by Karen Emberlin
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139:16 (NIV)
A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.
Job 14:5 (NIV)
Have you ever asked, “Why, Lord, did you take my husband now?”
“Could I have done something to prevent his passing?”
These two questions are clearly etched in my mind, they’ve been there for many months. My seemingly-healthy husband and I had no reason to believe anything serious was on the horizon. We spent New Years Day 2012 together with no signs of any problems. We retired for the night. I, unfortunately, could not get comfortable, ending up tossing and turning.
Around 2 a.m. my husband and I agreed on my relocating to a recliner for the remainder of the night. I would be more comfy, and hopefully he would get some rest. Sleep finally came to me there in my chair. Mere words will never be able to completely describe my shock to find, upon awaking at 8 a.m., that he had passed away at some point in his sleep!
Even though I have been told time and time again that remaining next to him in our bed all night wouldn’t have changed the sad outcome, I still wonder “what if” and “why”. I most likely always will. It’s human nature.
I do know this: the Lord has been with me every day of this “journey” which began that sad morning 16 months ago. Without a doubt He has given me strength to move forward. I have the promise and hope that I will see my husband again. However……the “why” and “what if” questions and thoughts still lurk in the back of my mind–no matter how much I want them to leave.
Last week-end I attended a retreat with 8 ladies from a Bible study group of which I am a member.
One of our discussion subjects was “Grief.” It focused on the key verse Psalm 139:16, Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (NIV)
I have read this verse countless times. But this time, it was like God turned on a light bulb in my soul, helping me understand that in no circumstance can we either add or take from the days which are ordained for each of us (my husband)! January 2, 2012 was my beloved spouse’s time to go to heaven. I could not have done anything to prevent it.
But even with this new understanding, my feelings of grief are not gone. I’ve made a lot of progress, but it will take more time, more tears, copious prayers, and letting go of the search for answers to these “why” and “what if” questions. To continue my healing process, I must choose to look at what plans the Lord has in store for me with a renewed perspective.
I anxiously await the time when my deep sense of loneliness will lessen, when guilt-free laughter returns to my life, and I can look forward with great anticipation to the future God has planned for me.
Our lives are like a piece of rich beautiful tapestry woven by the Lord. We cannot choose the colors and often times He weaves sorrow into the pattern. In my foolish pride I sometimes forget He sees the upper side, and I, only the underside.
In time God will unroll the finished textile, explaining the reason dark threads of sadness and sorrow are as necessary as the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has woven. I’d like to think that the sadness and sorrow, seen in the dark stitching, adds depth and a subtle beauty, in contrast to the bright and sunny threads. God knows we have to experience both.
Lord, please help me and my dear Sisters to replace our questions of “why” and “what if” with truth from your Word. I pray that your presence will be with us, helping us to see that good can come and will come in You and through You. You are such an awesome God – We love you!