can they really both exist?

how do you reconcile miserable realties like children with leukemia; homeless men and women with no place other than a dirty, cold park bench to rest their heads at night; seemingly random acts of violence; terrorism; innocent families broken apart by death and disease with a GOD that promises not to abandon us? … with a GOD whose sole purpose is to love?

in my opinion, this is the hardest question man has ever attempted to answer.

***

should we even have an answer?

i have always struggled with a response to this question.

how do you tell someone that you firmly believe GOD is constantly and consistently fighting to be close to each one of us and pour HIS love on us – while their life story seems to prove the opposite, that GOD has forgotten them?

“how priceless is your unfailing love! both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.”
-psalms 36:7

this may sound backwards, but i believe the answer to this question somehow lies in our answer to suffering.

almost every day, i am drawn closer to GOD because of the tragedy and suffering in the world around me.

my response to cling to HIM proves even further to me that HE exists. when the world seems to be falling apart around me, i find comfort in HIM and in the people HE has lovingly placed in my life.

“i am pretty sure one need look no further than people’s responses to adversity to find evidence that there is something in the world that resists tragedy, and seeks to overturn the evils of seeming fate … maybe that’s the best answer to the patently ridiculous problem of trying to reconcile all the very visible evil and suffering in the world with the existence of a GOD who is not actually out to get us: we suffer and we don’t give up.”
-chris adrian, “the hardest question” (chris’ second novel, the children’s hospital, was published by mcsweeney’s last year. he is a pediatrician and divinity student in boston.)

the fact of a GOD that loves us is proven to me in the millions of hearty people in the world fighting terrible discomfort, bravely facing deeper pain than i will ever know. from the smiling homeless woman begging each and every morning in franklin park on my way to work to the children fighting cancer, with bright hopes for a long future, as they fight a daily battle against a disease they did not deserve.

their responses point to a being that is bigger than us. a SOMEONE who is on our side. a GOD who loves. a GOD that is reflected in all of us, in our determination and will to survive amidst seemingly impossible circumstances. at one time or another, if we’re true to ourselves, we all seem to possess a particular buyoancy of spirit when all odds seem against us.

HE is there, and although we may think HE should be acting like a super hero a lot more often – watching us from the clouds and swooping in to fix our problems as quickly as they appear, HIS comfort and peace are much more healing than superman could ever hope to be.

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One Response

  1. Anna, I tend to agree with you on this. Another point I’ve been thinking about this year is that we have a God who has actually entered into our suffering… he is not aloof, simply spectating as we weep. He entered into history to take the Fall upon himself and so we can affirm that his comfort is not trite… its real hope for real groanings that are waiting to be ultimately quieted forever.

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