I have had so many conversations about heaven and our spirits and what I believe in the past month and a half. Very few of them have been instigated by me. Most of them are discussions with friends who are trying so hard to figure out why the things in our lives happen, and they want to know what I think about it all. They want to know if I’ve had any revelations about life and death and Dad.
The truth is, I haven’t.
The truth is, I believe what I’ve always believed... and I’m living life after Dad’s death the same way I did before. I just keep trying to do the next right thing, while stepping forward in faith and trust.
I know, it’s not a sexy answer. But it is the truth.
Shortly after Dad died, I was having one of those conversations with Katie, my best friend from high school. Katie and I grew up in each other’s homes, and my dad loved her like another daughter. Despite “Katie” being her full given name, Dad liked to lengthen it to Katherine or Kathleen... just to be a stinker and get a rise out of her. And I think he especially enjoyed her because she was as ornery as he was. She laughed at his jokes even if they weren’t funny, and threw as many back at him as she could think up.
But he’d give her hugs and tell her he loved her as easily as he’d poke fun at her, and that’s why losing him broke her heart as well as mine. She lost her second dad. And when we were talking she said that she didn’t understand why Dad had to be the one to go. She kept trying to understand why God needed him in heaven more than we needed him here.
I realized how many people had said the same thing to me over the previous weeks... that he was such a good man, but that God must have needed him more. And I have to tell you, I just don’t believe that’s true.
God is God. He can do all, see all, be all.
God doesn’t need us for anything.
WE NEED HIM.
I think the truth is that we all need Dad here more than God needs anything. But because God is God, He knows the big picture that we don’t. And if it was Dad’s time to be with Him in heaven, then it was for Dad’s sake, or for us to learn something by his absence, or to spread the lesson of his legacy.
I think it was just something God foresaw in a greater plan that He sees and we don’t.
That’s why we have faith. We are simply called to trust that He knows better than we do. Whether we like it or not.
For me, it’s a lesson I learned as I got sicker and lost so many abilities. I remember thinking that it made absolutely no sense to me that God would give me so many talents and gifts, and then not let me have the opportunity to keep using them. So many things I loved to do were slowly being stripped away, and because I had used them for His glory I couldn’t understand how being without them could be the right thing.
He gave me a voice to sing His praises, and I used it to lead worship at church, sing at wedding celebrations and to bring peace to those at funerals. I spoke at and led retreats, I was social and did good deeds for others when I was out and about in the world. I lived life happy, dancing and laughing and trying to bring joy to people.
I couldn’t understand why he gave me the gifts if they were just going to be taken away.
But then I learned that I had the gifts when He needed me to use them. I didn’t squander and waste my talents, and they brought Him glory when they were supposed to. And I realized that if my talents were gone, if they were taken from me, then it was because I wasn’t supposed to have them anymore.
I trusted that He saw the bigger picture, and I stepped forward in faith by living the life that was in front of me. I stepped forward, knowing that whatever He wanted from me now, He would make sure I had the gifts to use in the moment. My gifts back then served God’s purpose, and if they were gone, so was that purpose.
I believe the same is true for Dad. He took the gifts God gave him at any given time in his life and he used them. He didn’t squander and waste his talents, and he brought God glory when he was supposed to. And if Dad is gone, if he was taken from us, it’s because He’s not supposed to be here anymore.
Trust me when I tell you that I would rather lose all my abilities and freedoms a million times over than to lose Dad. He was a gift in all of our lives, and we cherished him. But we have to keep stepping forward in faith, trusting that God sees the big picture and knowing He will give us what we need to get through any given moment.
Searching for answers beyond that is just me trying to do God’s job... and I trust that He has that covered without me.