“…faith isn’t about having everything figured out ahead of time; faith is about following the quiet voice of God without having everything figured out ahead of time.”
― Rachel Held Evans, A Year of Biblical Womanhood
Rachel Held Evans died today. I’m still having trouble believing it.
I loved Rachel’s writings. Her blog posts and her books. While you may not agree with everything she wrote, she was fearless in her quest for the truth about who God is. She’s helped me tremendously in my journey to becoming the person I am today. She wasn’t afraid to ask the questions I was wrestling with, and it encouraged me to hear that I wasn’t the only one who didn’t understand it all. I wasn’t the only one who was searching for God outside of the framework and traditions that I had grown up with.
In her writings I found a reflection of myself.
I have her books in my house. I will never read them the same way again.
Rachel was only 37 years old. That’s one year younger than me. I texted my good friend today to share with her that I’m having trouble processing this one. It seems that we put a layer of invincibility around people who are famous. When that fantasy comes crashing down to meet reality, it reminds you that no one is immune to death. It leaves you feeling pretty shaky.
I know that thousands, if not millions of people were praying for Rachel’s healing and her recovery. I know she has a husband and two little people who need her, and now she’s gone. It would seem that God turned his back on our prayers and on Rachel and her family. After walking my own journey of pain, I know that this is not the truth. That God is still good, even when we don’t understand. I don’t think that means we can’t wish he would have answered differently.
Today I am going to sit and listen to God. I’m not going to ask why because he never really answers that question. I am, however, going to wait and see what he says to me about life and about love and about Himself.
I am reminded of the Narnia series, in which Lucy asks Aslan what would have happened in another circumstance. This is the quote:
“But what would have been the good?”
Aslan said nothing.
“You mean,” said Lucy rather faintly, “that it would have turned out all right – somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?”
“To know what would have happened, child?” said Aslan. “No. Nobody is ever told that.”
“Oh dear,” said Lucy.
“But anyone can find out what will happen,” said Aslan. “If you go back to the others now, and wake them up; and tell them you have seen me again; and that you must all get up at once and follow me – what will happen? There is only one way of finding out.”
That’s always stayed with me. No one is ever told what would have or could have happened. We won’t know why Rachel died today, leaving behind a family that needed her. We won’t know what could have happened if God had chosen to answer differently.
But we are told that we can find out what will happen. If we chose to keep going, keep following, keep searching, keep living life.
I’m going to try that today. I’m going to keep going, keep asking, keep searching, and keep remembering what God has already taught me.
That was the way Rachel lived. And I’m going to do my best to follow in her footsteps.