Why Susan?

August 31, 2013
by Robert Norminton

I host a weekly lectionary Bible study. Our study is truly ecumenical, with four Presbyterians, one Baptist, one Gospel Church member, and, until just a couple of months ago, one Anglican, a lady whom I will call Susan. She was a recent addition, introduced to us by an older lady in our group who had been friends with both Susan and her mother for many years. Susan had been raised an Anglican, but had lapsed from her denomination a long time ago. She watched Charles Price's ministry on Sunday television regularly. She was also a very private person, and apart from the fact that she lived alone, had been divorced for a long time, and had two sons who lived far away, we knew little else about her.

Nevertheless, Susan was like a breath of fresh air to our group. She brought laughter and a keen sense of humour to our deliberations. She was a searcher after biblical truth, very articulate, insightful, and always ready to contribute intelligently to our studies. She had an uncommon knack of coaxing unusual insights from the readings, provoking further thought and discussion. She was truly a "nice person", and we simply loved her.

In late June, the lady who had introduced Susan to our group grew concerned because she hadn't heard from her, and couldn't get hold of her. Her vehicle was still in her apartment's parking lot. Doors were forced, and Susan was found dead across her bed, a victim of diabetic shock. Most of us never knew she suffered from severe Type 1 diabetes.

The effect on our group has been to demoralize and diminish us. Now we know first-hand how true are the words John Donne wrote a long time ago:

    No man is an island,
    Entire of itself,
    Every man is a piece of the continent,
    A part of the main. …
    Any man's death diminishes me,
    Because I am involved in mankind,
    And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
    It tolls for thee.

Many questions have assailed us. How could a woman who, as we found out later, kept juices in every room against just such an eventuality — plus an emergency pager — be felled like that at the relatively young age of 63? How, God? And why, God? Shock and hurt — hurt felt all the more when she was cremated without service, as she wished. All these emotions and more have been and are being felt by all members of our group. Gradually — very gradually — has come acceptance, a necessary prerequisite to recovery.

Isaiah 55:8-9 – "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." (NKJV)

Acceptance means acknowledging that God's will must be done. Our group adjourned for the summer to nurse our grief, to gather our thoughts and fond memories of Susan, which will never fade completely, and to move on towards our recommencement come September. We believe that God has a place for Susan in heaven, and this comforts us.

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NKJV)

Prayer: Dear Father, comfort those of us who grieve. Raise us up from our despair, remind us of the wonderful love that You will never withhold from us and those we love, and set our feet firmly again on life's pilgrimage towards the beautiful eternity with You which awaits us. In Jesus' precious name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Robert Norminton <normin@vaxxine.com>
Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the wonderful thoughts Robert.


    Very thoughtful devotional, Robert, and one that causes many thoughts to cross my mind.
    (Texas)


    Thank you, Robert, for your thought provoking devotional. Many times we, as Christians, are tempted to question why, but we have to come back to the fact that we worship an all-knowing God – who loves us.
    Bless you and your loved ones.


    Thanks for sharing a devotional that shows a need to keep contacts with people we know and care for. It is very difficult to face these issues and not carry a load of guilt but God’s will always wins. Hugs have such healing power as your one liner is good advice. God bless you.


    Lovely devotional Robert. Thanks for sharing.


    So sorry to hear of your friend but grateful to be reminded that our lives may be short…even thought in God’s hands.


    I just have to share this as to how this quiet time has put me in awe this morning.
    Its a coincidence but its a blessing.
    This speak to a current situation with my family at the moment.
    My Grandma fell ill a few weeks ago. In fact it was an Aunt who chanced on her in her room when she was about to leave the house. Had she not walked into the room Grandma would have gone into a coma.
    After seeing the Doctor, she has been diagnosed as being diabetic unbelievably in her 80’s.
    Sharing the quiet time with the rest of the family.


    Good Afternoon Robert:
    I was touched by your devotional. Losing a dear friend, or even a pleasant acquaintence, in the Lord, is often so very hard to accept, especially when one realizes their death was sudden and so vert unexpected. Your words describe her as a person who was like “a breath of fresh air”, and with this in mind we know eternity will welcome her gracefully and with open arms. Her keen sense of humour will shine even in our Lord’s presence and her intelect concerning the studies of God’s word will be a blessing to her as she is made aware of His truths and wonders first hand.


    Dear Robert Norminton,
    Thank you for writing of this lady.
    We all need to be in touch with one another more — to know one another better.
    Keep writing.

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