God and I are in the middle of a big fight. At least I’m in the middle of a big fight with him; he may not even notice. “Oh, that gnat,” I hear him say in his voice like thunder. “She’s just getting pissy again. She’ll get over it. She needs me much more than I need her.”
Yesterday evening I talked to my sister. She asked me if I went to church. “NO,
I didn’t go to church,” I replied in my huffy voice. “I didn’t want to spend
time in his presence. I’m so damned mad at him I could just spit.”
I have a legitimate beef with God. I think he’s being really cruel, what
C.S. Lewis calls the “Cosmic Sadist and Eternal Vivisector.”* Yes, that
C.S. Lewis, the one who wrote Mere Christianity.
Here’s the deal. In April 2011 my brother Mark was murdered in his own front
yard, shot in the back at point-blank range by his next-door neighbor who was
annoyed that my brother’s dog wandered into his yard. It was beyond horrible.
And a couple of months ago my brother’s son Jasen was in a car wreck that
almost killed him. Jasen had broken bones and traumatic brain injury. In the
past few weeks he has regained consciousness and he is now talking. For that I am so grateful. But Jasen is
asking for his father. “Where’s Pop?” he asks his mother. “Have you seen my
father?” he says to the nurse. He remembers his mother, he remembers how to
read, he recognizes me, and he knows where he works. He even asks if he can go
outside and smoke. But he doesn’t remember that his father was murdered last
It’s bad enough that my brother got murdered. It’s awful that we have had
the additional heartache of seeing my nephew badly injured. But Lord, have a
heart—is this poor young man going to have to go through the agony of being
told—again—that his father is dead? Is my sister-in-law eventually going to
have to break the news to him?
Jasen is like a clone of his father Mark. He looks like him and acts like
him. He and his father even worked together in a car detailing business that
Mark started. They were really close and I can’t begin to imagine what Jasen
went through last year when Mark died. And the thought of him going through
that intense grief again is beyond comprehension.
Maybe it would be easier right now if I weren’t a believer. Now I’m a
believer with an attitude. Once again I’m pushed into a corner, forced to
accept that we mere mortals can’t understand God’s ways. I know that I have to
give up my idea of what is fair and just. I didn't create the universe and I'm not in charge. I know that I will never
understand God’s purpose. But I can’t help shaking my fist at him, shouting, “What
were you thinking? Is this really what you wanted? Maybe this has some inscrutable
purpose in your eyes, but where’s your sense of mercy?”
And what’s worse is that I know God will forgive me. He’ll take the high
road and be all benign and flawless like he always is. He’ll understand that I
may question his wisdom, I may think he is cruel, but he will forgive me for
being a weak woman. I know he’s going to win, but for now I’m just so doggone
mad at him.
* C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed, p. 38