In John chapter 5 verse 17, Jesus told the Jews,
“My Father is always working, and I am working also.”
In Psalm 86, verses 8 through 10, David says,
“There is none like You among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like Yours.
All the nations You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord,
and shall glorify Your Name. For You are great and do wondrous things;
You alone are God.”
Yahweh alone is God. He is always working, and so is Jesus. Nobody works likes Him.
Who else would use a funeral to bring truth and life to a broken family?
When my father-in-law passed away right before Christmas, God gathered seven adult children from three different marriages and five different states all in one place for the first time in 28 years. God gave my husband the opportunity to host his siblings as they hung out together, and talked, and discovered how connected they really are. They’d spent their lives thinking their dad loved his other children more, when in reality, their dad didn’t demonstratively love any of them well. As they shared memories and confronted childhood hurts, Michael and his siblings found real relationships with each other, even planning a “Brothers Weekend” to continue connecting with and loving each other.
Who but God would use that very same funeral to give my daughter, who struggles with anxiety and extreme stage fright, the platform to declare His praise?
After the funeral, we all gathered at Granddaddy’s house—and when I say “we,” I mean seven adult brothers and sisters and their significant others, a step-mother and her siblings, an aunt, a step-sister and her husband, and lots and lots of cousins both children and adults. For my daughter, who struggles with noise and crowds and had already navigated days of extreme emotions and transitions, the situation had the potential to shut her down.
After the funeral, I’m changing from my funeral clothes into comfortable clothes when I hear Cami playing her melodica in the next room. If you’re unfamiliar with a melodica, just know that there isn’t a quiet way to play it. I hear her playing and I think, “Thank You, Lord, for giving her courage to play in front of people.”
I gather my clothes and walk out into the hallway where Cami meets me. “Mom?” The tiny hallway is crowded with two of us standing there.
“Yes, Love?” I try to maneuver around her in order to lay down my clothing burden. She takes a minute too long to answer, so I look into her eyes.
She takes a deep breath and whispers, “Would you sing so I can play the ukulele?”
Okay, this is new, I think. Usually she plays her musical instruments in her room with the door closed, or in the basement with the headphones on, or when no one is home so no one can hear her. My daughter used to cry during her piano lessons because she was embarrassed for anyone to hear her play, and she plays better than I do.
We’ve never made music together.
I say, “Sure, Honey. I’d love to sing while you play.” I put my funeral clothes down in a pile and walk around the corner. . .
. . .into a room filled with people—relatives, yes, but people Cami barely knows. And she wants to play in front of them.
“What song are we doing?” I ask her.
“Well, I know Good, Good Father pretty well. What about that one?”
What about that one?!? Only the worship song that undoes me and ushers me into God’s sweet Presence as I cry the ugly cry. What about that one??
“Okay. I know that one.”
Someone holds Cami’s ukulele songbook that I made for her, and she leans over to me and quietly says, “Just to warn you: I don’t strum very well.”
I’m just thrilled she’s willing to strum at all. But I don’t tell her that. “It’s okay, Love. You just strum, and I’ll follow you.” And she begins.
I start to sing, and I see my husband around the corner in the kitchen. His head whips up, and his jaw drops, and I can’t look at him anymore. He gets it. He gets what this moment is.
As I begin to sing the familiar words, simultaneously I’m having a conversation with myself and with Jesus. Because we women can do that, right?
Okay, Candi, don’t freak out. Don’t feel how important this moment is, or it will freak Cami out.
Jesus, thank You for this moment!
Okay, hold it together. Don’t cry.
Yes, mark this moment in time. Worship Jesus through this amazing song; but don’t fall apart. You can do that later.
Jesus! How amazing You are! Help me hold it together right now, Lord. Please.
And then I reach the bridge of the song: “You are perfect in all of Your ways. You are perfect in all of Your ways to us.”
Love so undeniable, I can hardly speak. Peace so unexplainable, I can hardly think as You call me deeper still into Love. You’re a good, good Father. It’s Who You are. And I’m loved by You. It’s who I am.
Who but God would arrange a gathering of a family who was bitter and distrustful toward one another, and after over forty years of strife and misunderstanding, provide a song and a moment for His Truth to be displayed and proclaimed? Who but God would fold into that moment an opportunity for my daughter to find courage to use her gift in front of people, include me in the process, and show her dad and me that He is working out His will and His plan for her—He is freeing her voice—His way?
God the Father is always working. Jesus is working also. Not just for me, but for you, too.
Take some moments this week to think about the place in your life that’s hard, the place that seems hopeless—the situation that feels like God has forgotten. Ask Jesus to give you new eyes to see His working for you, loving you fiercely, and fighting for you. He is always working, but it doesn’t often look like what we expect. . .because nobody works like Him.
As He shows you His involvement in your circumstances, praise Him. As He calls you deeper still into His Love for you, run. Run towards Him—even if it seems odd, even if you’re afraid—especially when you don’t understand what He’s doing or why He’s doing it this way. He loves you, and He is always working, and He is perfect is all of His ways to you.