“Why didn’t you, God?” Esther snapped. She slammed the lady’s room stall door and jerked the lock into its latch. “We trusted you. We prayed.” She dropped with a thud onto the commode. “This was suppose to be the perfect vacation. Why did you let this happen?” She glared at the shut door.
Down the corridor, at their airport gate, her husband, Bob, hunched over a phone with the receiver pressed tight against his ear. Their oldest daughter, in the seat beside his, leaned toward her dad, intent on every word. Esther had heard just enough to know that the call was from their youngest daughter and her boyfriend, traveling from Nebraska to join them in Colorado, and that the two college kids had had a serious accident.
“Drug how many feet by an eighteen wheeler?” Bob’s eyes had stared into hers, damp and overly bright. The first call to board their flight had been announced. Esther had fled to the ladies room.
“So now, God.” She jutted her chin. “Everyone else is in route to the slopes from three different states. The three of us here, my brother, his kids, and now this. It’s too late to call this ski trip off. We knew it was a lot of travel. A lot could go wrong. We prayed for special safety.”
She clinched her fist and hit her thigh. Hard. If she could have, she would have beat God in the chest, but she didn’t want to get that close. She wanted to hurl things at him from a distance. Things like sticks and stones. Things like words.
Through clinched teeth, she spat words that she had never uttered to any authority, much less God. Punishment would have been swift. Repressed anger had served her well. When she was a child, even her mother, when highly vexed, had denied that she was angry. “No, I’m not angry.” Her mother’s eyes would bulge. “I’m determined.” So who was she to be angry with God? God was God. One didn’t question the Omnipotent.
Esther snatched at the toilet paper. “There was no reason to allow this to happen, God. You had no right. None. You should have protected them.”
“Esther, I did protect them.” The voice resonated, audible and clear. “Who is Bob talking to? Your daughter. I did protect them.”
Esther’s hands stopped midair and flew together to cover her face. When she could breathe, she exhaled in a gush, inhaled slowly, deeply, and then tremblingly exhaled. Someone unseen had stepped inside the stall. Someone had ordained it sacred. Her ears strained for one more word. Instead, her own voice repeated, “I did protect them.”
“You did protect them?”
She hurried out and back to the gate. “Are they hurt, Bob? How badly? What happened?” She joined her husband in line to board.
“The car is probably totaled, but neither one has a scratch. Didn’t even go to the hospital.”
The two were renting a car. They would meet the others in Colorado, only one day late.
For once, words failed.
Later, high above the clouds, she had plenty of time to talk. A humble child and a merciful, Father God held a quiet conversation in the most subdued tones:
“I was angry with you, God. I was really angry. I let you have it.”
“You sure did.”
“But you let me do it. You gave me the freedom to be honest with my emotions.”
“Yes, I did.”
“So your chest, which I wanted to pound, is big enough for all of my venom.”
“It sure is.”
“So with you, I can be honest with my emotions.”
“Yes, you can.”
“Anything. Especially when it comes to you and me.”
“And you talked to me. Out loud.”
“In a commode stall of all places.” Esther’s smile turned into a giggle. This God of hers had a sense of humor.
“Yes, in a commode stall, but then I like to flush anger down the drain.”
“Behold, you desire truth in the inward being and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” Psalms 51:6
“The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” Psalms 145:17 & 18
“Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates judgments that are true and make for peace. Zechariah 8:16