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Purity Girls
Purity 101

A Rae of Sonshine
By Amy Schafer

 

     Rae sat quietly listening to the general buzz of the lunchroom as well as the conversation of the friends at her table. Several of her Christian friends were attempting to witness to the new kid in school, a boy named Jeremy.
     "I don't believe that God exists," Jeremy declared, frowning and setting his jaw in a hard line of opposition. "If He does, then why does He allow so many bad things to happen? Either He's not "all-powerful," as you claim, or He can't be loving--you can't have it both ways."
     Rae heard her friend Laticia launch into an explanation of how the world's problems are a result of sin, but her voice was drowned out by the echo of Jeremy's statement, "either He's all-powerful or loving, not both…"
     Tears stung the back of her eyes as she remembered a hospital bed and a pale, nearly transparent face, radiant brown eyes set in deep purple circles, and a forehead dotted with tiny beads of perspiration, a tell-tale sign of the pain. Once again, Rae could hear the soft and tender voice… "I will always love you, Rae…don't forget."
     "Don't forget," the last words she ever heard her mother say, but Rae knew she was already starting to forget the little things, and she had to look at pictures to remind herself of what her mother had looked like before she got sick.
     Rae's world had been so different then, four years ago, when it was her mom who came to wake her up for school each day, rubbing her back and singing a medley of songs about waking up and sunshiny days.
     Rae's brow wrinkled as she tried to remember the words of those once-familiar songs. "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…" she'd sing. Then, "Time to get up, my sweet Rae of sunshine," she'd add, with a kiss on Rae's forehead.
     After her mother went to heaven, her dad had tried to keep up the tradition for her sake, coming in to sing to Rae on her first day back to school. "You are my--" but he got no further. Unable to choke out the next word, he fled from the room, shoulders convulsing in great, heaving sobs. From then on, Rae set an alarm and got herself out of bed each morning.
     Why had God taken her mother away? She remembered the early days, when her mom was first diagnosed with lymphoma, and the pastor had been called to come pray for her. He'd announced it to the whole church, and so many had promised to pray daily. Several friends had told other friends around the country, who in turn had asked their churches to pray for Rae's mom's healing.
     Rae remembered her confidence that God would answer their prayers and that her mom would soon be healed. Instead, weeks turned into months and no good news. Then one day, Rae's mom was too weak to get out of bed at all.
     For her mom's sake, Rae had still pretended to be

 

cheerful, bringing notes and vases of flowers to her mother's bedside, but her heart felt like it weighed a ton. Within three months, Rae's mother was gone.
     At that point, Rae had wanted to turn her back on God, but her mom's example, in life and in death, was what stopped her. Her mom had trusted God completely when she was sick and dying, just the same as when she was healthy and full of life.
     She'd said it was only by His strength that she'd made it through--and it had seemed at times that she'd had superhuman strength, caring for and loving her family, putting their needs first, until the very end. Rae knew that wasn't natural.
     In fact, Rae had seen that the sicker her mother became, the more she came to depend on God. Her Bible became inseparable to her; Rae never saw one without the other. The lonely bed-ridden hours weren't lonely to her at all, because they were spent in fellowship with God.
     Rae knew that if she were ever in trouble, she'd need a close relationship with God as her foundation, so she could follow her mother's beautifully gracious example. She couldn't turn her back on God--not now, not ever. He was a part of her, just as He had been a part of her mother, in good times and in bad.
     Rae looked down at her untouched lunch tray, and noticed that the others were almost finished eating. Her friend Laticia was saying, "I'm really sorry that happened to you, Jeremy. Sometimes we don't understand God's purpose in allowing bad things to happen. But He is real, and He does love you very much."
     Now looking at Jeremy, as though for the first time, Rae noticed that his set jaw was actually trembling a little, and his eyes were reddish with repressed tears. Suddenly, she remembered the verses her pastor had read with her father and her after her mother's death.
     2 Corinthians 1:3-4, "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
     Rae took a deep breath. She knew what she had to do.
     "Jeremy," Rae spoke for the first time, "I know how it feels to question God about why He allows bad things to happen. I've wondered that myself since my mother died."
     Jeremy's face softened, and for a moment their eyes locked in mutual sympathy. "I'm sorry to hear that," he said, in a gentler tone, "How can you still believe in God after something like that happens?"
     Rae breathed a silent prayer. Her painful experience had given her this opportunity to share her mother's unwavering faith and the comfort she'd found in God's precious Word.

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