Grief is hard.
While the rest of us can return to our lives and, for at least a few hours, forget, my brother is faced with his new reality every moment of every day.
The loss of his beloved, now a single daddy…
Reality is hard.
I want to know God and part of knowing Him must involve reconciling what I see around me to what I know of Him through His Words.
The seeking results in ideas and wonderings that reverberate through my heart.
You have walked with me through many of my searchings in the darkness. Will you join me for a few more?
Does God send suffering? Does He send pain?
Some would recoil at the idea.
But why? We see pain result in good all the time in our world. Go to any hospital and look around.
I talk with my youngest brother about this.
He of the scientific bent points out that many things that sometimes have “tragic” results are very important to the existence of the earth, even to our own existence: without wildfires, ecosystems would collapse; without seismic and volcanic activity, our earth could not refresh itself; hurricanes aid island ecosytems; the gene mutations that sometimes produce cancer prevent us from all being clones.
The Bible seems to suggest that God does, at least sometimes, send bad things:
We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life…But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. ~ II Corinthians 1
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” ~ John 9
Perhaps, though, whether or not He sends them doesn’t matter.
Bad things happen.
If God doesn’t send them, He certainly has the power to stop them. Yet He chooses to allow them to happen.
Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren’t. Either way, we’re for it. (C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed)
Either way we are left trying to reconcile these things with the God that we know to be good.
We are left trying to reconcile the hurt with His heart.
There are tears everywhere and God catches them, puts them into His bottle.
God is always good and we are always loved. Loved enough to be shaped into goodness of Christ Himself. (Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience)
This reconciliation is hard.
How have you done this? How have you reconciled these hard things with the character of our God?
Will you join me next week as I search through these ideas even more?