How will I ever find God when it feels like he's walked away when I needed comforting the most? I felt betrayed by God after Jacob's accident. I was so hurt and angry. At times, I still am.
There is so much terror going on this world all the time it's a wonder we all don't just curl up in a ball and suck our thumbs in the corner.
The stories you see of heart break and loss are too much for me to take sometimes. I don't ever watch the news because I know all too well the pain a loved one is feeling from the loss that some newsman is flippantly talking about as though he's reporting a non-event. When in reality, the pain surrounding death and innocent suffering is an all-consuming cloud of despair for so many.
It's almost like we overcompensate for the amount of pain around us by numbing ourselves to it by broadcasting it 24/7 and sensationalizing it beyond anything that resembles compassion for others.
So where is God's plan in this suffering? Where is his sovereignty? Where is his divine intervention? I question it all because I don't see much of it. And, for the amount of prayers going up for help - it seems like much of the time we're left down here to fend for ourselves.
Early on in my search for answers, I ran across a talk by German theologian, Jurgen Moltmann, that gave me a little hope. In his talk he referenced a excerpt from Elie Wiesel's book Night. For me, it captures the agony of senseless suffering and the only real answer that provides some hope.
"One day, as we returned from work, we saw three gallows, three black ravens, erected on the Appelplatz. Roll call. The SS surrounding us, machine guns aimed at us: the usual ritual. Three prisoners in chains – and, among them, the little pipel, the sad-eyed angel.
The SS seemed more preoccupied, more worried, than usual. To hang a child in front of thousands of onlookers was not a small matter. The head of the camp read the verdict. All eyes were on the child. He was pale, almost calm, but he was biting his lips as he stood in the shadow of the gallows.
This time, the Lagerkapo refused to act as executioner. Three SS took his place.
The three condemned prisoners together stepped onto the chairs. In unison, the nooses were placed around their necks.
“Long live liberty!” shouted the two men.
But the boy was silent.
“Where is merciful God, where is He?” someone behind me was asking.
At the signal, the three chairs were tipped over.
Total silence in the camp. On the horizon, the sun was setting.
“Caps off!” screamed the Lageralteste. His voice quivered. As for the rest of us, we were weeping.
“Cover your heads!”
Then came the march past the victims. The two men were no longer alive. Their tongues were hanging out, swollen and bluish. But the third rope was still moving: the child, too light, was still breathing…
And so he remained for more than half an hour, lingering between life and death, writhing before our eyes. And we were forced to look at him at close range. He was still alive when I passed him. His tongue was still red, his eyes not yet extinguished.
Behind me, I heard the same man asking:
“For God’s sake, where is God?”
And from within me, I heard a voice answer:
“Where is He? This is where – hanging here from this gallows…”
A powerful story. God, hanging there with the little boy. Not a God who is watching from afar. Not a God who said, ok, this is how this little boy is going to die today and then walks away. But, He's right there feeling the pain and the suffering of those watching and feeling the pain and terror with the little boy.
A God suffering with us? I had never heard this before. But, it touched something inside me that pointed me in a direction that made some sense. If I was going to believe in God, then it couldn't be this monster I thought He might be who just set tortuous events into motion or at the very least allowed them to happen. I just can't accept that notion anymore. I don't believe God wants children or anyone to suffer. And, I can't believe that he just sits back and watches it happen either with ambivalence.
To what extent is God in control or not? I don't know. But, what I can start with is that He is a loving God who is suffering with us and has compassion for us. That adds up to me. It makes logical sense. To believe in a blood-thirsty Monster God who inflicts or allows pain and suffering for his will, glory, and praise is not an option for me anymore.