Many questions have come up in my mind these past 2 weeks. I've been surrounded also by questions from those around me.
Why Josh? Why did God allow all that pain to come into his life? If God was using such a great man to do such great and wonderful things in people's lives, then why would He allow him to die so soon? He was only 32 years old.
Yesterday, we celebrated Josh's life, and buried him in the ground. Many people came; this was probably one of the largest funerals I have attended (Edwards' was probably just as big; he was 38 when he was struck by lightning last year).
Josh was taken too early, and right on time. Josh's illness was a long and hurtful ordeal, and exactly what God planned. His death at the age of 32 is painful for his mother and father, his family and friends; and occurred precisely as scheduled.
And we all, even those who love and trust God to the best of our ability, are hurting and at a loss. We miss him, and we will always wonder in our darkest times, "Why God?"
A few years ago, I was reading The Chronicles of Narnia: A Horse and His Boy to my daughter. The story revolves around a little boy named Shasta who, having grown tired of being mistreated by the fisherman who raised him, runs off with a Narnian horse (a talking horse) and sets off on all manner of adventure. Along the way, this small boy also suffers all manner of pain and suffering. His friend, Aravis, almost dies as they are being chased by a pack of ferocious lions. At one point in the book he is alone in the wild, in the dark, on a horse. He is hungry, alone and frightened. He is resentful; angry. He is asking 'Why?' .
As he rides his horse with no one to talk to (he is not riding the Narnian horse now; this one does not speak), in the dark, he senses he is not alone. Someone or something is walking in the dark next to him:
"Who are you?", he said, scarcely above a whisper.
"One who has waited long for you to speak," said the Thing. It's voice was not loud, but very large and deep...
"Oh please -- please do go away. What harm have I ever done you? Oh, I am the unluckiest person in the whole world!"
Once more he felt the breath of the Thing on his hand and face.
"There", it said. "that is not the breath of a ghost. Tell me your sorrows."
Shasta was a little reassured by the breath: so he told how he had never known his real father or mother, and had been brought up sternly by the fisherman. And then he told the story of his escape and how they were chased by lions and forced to swim for their lives; and of all their dangers... and how they were almost to their goal when another lion chased them and wounded Aravis...
"I do not call you unfortunate" said the Large Voice.
"Don't you think it was bad luck to meet so many lions?" said Shasta.
"There was only one lion" said the Voice.
"What on earth do you mean? I've just told you there were at least two the first night, and..." "There was only one; but he was swift of foot."
"How do you know?"
"I was the lion."
And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued.
"I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you."
"Then it was you who wounded Aravis?"
"It was I."
"But what for?"
"Child," said the Voice, "I am telling you your story, not hers."
You will never answer the questions, "Why?", until you realize that you are not walking alone in the wilderness. You will never answer the questions, "Why?", until you start concerning yourself with your own story instead of everyone elses story.
And don't be so foolish and trite as to consider this being as just some beast or ghost, or a knight in shining armor, or a beared and robed guru, or some other creation of your assumed enlightenment.
He has a name. He only waits for us to acknowledge Him. He holds the answers to our deepest questions.