"It didn't turn out right"

February 11, 2011

That's what she said when I walked into her room at the nursing home.

I was there to help plan a funeral on Saturday, for her daughter.  Her brothers were also with us.

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from this woman's daughter.  I didn't know her terribly well;  I saw her fairly often when she came to church with an older gentleman, a friend of the family.  He couldn't drive anymore, so she volunteered to take him to church.  She said it would help her be more regular in her own worship attendance.

When she called, she was excited.  She wanted me to officiate at her wedding in May.  "I'm 60 years old and I'm getting married for the first time!" she told me.  She couldn't believe her luck.  She had gotten re-acquainted with an old friend, the son of the man that she brought to church, and they had decided to get married.   They met because he would often come and make a nice dinner for his parents after church.  We talked to each other a few times, trying to figure out dates and times.

Last week, she was hospitalized with complications from a cold. 

On Thursday night, she had a stroke.

On Tuesday, she died.

"It didn't turn out right", her mother told me.

Some people talk about the "sovereignty of God" as if God has orchestrated every single blessed and tragic small and great thing in the world.  Every single solitary thing that happens is "God's plan," as if God is pulling all kinds of strings all over the place.  I believe in the sovereignty of God, but I'm not sure that's what it means.  I think that somehow, in the end, God will work everything for good, that there will be a time and a place where there is no more crying and no more death, where every tear will be wiped away, and where we will cast our crowns before the throne of the Lamb.

In the meantime, sometimes, it just doesn't turn out right.

Originally posted at Faith in Community