In It’s the Little Things, Lena Williams says that a test of true friendship between those of different races is that you have been in each other’s bedrooms. Until Friday, the only time I’d been in my friend Amy’s bedroom was several years ago when some children were playing there during a party.
This Friday, I was in her bedroom helping her pack to go to New York. No, not a trip for fun, but because her 27-year-old son Marcus had died suddenly. He was traveling on a bicycle in Manhattan when the driver of a parked car opened the door in front of him. He was catapulted into the path of a large truck and died immediately. There is more detail at http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/10/24/2010-10-24_fatally_doored_cyclist_had_a_passion_for_helping_the_poor_dream_of_moving_to_new.html.
Where is God in all this? I know Amy. We’ve been prayer partners for years; we just prayed together Thursday evening. We pray for each other’s children and I know Amy prays for her children’s safety and guidance every day. So couldn’t God have made that driver hesitate before opening the car door? Of course he could have. So why didn’t he? I don’t know. I keep going back to the “his ways are higher than our ways” passage, but I don’t think this was God’s doing. Human beings were just doing their things and God didn’t intervene.
I don’t like the suffering that accompanies God’s lack of intervention. I don’t like seeing the tear-stained faces and feeling the gut-wrenching pain of everyone who knew Marcus or his parents.
Ironically, our Bible study group is presently studying prayer, and one thing I’ve gotten from it recently is that many times God’s answer to our prayers is that he gives us peace—not our request, but peace with the circumstances that accompany our request. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). I’d never read this passage in quite that way before. Paul tells us to present our requests to God, and that His peace will guard our hearts and minds—not that God is a fairy godmother-type who will grant our wishes.
So that’s the blessing I pray for Amy and her family, for the newly widowed Adrienne, for the vast network of friends that Marcus leaves behind.
I can just picture Marcus walking up to Ruth and her saying, “Well, Marcus! How great to see you! I wasn’t expecting you so soon, but let’s sit and talk a while.” And there will be his old friend Bud who just died in August, and Marcus will be the first of us to hear Bud speak clearly and walk standing straight and tall. What a blessing for him!
Thank you, Lord, for the assurance of heaven. I pray for those who have no hope, that they will turn to you and receive your peace.