June 23, 2009
The world lost a sweet young woman on Friday. I don’t really know what to say, other than the fact that I’m so shell-shocked and stunned that I can’t think about anything else.
Since I haven’t asked her family’s permission to talk about this, I’ll call this precious young woman “Joy” because that’s what she was. Joy wasn’t just a kind, caring, Christian woman. She was truly leveraging her life for God. She had an impactful ministry with a few other incredible women, and she had just released her first book. Joy was speaking to and reaching and touching tens of thousands of people at a time with her story. In the face of devastating personal loss, she had not crumbled and allowed it to destroy her life, but had clung to her faith and allowed God to use that loss for good. Joy was making a difference. In so many ways. Even though she was so young.
I met Joy through my church at a women’s bible study. She was one of those people who win you over immediately. She had a huge smile that seemed to come from her heart, and not just from her teeth; you know what I mean? She had a warmth about her that drew people to her. She drew other women to her, and you know how big of a deal that is.
After that bible study ended, I didn’t see Joy again until a few months ago when I saw her in a short segment on the weekend news. I recognized her right away, since there aren’t too many people around with that smile and that kind of enthusiasm.
I didn’t see Joy or hear of her again until I was flipping through the Sunday paper last weekend, and saw her obituary. I must have read it a dozen times. What happened? How could this be?
I’m just so confused about this. Like I was last year when one of the worship leaders at my church died suddenly; also a very young woman. I know that I do not have the capacity to understand God’s ways. I know that. But still I try to make sense of things in my own head when heartbreaking losses occur.
What I don’t comprehend is why God would allow someone to get a horrible painful illness when they are living their lives for Him, and are reaching so many other people for Him. But yet, He lets evil people go on their merry way, la dee dah. He lets me go on my merry way, for cryin out loud, with all of my sins and shortcomings. I’m still dealing with some of the same old crap and sin that I’ve been dealing with my whole life. Why not take me and leave Joy to do His work? She was doing it, and doing it marvelously. With passion and spirit. But she was sidetracked with this illness out of the blue in March, and now she’s gone. And it’s only June.
I know that Joy is with God now and she isn’t asking questions. I’m the one with questions. I’m the one who is so sad for all of Joy’s family and friends, and all of the people who won’t get to hear her speak again. All of the young women who won’t benefit from her encouragement and her example.
I’m not mad at God, and I honestly don’t question God. I trust Him and I know that His ways are perfect. And He knows I don’t mean to be disrespectful; sometimes I’d just like to understand a tiny little bit. Maybe I’ll ask Him about this when I see Him, or maybe I won’t even think about it because I’ll be too busy worshipping. Like Joy is right now.