God saw all that he had made, and it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning — the sixth day.
~ Genesis 1:31
"I hope that God will forgive him," a mother shared with me this week after her son was found dead in a hotel room over the weekend. The young man had struggled with many demons, including a severe drug addiction.
She continued, "I don't want to know how he died. I just want to know if God will forgive my son?"
Her words are a mother's cry. It's not just the untimely death of a child, or the reality that she will bury her child, it is also filled with such pain that her child died alone. As we talked the familiar hymn, "In the Garden," began to come to mind, and I asked her if she knew the song?
"It is one of my favorites," she replied.
We began to say the first verse together, "I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses..."
She stopped and began to cry. "He wasn't alone."
There seemed to be a renewed sense of peace. I came to the chorus and she joined in with me, "And he walks with me, and talks with me, and tells me I am His own..."
When tragedy strikes, our human condition struggles to understand the "Why?"
We live in an imperfect world where we try to remember that in Genesis that God proclaimed that the creation was "Good," but that mamy generations later, that "Goodness," has evolved into imperfection.
Recently someone shared with me, "And that's why God inserted Jesus into the world, so that we may once again have an example of what goodness can look like."
It is a journey for all of us. Coming to the garden alone, in search of a place where we can once again discover goodness, while realizing that even when we enter the garden alone, we carry all that the world has taught and given us.
It is there, however, that we will once again know that goodness, "And the joy we share, as we tarry there, none other, has ever known."
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.