past week's appointment results indicated that the tumor has grown and they want to begin the process for obtaining an appointment at Johns Hopkins next week.  We'd appreciate your prayers.  

To be continued. . .

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