Most of you know that I don't publicly ask for prayer for other people often. When I do, it's usually something big. And if you are friends with me on Facebook you may have seen that I did indeed ask for some prayers last night.
Greg's cousin, Benji, had brain stem stroke yesterday morning. He's 35, a few months younger than me. He just celebrated his first wedding anniversary earlier this month. He had recently gone back to school and just finished his degree. He was looking for a teaching job. He works as a ranger at Roosevelt State Park. For those of you who attended the MRBA picnic last year, he was at the guard shack taking the entry money. Greg and I stopped and talked to him for a while that day, which was probably the last time I saw him, although Greg's seen him since and we always enjoy some online trash talking during March Maddness.
It was several hours before his wife found him and a couple more before they got him to UMC. Yesterday he couldn't move the left side of his body, this morning he could use the left but not the right. He's having trouble breathing, one of the involuntary functions controlled in the brain stem. He's in the ICU. Nobody seems to know what to expect from here.
I didn't sleep much last night. I kept waking up and praying some more. This morning I woke up pretty mad at God. Benji is too young for this. He'd finally found some real happiness, was making some positive changes in his life and was ready to move forward. Why does this have to happen to him. Why now.
Part of that anger is fear. It could have been one of us.
When these things happen it's hard to remember that God isn't the only force at work in this world. He doesn't cause bad things to happen to good people, but he doesn't always stop it either. We don't know why. Sometimes there's no reason, it's just failure of the human body. Our bodies aren't perfect. Our choices aren't perfect. Those things aren't God's fault. And we never know how he's going to use the things that happen to us. I saw that when my mom had cancer. It was awful, but she stayed strong and came out of it a better person.
And that's all a nice way of saying that this sucks. But it does me no good to get angry at God. Not that He minds. He has an infinite store of forgiveness and understanding when it comes to these things. And I certainly won't stop praying for healing and restoration.