Monday, November 12, 2012

Shaking my feeble fist at God

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 year.

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

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