Rejecting the EITHER; accepting the OR.

Life gets tough.  Expectations go unmet and frustration rumbles through our emotions like thunder from a distant storm.

I remember a time in recent years that church work felt like that for me.  We moved across the country, leaving family and friends and a church community that I dearly loved, to take on another ministry challenge.  After several years in my new position, I was struggling to see why God allowed the stress that was affecting my faith, my family and my sanity.

Finally, I sat down with a Pastor/friend of mine and dribbled my irritation all over his desk.  He leaned forward, looked me dead in the eye and simply said, “EITHER, God has made a terrible mistake OR He has you here for a purpose.”  EITHER … OR.

Now, I know the character of God.  I know that He isn’t surprised by anything and that He orchestrates and weaves my life story into a saga that is uniquely mine.  Based on that truth, I had to reject the EITHER  and accept the OR.  God knows what He is doing.  He isn’t surprised by anything and He doesn’t make mistakes.

The sunset at the intersection, 5 seconds before the accident
The car in which Makenzie was a passenger.

Fast forward (or reverse) to June 3rd of last year.  God knew (even before she was born) that Makenzie would be on a photo shoot with her dance friends that night.  He knew that at 8:06pm, they would get into the car and start their journey home.  He knew that the beautiful sunset He painted on the canvas of the sky, would be Makenzie’s last on this earth.  He knew that at 8:10pm, at a horrible intersection in Houston, that their car and a truck would violently meet, taking Makenzie’s life and changing countless others.

God did not stand on the corner, witness the accident and say, “WHOA!  I didn’t see that coming.”  (That’s the EITHER, which I have rejected).  Somehow, in some way, for some reason, my precious Lord scripted that scene to fit within the greater play.

Right now, I see glimpses of purpose; shadows of His plan.  And as the whole thing unfolds I will reject the EITHER and accept the OR.

“I don’t think the way you think.
The way you work isn’t the way I work. God’s Decree.”  (Isaiah 55:8, The Message… Click to read this in context)



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8 thoughts on “Rejecting the EITHER; accepting the OR.

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  1. I, like Nancy, also question that God scripted these tragedies. I know He is in control and can do anything at anytime. But He is the one that put the world in motion and established the laws of gravity, inertia, motion etc. He gave man free will that we then abused sending us to eternal damnation were it not for His grace. But with that free will also comes the consequences of our choices – driving too fast, drinking too much, putting the wrong things as priorities in our lives. I believe God grieved the loss of Makenzie in this world because He knew how much joy she brought to so many and that as His child, she was a beautiful witness. I believe God grieved the loss of our Aaron because he loved so many and loved life so dearly. But the circumstances that brought them to the end of their earthly lives was not caused by God, rather allowed – as those laws of nature from so long ago continue to work. Could He have intervened? Of course? Why not? I will ask Him that very question as soon as I can. But He also rejoiced to receive these beautiful children into His eternal kingdom even as He held us in His hands to comfort us through our anguish!! I read “The Shack” recently – it mesmerized my mind as I pondered whether this could, in fact, be another perspective about the “why?” – I want to read it again and try to digest it better. I know God knew when our children would leave us, but I don’t want to think it was His plan…..

    1. Thanks Colleen for wording that so well. I believe God grieves the loss of our loved ones – as He hurts with us and comes along side us. He too lost a son. I too believe that He also rejoices with open arms as they enter Heaven. I lost my mom a few weeks after Makenzie. It was very sudden and unexpected and I even think there were some medical (human) errors made in her case. It left us with lots of frustration and shock but I never once believed God caused it. He knew when her last breath would be.
      I know she lived a long life-so it is a different loss than losing a child- but we still lost our vibrant, loving mom and God cried with us- He didn’t intervene and He welcomed her on June 15th into His loving arms.
      Mankind messed up this world and illness, mistakes and accidents are a biproduct of it.
      I too have read the Shack and have “chewed” on it. I probably need to read it again. It is very deep. Not sure I can read it again yet.

  2. I am struggling with the idea that God “scripted” the scene (or accident). I believe God knows all and all to come but I believe He allows the world and it’s illnesses, crimes, accidents… to happen.
    Why He doesn’t intervene at times – I will never understand till I get to ask Him face to face- I know He can bring good from all things-even these tragic accidents in life.
    I just can’t believe He scripted it.

  3. I still get chills when I see that amazing sunset picture and the cloud formation on the right side that looks like an upward-facing hand reaching down from the sky. Whenever I drive through that intersection, which I do 2-3 times a week, I always see the pink memorial cross and flowers for Makenzie planted there and lift up a prayer for all of you. Thinking of you often!

  4. I’m with you, my brother……………can’t wait to see the “or” He has in store for your life. It I S all about Him.

    Ellen Kistner

  5. So many EITHERS and ORS in this life…sometimes gets so confusing that discernment between the two seems almost impossible (at least for me). Sometimes it feels as though I must have ‘chosen’ too many “eithers”, not enough “ors” and really ticked HIM off. Having you point this out (or, rather, your friend point this out) helps me to remember that maybe HE isn’t MAD at me, just trying to shape me? (Boy, I sure hope that HE sees some progress soon–enough that He can stop with the chisels and hammers and switch to–I don’t know–maybe some fine grit sand paper–for a while?) Thanks, Todd, for the perspective. I clearly see the ‘OR’ for you…you continue to guide and comfort others even through all that you guys have been working through in your lives.

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