“Where is your God?”

“My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude, leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:3–5).

Ever hear, “If God really is love, how can people be starving in 3rd world countries? How can it be ok that ‘blank’ lost his job and ultimately his home? ‘Such and such’ died and left ‘so and so’ alone?”

I can only tell you what I know… .

Six years ago, today, my phone rang unexpectedly. There was a very angry voice on the other end of the line accusing Archie/me (he answered the phone) of not relaying important information. I was confused and he began asking questions. After the second inquiry, the person’s voice changed from anger to pity as they realized I was the one unaware…that my mom’s heart exploded and she had died instantly.

Six years ago I thought the bottom of my world fell out. Next to Archie and Taylor, my mom was my best friend. This was two months before Taylor’s high school graduation. My mom and stepdad had plans to head back from Florida to help me plan and execute the open house for my one and only child. Needless to say, high school graduation was met with a shadow for my dear little girl as Grandma Susie was one of her best friends, as well. For her high school graduation, Grandpa Gary gave her the best gift of all: the dry erase board from Grandma’s car that had the picture Taylor had drawn for Grandma at age 8 and she never erased. Tears.

Since she passed away out of state, my stepdad had to remain in Florida to get things in order to bring her home. He entrusted me to seek out the funeral home, find the casket, and figure out the casket spray. My sister, Trina, amazingly creative and gifted, soared in, scooped up a lifetime of photographs and created detailed time lines of memories: toddler pictures of Susie Q-Zie Adele Picklestein Smeltzer, or so she said her nickname had been, to her theatrical type performance at a church picnic as an “old person” with a walker and huge heiny.

A lifetime, not only hers, but her four children and grandchildren. We had never experienced life devoid of this precious and much loved lady, as imperfect as she was (and we are).

I thought the pain of loosing my mom could never be surpassed. That view changed as I sat in a dark and eerily quiet house. The paramedics left and the funeral home had taken Archie. Taylor was finally asleep on the couch after hours of nausea, and I was alone.

What I know is that Susie Q-Zie prepared her daughter for the most excruciating day of her life. She paved the way through the journey to lay her to rest. She equipped/gifted me an “autopilot” to go through the motions and do what needed to be done when my brain and life were in a fog. My mama taught me…even after death.

I also have a friend who did lose their job, a 25 year career.  After a few years of searching for themselves and negative financial decisions, bankruptcy was the end result—but not the end of the story. The sale of the house cleaned most of the slate and the allowed the opportunity to move and receive paid training in a field previously thought to be unattainable from a financial perspective.

Where was God in these situations?

Life happens and often is painful. If we don’t give up or quit, like the butterfly in a cocoon, struggling and wishing the pain and pressure were over, we can emerge a different being, transformed. We then have the opportunity to go beside the next vibrating cocoon. And whisper,”You can do this! Hang in there! Don’t give up! You will live through this!” Ultimately, “I’m here for you…”

So where is God? Using the situations of life now, writing the next chapter and shining the light at all the cocoons that I didn’t or couldn’t see before. He works through us(even after death—thanks mom). I’ll just try not to get in His way…so what am I waiting for?

Oh! Starving people in third world countries? All I know is Heavenly Dad says for us to live on 90% and give 10%: His provision for the starving, needy, oppressed, widowed, and orphaned. What would the world look like if we all actually obeyed and followed the Great Designer’s plan?

Until next time: Blessings!

Author: Tracy Cook

Widowed one week before our 27th wedding anniversary, Heavenly Dad continues to carry me, now blessing me with a second chance for love.

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