An elderly woman had a struggle with cancer for many long years and now seemed close to death.
She made plans to die, closing accounts and settling personal relationships to the best of her ability. She asked her daughter to assist her with a party for her children and grandchildren.
She called it a ‘going away party’, and her daughter agreed and assisted with the physically demanding part of the preparations. The woman hired actors to dress the part of popular childhood characters for the children’s amusement.
A cover band played musical hits for the teenagers outside. As the adults gathered around an impressive assortment of finger food and a lively game of pool, she sought opportunities to slip away and talk briefly with individuals throughout the early afternoon. The general mood was upbeat and full of energy.
A short poem was read and a toast to the woman was met with cheers and smiles around the room as the family gathered for dinner. A slideshow of assorted memories was shown after the meal and everyone seemed in high spirits and thoroughly enjoying themselves after laughing and eating together. The woman had selected a classic comedy from her era to share with the family. Before long even the younger children laughed at the antics on the screen. As night began, the children danced around at the idea of a big bonfire outside. Soon everyone was sitting before a massive fire and talking together while roasting marshmallows.
Again the woman sought out those she wanted a moment alone with, and asked them to wheel her away from the fire. Her son was eager to speak with her, he wanted to share his favorite memory of her and this party seemed the right place to do it. She was honored to hear him recognize her impact in his life, and that he had noticed her efforts. She said her own words of encouragement and then requested he send his wife before he could say anything more.
Her daughter-in-law seemed concerned about the expense and the drain on her health when they spoke. Her mother-in-law explained that although the party would be over soon enough, the memories of this day would get her through the difficulties ahead. At this her daughter-in-law became emotional. The elder reminded her that this was a party, and not a funeral. Nodding, her daughter-in-law wiped away her tears and wheeled her back to the group around the bonfire.
The elderly woman nodded to her daughter, she was ready to go home. She bid everyone good night and left quickly before anything significant could be said. Alone in the car, her daughter remarked on the great success of the party. Her mother nodded, but said nothing. Her daughter wondered at this and asked if everything was okay, wondering after her health.
After a pause the mother asked if she was surprised at the expense of the party. To this her daughter immediately agreed that she was. Her mother continued, saying “My dear, for many years I have had two bank accounts because of you. The one you used as if it were your own was the only one I told you about. This party was elaborate because I wanted the opportunity to share some of what remained with everyone else. I wanted you to know that I was always aware of what you were doing. It was only my love for you that made it possible to still invite you to this party, and why I was able to look you in the eyes all of these years.” The car was silent the rest of the ride.
Moral of the story:
Matthew 2:13-14 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt.
Reading these verses, it occurred to me that God could have wiped out the soldiers Herod sent to kill Jesus and/or other babies in the area. Just as this mother chose to allow her daughter to steal from her, God could have prevented a tragedy. He could have let Herod die (he was already very sick), probably the best and easiest solution. Instead, God chose to let Herod continue with his murderous plans, actions that honestly make God seem weak. Is that sacriligious to admit I didn’t get it? That brings up the question we may want not want to admit to thinking. Is God cruel to have warned the wise men and the young family in a dream? Because of it innocent baby boys were murdered. Was all so that a prophecy was fulfilled?
Often as humans we fail to comprehend the purpose of it all, the bigger picture God has, and we jump to the conclusion that God must not be good. He must not be trustworthy because if He was, the evil in the world would not flourish as it does. The answer to this very good question is God has more patience than we can comprehend, and He is definitely not ignoring us. There is a purpose behind why evil is allowed to continue, and that is God is waiting patiently. He is allowing everyone the opportunity to choose Him. Every day is a new day of mercy for the broken and sinful to fall on their knees in submission to God. Although I hate tragedy and don’t condone suffering, I am relieved that situations do not mean God is impotent or cruel; instead His goodness is sound even through tragic circumstances.