August 10, 2011 by Heather Harris
My grandmother died of lung cancer when I was in 7th grade. It was the first real death I ever had to deal with, and I struggled with it. I loved my grandma. I looked up to her artistically and personally. She was a strong, independent, artistic woman, and I admired her for it. But then all of a sudden, she was gone, my grandfather following her within the year, and I was left wondering if God really did have a heart.
It was this time in my life when my faith was severely tested. I was angry at God for taking my grandmother, my role model, from me. I was angry that God hadn’t granted my fervent prayers to heal my grandparents’ cancer, so that they could be there when I graduated high school, or when I someday would get married. I was angry that I didn’t get my way. I felt like God was punishing me for something. I’d been a good, obedient daughter for most of my life, and I didn’t feel like it was fair. So I decided I would punish God (the nerve of me!). I stopped using my God-given talent in art.
Sure, I did the art projects I was assigned in school, but I didn’t do them to the best of my ability. I used to sketch constantly, and I stopped altogether. I decided if God was going to take something away from me, then I would take something from Him, and He would just have to deal with it.
What I didn’t see then was that it wasn’t God’s fault. The fact that my grandmother got sick was the result of her choice to smoke cigarettes since she was 12 years old. God gives us free will, and her cancer was the consequence of her bad choice. God didn’t make her sick, and whether or not He wanted her to be, she had to face the consequences of her choices. God didn’t create us with death in mind. That was a consequence of the choice to sin, and now we all one day have to face it.
Eventually I realized this and decided to come back to art my sophomore year of high school, but it still isn’t the same. The love, the passion for it, and the skills are still at my fingertips, but they were wounded and weakened when I gave it up. They’ve needed attention and nurturing to be brought back, and they still aren’t healed completely. But that’s because I’ve never really fully given my heart back to God, but that changes now.
I want freedom. I want unconditional love. I want hope. And in the words of Mumford and Sons in their song “The Cave”, I want “to know how to live my life as it’s meant to be.” The amazing thing is all I have to do is ask God and He’ll give it to me. It’s free, and it’s wonderful, and it’s lasting. Aren’t we lucky to have a God of restoration?