Monday, August 29, 2011

Sadness and faith

I've been getting email updates from my former pastor, but current colleague and friend, about a little boy who had been suffering for a while with cancer and now has gone home to be with the Lord. I hated getting these updates, because it was almost always bad news in regards to his health. It brought on sadness, and would regularly almost bring me to tears. That's not easy to do unless I'm going through a period of depression and watching a sad movie while separated from family. 

Parents shouldn't have to bury their kids. They just shouldn't.

Sometimes life seems to ordered. It really does. For instance, when you by chance happen to run into someone across the country who lives right next door, or when you know that if X didn't happen, then Y wouldn't have. Or when you're trying to make it under the garage door before they made sensors and it lands on your head instead of your neck (that happened to me in elementary school). And you thank God for being in control. There are times when God feels so in control. A number of times. And I give my "approval" (of course he doesn't need it) or at least thanksgiving-but probably the former is more accurate.

And there are other times, like this, when God's goodness and His power don't seem to square with what's happening in the world. Those times become harder when its you, or your church family, and now it is you who find yourself now in the middle of a "Job-ean" storm. 

This is not a treatise on how or even why you should trust God in the midst of such uncertainty. This is simply my reflection, and what I have to do, so that I don't fall into Eeyore mode.

How do we know that God is out there or that He cares in the midst of this? Well, there are of course evidences of a zillion little things happening which indicate He is with us. But of course there are "indicators" to the contrary (though of course it does fit into the overall bible story of Creation-Fall-Redemption-Consummation) like children dying, and babies being born with heart defects to parents who love Him dearly.

Well, there are two options as I see it. Either the biblical view of God as both Sovereign and Good is true, or it is not. I either embrace the world as God sees it, or I can embrace some of the "indicators" to the contrary. Two options. Either way, the choice involves a faith commitment; it is not only about evidence or "indicators," as helpful as they have been for me.

I may not get a vote, but as a child of God, I have a voice. Sometimes that voice is to cry out, "Why Lord?" But I'm crying out to Someone. Someone who cares. Some who has experienced premature death. Someone who will return one day. That sounds crazy. But it is really no less crazy than being angry at no one, or even having a legitimate reason to be angry. That's where atheism begins to NOT make sense to me.

My faith commitment isn't as "crazy" as Soren Kierkegaard may have put it. There are indicators. But indicators make no sense without first trusting in the One who indicates His presence in His world. 

I'm sad for this family and this loss. I pray that they can see a Savior who cried when His friend died (John 11). I pray that they can also see a Savior who welcomes His child home with loving arms. Both are true and real in this hard to understand, fallen but redeemable world. 

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