My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. [Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)]
After Jane Marczweski’s stunning performance on America’s Got Talent last June, I posted a devotion (It’s Okay) about her. Known as Nightbirde, the 30-year-old vocalist (and three-time cancer survivor) sang an original song called “It’s Okay” and received the “golden buzzer” from judge Simon Cowell. Last week, the brave young woman had to withdraw from the competition because her health has taken a turn for the worse. In an interview on CNN with Chris Cuomo, she shared that her metastatic breast cancer has now invaded both lungs and liver and her fight with cancer is demanding all of her energy and attention.
When we see a young person like Nightbirde, a beautiful person both inside and out who seems so deserving of good future, it’s easy to ask the age-old question of “Why?” Why do some of the best people, the ones with the most to offer, seem to suffer the most or have their futures cut short when many of the worst and worthless seem to breeze along without a problem? Why, when life begins to look up does God so often pull out the rug? “Life doesn’t always give breaks to those that deserve it,” said the singer while adding, “but we knew that already.” Indeed, we did; nevertheless, we don’t like it!
When Cuomo asked Nightbirde if she ever wonders, “Why?” the young woman replied, “I try not to occupy myself with questions that are too big for myself to answer. It’s a waste of time. You know, just because it’s a mystery doesn’t mean it’s the absence of meaning. Sometimes, the mystery means there is more meaning there than we can even understand and so I accept that and I let go of the question because it’s too heavy.”
Indeed, much in our lives seems inexplicable and far beyond our comprehension. But, as the young singer pointed out, incomprehensible or unknowable doesn’t mean meaningless or pointless. It’s a mystery why Nightbirde’s promising future probably will be cut short; then again, it’s a mystery why my mother died when I was fifteen, why my brother was struck with inoperable cancer at the moment his life finally took an upturn after years of trouble, and why the God-fearing believers on my prayer list have been burdened with things like mesothelioma, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, schizophrenia, and chronic pain. This young woman’s words remind us all that our lack of understanding of God’s purpose doesn’t mean that what happens is without meaning.
I can’t understand quantum physics any more than I can understand the ways of God. The difference between the two is that, given enough time, effort, and tutoring, I eventually could understand quantum physics but I will never be able to fully understand God. While we can come to know and love Him, we never will be able to comprehend His mysterious ways. Indeed, some questions are so weighty that we’d never make sense of God’s answer even if He explained it to us!
This optimistic young woman says she’s planning for her future rather than her legacy and says, “I want to be the bird that sings in anticipation of the good things that I trust are coming.” As a Christian, Nightbirde doesn’t need to ask God “Why?” because she knows good things are coming, whether in this world or the next!