August 24, 2013 my mother passed away. I found some thoughts I had written down during that time:
During this time of my mom’s passing, I am sure I will hear these type of comments:
“your mom was such a good person, but Jesus needed her more up in heaven than he did here.”
“Sweet Jane, God needed a beautiful flower to complete His bouquet in heaven.”
“His plans are greater than ours, and so we need to trust that He knows best. This is what is best for you– because you know He will never give you more than you can handle”
All of these sound nice and sweet. And sometimes even help us get through a difficult situation such as this. But these all have one thing in common—they are false. My mom is dead, separated from us at this very moment, for one reason and one alone: sin. “But, Matt, what a terrible thing to say right now. Your mom was one of the kindest people I know, she was always so willing to help and listen.” Yes, this is true. My mom was one of the best. But, my mom was a sinner. My mom is no longer with us because of Sin. Again, we can sugarcoat it with all of the nice sayings we hear and say at a time like this, but I believe most of these sweet sayings are satan’s way to keep the blinders on our eyes. “how can you say that at a time like this, Matt”
To answer that question I would like to tell you a story. One day little Johnny came running up to his dad, Big John. “Daddy” he said, “how far is the sun from here?” Oh how excited his dad was. Big John was an astrologer. He had been studying the sun and stars for years. He had waited for this moment to be able to describe the majesty of the heavens to his son. He had toured the world giving talks on the great expanse of the heavens. The distances between the stars and the different galaxies and how their vastness was beyond our ability to comprehend. Although he had spoken to thousands of people, this was the moment he had been waiting for— to see in his son’s eyes, for the first time, as he became mesmerized by the vastness of the heavens. And for his son to join him in his excitement and join him in his pursuit of learning more. How he had waited for this day, to see his son look in awe at the grandness of space. As he gazed down at little Johnny, his thoughts raced back to the day he was born, how he had held and loved him. How he had bathed and cuddled him those first few weeks. As he grew, he slowly explored and discovered new things. But oh how Big John had waited for this day when they could start a new journey together; when his son was finally old enough to understand his dad’s true joy in life; researching the vastness of God’s creation.
With those thoughts racing through his head, he pondered the question: “how far is the earth from the sun”. Now he knew, that since the earth does not orbit the sun in a perfect circle, the distance changed depending the season. He knew that the moment the earth was the closest to the sun, called perihelion, was in January. At that point, the sun was 91 million miles away. He knew that in early July, or aphelion, the earth was the farthest away at 94.5 million miles. Oh, how excited he was to share these discoveries. With careful anticipation, he said, “Son, right now, the sun is 92.2 million miles away”. He waited for Little Johnny to gasp in delight and shock of the incredible distance. How could that be? An impossible number for us to imagine. With a distracted glance at his father, Little Johnny responded, “Is that from the basement or the main floor”. Big John’s mouth dropped open. He lost his breath. This moment of joy that he had been waiting for was lost in his son’s unbelievable response. “Is it from the basement or the main floor? That has nothing to do with anything. Traveling in the fastest rocket ever built, 4,500 mph, it would take over 20,000 hours, or 2.5 years to get there; traveling by a normal commercial jet: 19 years.
His son’s response to this mind boggling distance was to compare it to ….. walking up the stairs?? How could this be, how could he get his son to grasp and enjoy this incredible knowledge of God’s creation? Oh, how he longed for his son to understand.
This is God, and us. God is the Father. He has created a perfect life for us. From the beginning of time God created us to live in the garden with Him; in perfect communion. With no pain, no tears, no separation, no guilt, no hunger, no sleepless nights, no worries, no tumors, no dizziness, no stillborns, no stress, no disease, no cancer, no miscarriages, no goodbyes, no loneliness…… no sin. He created us in expectant anticipation that we would enjoy, together with Him, the incredible awesomeness of exploring and trying to imagine the distance the earth is from the sun. Oh, how He longs for us to be in awe of, and to enjoy, His perfect creation.
But into this perfect world entered satan, the author of lies. He has come to kill, maim and destroy. His goal is to get us to compare one to each other—in total disobedience of God’s Word.
As we look up at God with our questions about this pain we feel, God looks down as the father and desires to show us His perfect creation. Instead of reaching up, taking His hand, and allowing Him to describe the distance from the earth to the sun, we say, “Oh, the situation could be worse, we could be in the basement instead of up here enjoying the main floor!”
God looks down and shouts, “No, no, no. This is not what I wanted. This is not my plan for you. I have something mind-blowing better for you”.
Well, we say, at least she went peacefully. “no, no, no” He says, “This is never what I had in mind. The life I created for you does not have this pain and separation. My plan for you is far beyond your comprehension. Don’t waste your time studying the distance from the basement to the main floor when the life I created for you is the distance from the earth to the sun.”
The best word I can use to describe my mom is: soft. I remember touching her cheek, cuddling up to her and touching the skin on her face. So soft. I also remember her hands and arms, the skin so soft and smooth. And her heart. The softest of them all. Always willing to see the best in others. Always willing to quickly point out the good in EVERY situation. Positive thinking? ….she put Zig Ziglar to shame.
Oh, how great it is to sit around and reminisce about her life. The good she did, the love she shared. Is it healthy? It sure helps right now. What a celebration of a life—now forever worshiping the King. But….in all of these emotions, let us never forget the price that was paid. We were created to live in a perfect world; no pain, no separation. Satan entered and destroyed it and we, with our sinful tendencies, continue it.
God looked down and saw his plan ruined. And He saw the need for another plan. A rescue mission, if you will. His Son looked over at Him and asked “will it work?” The Father looked back with tears in His eyes, and responded: “Yes, if You go, I will repair it. I will make it perfect again”.
And The Son said, “I will go”.
-Matt Steidinger, August 25 2013.