Today is that day. Today is that day when there is no avoiding thinking about Rukhsanah. Today is the day that you wonder what she’d look like today. What type of girl would she be? Would she be a tomboy or a girlie girl? What would be her favorite color? What color would her hair be? Dark or light? Curly or Straight?
What happened after that prayer that day as we began to let go? As I left the hospital with my daughter to take her to her apartment, now considered a potential crime scene, I thought I can’t fix this. I am a fixer. I always want to fix things for people, especially my children. I couldn’t fix this one. Nothing was going to make this right.
There were reporters everywhere. Living in the inner city as they did, always makes you suspect. There had been several deaths, some from abuse, of children that winter. TV cameras, snapshots, people with pads of paper all calling after the van as we drove away. The radio and TV had already covered yet another death of a child in Hartford. This wasn’t any child, this was our child.
Authorities were considering the temporary fate of the other two children. While we drove to the corporate apartments, harsh decisions were being made. The authorities wanted to make no mistakes. They were already being blamed in other cases. They refused to let the children go home with anyone. They went to strangers. The night before all were safe in their home with their mom and dad; the next day their sister was gone, their parents devastated and they slept in strange beds.
I think back on that day and I wonder how we all coped. I wonder why I stayed so strong and didn’t collapse. I know it was God. I know that the same God that I was questioning, asking, screaming WHY??? He was holding me up… when there was no reason to stand.
As we arrived at the apartment, I sent my daughter to the upstairs apartment where there was a bit more room. I don’t remember what she asked me, but I suggested she take a cassette tape of worship music from the Brownsville Revival and listen to it. It was my lame attempt to pretend I was spiritual. I didn’t feel so spiritual; underneath I was not only questioning but mad at God. I thought we’ve had enough!
I don’t know how God’s grace works. I don’t know how it is that in the midst of such deep grief and pain He can still show up.
The next morning my daughter told me something I will never forget. She said that while she was worshiping with the tape, she pictured herself worshiping Jesus with her daughter. She said she knew that Rukhsanah must have been worshiping Jesus if she was in heaven. This was the way she could connect with her, to join in worship.
Again, I muttered something spiritual while still screaming inside WHY?
You may be asking the same thing. Why? It is the age-old questions of theodicy. It is the question of the book of Job and countless millions of people, why do bad things happen? I wonder if there is anyone who ever lived that didn’t ask WHY?
I have no better answer than anyone else. Nevertheless, I know my Redeemer lives and like Peter, I often have said; where else can I go only you have the words of life? (John 6:68)
Thank you for taking this journey with me. Join me tomorrow for more.