Actually I know why. I don’t know the reason, the purpose or the outcome. But, I know the background and I know the Truth behind whatever the reason & purpose is.
Let me back up, but before I do I want to say that if you’re like me when you hear what’s going on, you might question why. You might feel some feelings of injustice or anger, annoyance, frustration, sadness or nothing at all. Granted you’re far removed from the situation, you’re not physically invested in the lives of the affected.
But I am invested.
I’m in the situation and I love the family affected. So while this situation might seem “foreign” I know it will likely trigger a memory of a time in your life when you, your family, or someone you loved dearly went through something that seemed unjust or a terrible heartache and pain so deep that you had questions, you had uncertainty, anxiety, anger, fear, sadness, etc.
I haven’t written much about this besides my initial ask for prayer back in March because it has been a bit overwhelming and I haven’t had the time, but mostly because I didn’t know what to say. In March, when I asked for prayer for Mariko, God answered our prayers. After a week without food or water, and even after vomiting up blood. God did an amazing thing. He kept Mariko from certain death and even gave him health.
We took Mariko to the best clinic in town when we saw that he was taking a turn for the worse. At that point in time he weighed 84 pounds (and the guy is 6’3″).
One of his days there at the clinic, he was literally on death’s doorstep. He was barely able to speak, but he was saying things like “A man know when he’s going to die”, or “I’ve never seen darkness like this before”.
The next day when we came to visit he couldn’t stop talking about what happened to him during the night. An angel visited him.
You might have some skepticism at this point and that’s fine. But after talking with him for over an hour we were convinced it was true.
Plus the physical evidence of it was there. Mariko hadn’t eaten anything in over a week. But there he was sitting up eating a full bowl of food and drinking loads of milk and juice. Mariko, who the day before could barely lift his own arm and claiming that he was going to die, was now able to sit up and eat. And even 2 days later was able to walk fairly unassisted. So when we brought Mariko home, he was happy, getting healthier, still very malnourished, but clearly out of the woods and on the mend.
But only a few days after bringing Mariko back home, his wife Veronica died. Completely unexpected and as a complete shock to us all. It was hard to say the least. It left us wondering & praying even harder for Mariko to recover.
The last month and a half, Mariko’s health was up and down. His TB was under control and the HIV was suppressed, which is good. But there seemed to be other things going on that we couldn’t figure out. He was getting weaker again, but through all the clinics and testing he had joy.
One of those days of testing was spent with me. I took him and his daughter (to help with translating) to Kampala for testing. A 3-hour drive, a 2-hour wait, a terrible process for x-rays, waiting again for results, the the long drive back home.
At the end of it all, after I had helped him out of the car and back into his bed, he said with his weak and soft voice, “Thank you, very much” with a smile. Mariko spent 9-hours getting shuffled around, poked, prodded, asked tons of questions, he must have been so exhausted and yet I’m the one told thank you by him.
All I could do in that moment was smile, sit down on his bed next to him, put my arm around him and say, “Well done today Mariko, thank you my friend.”
That was a week and a half ago.
This last Thursday (4 days ago), Mariko passed away. It was unbelievably hard. It left us with a lot of questions. And it left us gutted and hurting. With Mariko’s death we’re now currently wrestling through what is next and best for the 5 children (the oldest 13, the youngest 2).
It is an incredibly complicated situation and we want the absolute best for them all. Right now, however, there is not an ideal situation. So prayers for this would be greatly appreciated.
So here I am & maybe you too. Questioning why this happened? Why leave 5 children without parents?
Maybe you’re even questioning the “injustice” of it or maybe you’re questioning the goodness of God.
But let me say this, I praised God when I went into the room where Mariko’s body was lying that Thursday morning. I praised God for His goodness, His mercy, His sovereignty & His plan. And I prayed He’d be faithful to direct us forward. We’re seriously hurting about this loss and for the family, but we’re able to rest on one truth.
God is absolutely, universally, and inexhaustibly sovereign over all things. There is no inch of creation that is not claimed, ruled and upheld by God.
Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. ~Psalm 115:3
[God] works all things according to the counsel of his will ~Eph 1:11
I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ~Job 42:2
All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” ~ Daniel 4:35
I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. ~Isaiah 46:9-10
And so I can rest on the fact that God is sovereign over all things, big & small. Because I know, ”that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” ~Rom 8:28
And I also know that not even sparrows fall to the ground outside of God’s care (Matt 10:29). Mariko is worth so much more than a sparrow and I know that this did not take God by surprise. Because God says, “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” ~ Deut 32:39
And this leaves me able to rest on the fact that God is completely in control and I really have no control. None. And everything I am able to do is only by His grace that he extends to me. I am so unbelievably thankful to that He has chosen to use my life in the way he has.
Whether I die tomorrow or whatever troubles may come, or the terrible things I see and deal with in the world. I can trust and rely on the fact that God is God, I am just a man and I cannot always see His plan. But He is good and in control.