When Angie (my sister) died, my father started drinking quite a bit. I think he blames himself for her death. All he can think of is that he was supposed to protect her. He was the last person who saw her. She was staying at my parents house and the morning of her disappearance she asked him if he knew where her keys were. I think he said he was busy. She left and was not seen alive again by anyone in the family.

My mom kept my dad in line as she has always done. But now that she has suffered from a mentally and physically debilitating stroke and aneurysm, I just don’t think he knows what to do. He has had three DUIs in the last three years. Not good. But . . . you know what? I don’t know what to say to him. I think he just wants to die and go be with her. I love him very much even though we have never had much of a relationship. I don’t know anything worse than him going to jail. He has too much pride, but I guess things have changed. I don’t really know if he trusts the Lord. I have asked before, but it always seems so strange. I always feel like an 8 year old when I talk to him. I get scared.

Really, when I think of it, I have lost a sister and now have a 57 year old mom whose primary means of communication is singing a handful of songs. But my father . . . He has lost a daughter and now has a wife whose diapers he has to change.

I am sorry dad, if you are reading this. I don’t blame you for your disillusionment with life. I don’t blame you for trying to escape it. I don’t know what to say. I, like you, can’t fix anything. I wish I could. I thought I could. But I can’t.

You know . . . I don’t know how people make it who don’t believe in God’s sovereignty and knowledge of the future. I really don’t. I don’t know what I would do if I thought that God was sitting on the edge of His seat wondering what was going to happen next, cheering us on.

Is God a cheerleader? Or is he a coach? Or maybe a player in the game? I guess that is the question. Let’s just say, in my mind, if He is a cheerleader, He is awfully irrelevant, even if He is a cheerleader who loves me. But since I believe He is calling the shots and He is in control of the “game,” I know that I can make it through this and whatever else comes my way. It’s His program and I trust that He knows what He is doing. He has yet to lie to me. God has never promised me anything that He has gone back on. I dare not put a covenant in His mouth. Confusion is part of my life, but not disillusionment.

God cannot be controlled. I told my sister tonight that he has an agenda and it does not seem to be ours. He is in charge, not me. This is not as bad as it sounds, for my agenda, as nice and comfortable as it might be lacks the perspective of his plan. Sure, if I were God I would fix everything. I would clear out the hospitals, make sure that marriages last, cure depression, and feed the world. Wouldn’t you? But this does not make my agenda superior to God’s. I know that he has a game plan and that suffering is part of this game plan. In this I will rejoice . . . somehow I can. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking the game lasts forever.

I know it will all work together for good, I really do, but oh that it would come to a conclusion one way or another. I hope we are in the fourth quarter. Right now, I feel like I am in mourning delayed or mourning denied with my mom. With Angie, it is mourning postponed. But the game will go on.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

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