I was talking to someone the other day about grief. I was relating my experience in India, and while I had seen tragedy before, something about it changed me, struck me deeply.
Even as I write this, it seems almost silly if I try to compare.
I have always been at an arm’s length from true tragedy.
Right now a couple I have known for years are grieving over their baby girl. She died in her mother’s arms, only three hours old.
A few weeks ago, a plane crashed killing four young men, while one brave and beautiful girl survived.
When I say I can’t imagine, I really can’t.
How do you see what you see and experience what you experience and still find joy?
How do you hang on to a faith that seems at times to be unraveling like an old knitted sweater? Frail. Chilly. Hardly keeping you warm.
You feel like you should be getting stronger the more you go through, but at times the reality of your situation knocks you off your feet.
Maybe it’s not the death of a loved one, or a loss of innocence.
Maybe you are just tired. Tired from the day-to-day monotony. Tired of never seeing your dreams come to pass.
Tired of feeling like you’re sitting on a bench, like your trapped in this time warp while everyone else is moving forward.
Maybe you’ve been fed a lot of bad news, it surrounds you when your phone rings, when you hear or read the local and national news.
How are you supposed to find hope in a society like that?
Small children are being kid-napped and sold as sex slaves.
Good people are going through crushing heart-break.
You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t occasionally have that voice, that awful whisper when you are lying in bed at night, or shocked by news of another awful tragedy,
Where is God?
It’s a question maybe you’re afraid to ask.
A question you think is only for the weak of faith, the skeptics.
It’s a question that probes so deep, when left unanswered can change you, make you into someone you never imagined you would be.
It’s a question that haunts everyone, and I dare say, it must haunt everyone.
If you don’t delve into those words, embrace them at the core of your grief and your questions, their will be a deeper void then even the experience that brought up this question caused.
In India I met a man who spent his life loving people dying of AIDS. The hospital was run by Hindus, and at first they wouldn’t let him in because they knew he was Christian. He came back time and time again, begging them just to let him in to volunteer.
“I’ll do anything,” he said desperately.
“Anything?” They asked.
He spent the next couple years doing terrible tasks, mainly driving out wild pigs from the hospital’s sewer system.
Finally he had their trust. They let him inside the hospital just to be with the people dying.
After I talked to this man and heard his story, and spent the day with the orphaned children of these people he had sat by as they passed away,
I lay on the rooftop of the house I was staying in, another emotionally draining day, overwhelmed.
I looked up at the stars and thought of the suffering I had seen around me. Children locked in mud huts left to starve. Girls selling their bodies night after night.
The question surfaced, deep within, surprising me.
I was listening to my Ipod on shuffle and a song by Death Cab for Cutie came on.
“And it came to then that every plan is a tiny prayer to father time…
It describes waiting in a hospital room. Then the bridge came,
“Love is watching someone die.”
I choked, eyes welling up with tears, at the same time sensing an overwhelming Love around me.
The answer came.
I know by now it is not God who causes tragedy. I have grown to dislike when people throw out the phrase,
“God is in control.”
Ok. So, he controlled these babies dying, these women getting abused?
We’ve done a great job messing things up pretty badly. Whether it’s human’s doing or just the broken world we live in, God is continually doing an even better job redeeming all things.
That is why I write.
That is why I go on.
That is why I still believe.
And that is why I am not afraid of those three words anymore.
A friend of mine once said,
“What if we just woke up every morning and asked God to show himself in everything?”
And He will.
He is always good. He is always love. No matter what.
And if that’s all I know, I am fine with that.
Even if the prophets and skeptics are right and all goes to hell tomorrow.
Even if for reason’s unknown, I have to walk through unspeakable grief.
Even if this is the beginning of the zombie apocalypse.
Love will always win.
Redemption will always happen.
Because God is Love.
He is redemption.
Know this above all else, and life will always be worth living.