I’m not one to make excuses, but in the past week I’ve come face-to-face with my lack of understanding. I’m sure you can relate to my feelings. Especially if you’ve had a friend or family member die or you are in the midst of some kind of hardship that has you baffled.
I’m referring to those times in life when you find yourself saying, “This just doesn’t make sense. I don’t get it. Why him? Why me? Why her? Why this? Why now?”
That was my reaction a week ago when I got a phone call telling me that a much loved faithful friend and church member had died while out on a bike ride. I couldn’t believe it.
Bob’s Last Phone Call
I had just talked to Bob right before he left for the ride. In fact when I called him his first words were, “Hi Dave. I’m glad you caught me. I was just on my way out for a bike ride.” Little did I know the conversation that followed would be our last, this side of heaven. After we talked, he got on his bike for his regular ride. But this time along the way his heart stopped and the Lord said, “Bob, welcome to eternity.”
Bob had an infectious smile. He loved Jesus and loved serving Him, whether that be as the Chairman of our Los Altos Christian School Board or as a former “heavy equipment operator.” At least that’s what he told me when we first met and I asked him what he did for a living.
“So you drive those huge tractors. The ones with the big wheels?”
“No, Dave. I’m a retired airline pilot. “ Heavy equipment operator.
Bob had a great sense of humor, but also a great mission. He wanted to make the most of the life God had given him. And he did that, right up to the end he was serving the Lord with every ounce of his being.
Beyond My Understanding
That’s why it’s hard for me to understand his death. He was still filled with vitality. Enthusiasm. Ideas. In that final phone conversation he was sharing some new ideas that he had. How he hoped to see our Christian school grow. And his plan to make a few phone calls after his bike ride.
He was one of the guys you wouldn’t want to lose. A valuable member of the ministry team. Much loved by his wife, kids, grandkids, and everyone else. I seriously doubt he had even one person who didn’t like him.
Bob’s in heaven now. Is that a cause for rejoicing? Absolutely. Paradise, with the Lord, forever. That’s as good as it gets. At this very moment, Bob is doing just fine.
But for those of us left behind here in this world, it’s hard to understand why someone like him would be taken from us so soon. In the midst of our sorrow, I am reminded again of two verses that have helped me time and time again. Proverbs 3:5-6.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
In God We Trust?
Comfort, hope, perspective is found in trust, not in understanding. In fact, there are a lot of things I will probably never understand. But I can pray and ask for direction. For greater faith to trust God more than I do right now.
The Lord always does that which is right. His plan is perfect. Everyone dies right on time. God loves us. God’s mercy endures forever. He knows what’s best.
This is the God we trust. Even when we don’t understand.
by Dave Gudgel