In my last blog (which you can see here) I wrote the phrase “…it made more sense than anything in my god-forsaken life” – and I added, “because i’ve been feeling god-forsaken.” I said this as an afterthought of sorts and I realize people reading my blog don’t really know me and don’t know where I’m really coming from, and that I might want to say a little more about it.
I’ve had a lot of questions in my 42 years, but none of them quite as hard to grapple with as why an all powerful God let my sister die if it was really in His power to heal her. It was a hard one for her as well. This is not my post-tragedy, I finally have the answers blog, but I do want to talk about what I said.
I think things tend to be simpler than we make them out to be. I believe the issue of death really is as simple as we live in a broken world and we will all die at some point since none of our bodies are immortal. This is just a fact. We don’t have to like it.
I think when we try to explain what we can’t know or complicate things adding meaning and intention to sickness and death, we start asking the wrong questions and get ourselves in a world of hurt and confusion. We can’t measure life and death on a scale of knowledge and explain it all. We just can’t. We can only see what we can see and beyond that, is faith.
Some find it comforting to put faith aside and put all their trust in scales and balances of knowledge and what they can see, control and predict… It makes things tidy to say there’s nothing but us in the universe. That’s ok, its a very human thing to do, most of us wonder if this isn’t the case at some point or another. When some conclude that we are alone in the universe (or that we are indeed God-forsaken) it does not prove that faith is some great hoax, it’s simply means they are seeing life through the lens of humanity. It’s simply using the wrong scale to draw our conclusions.
When we encounter suffering we can not explain, and we are using the scales of human knowledge, it’s tempting to conclude that we are God-forsaken or have been duped by some great cosmic myth. But regardless of anything that has happened, pain does not get to dictate His existence, touting either He is cruel or does not exist at all. These are conclusions born out of the pain and tension of not having answers. It’s hard to not have answers. These conclusions are born out of fear and suffering. I’ve witnessed this first hand, but these are not the only possible conclusions, and to stop here is stopping short of the life we were created for. It’s just hard to see clearly through pain.
I have felt like I have been forsaken by God. Loss and death and suffering are hard for us here on this earth, it’s hard to see through, it’s hard to breathe through. It really does seem easier at times to just scrap the whole business of not having all the answers and limit the existential possibilities to what we can touch or see for ourselves.
But there is more than we can see with our eyes, even science is limited to what it can see and explain. That’s what makes life so wonderful. I do ache and mourn, unable to make sense of everything, but i’m thankful that we get to choose to keep asking the questions, to keep surrendering, and keep discovering the depth of beauty we were created to experience through the pain and suffering.
There are some who believe there is more for us, more to us, and more to be done by us than can be seen and fully understood by our human minds and capabilities. We are called mystics.
We were created for more – more than we can observe and measure. There is beauty beyond us and in us that astounds us to our core when our eyes are opened to it. I believe the Spirit of God made us to be like Himself, to reflect Him, and know as we are known by Him – Anything less is cutting ourselves short, which we can absolutely do when we get get side tracked by the things we can’t explain. Which I’m sorry to break it to those who put their faith in the knowledge of scales and measurements – but we won’t ever be able to explain it all.
Understanding this is called humility. This is usually really hard for us humans.
It’s good to ask questions. We must ask them. We must have a safe place to lay our raw guts, thoughts, and fears out on the table and say what we really mean. We have to do better as the church to give people that safe place, and as the church, I offer myself as that place to anyone who wants to ask the hard questions – even though I don’t have all the answers. And that, to me, is proof that God has not forsaken me and that He is alive in the church. I am still here. I am still breathing through the worst pain yet, I am alive in my spirit and aware of His goodness and I am still walking. This is miraculous to me.
I have taken a long, hard look at what I believe over the past 6 years and while some things I believed fell away, I still find I am face to face with Him – even after asking the hard questions. Facing the truth doesn’t drive you away from God, it connects you to Him. He has met me exactly where I am, in the middle of the unanswered questions, in the middle of my pain. This tells me there surely is a God and that He is not cruel, but that He is good, and that —
I am not God-forsaken.