How dare You, God
Ntozake Shange once wrote “we need a god who bleeds now, whose wounds are not the end of anything.” Out of pain, resentment and fear, I hear those words echo like a song clinging to my vocal chords. Maybe our human wounds often feel like the end of everything.
When I am in safety and strength, when I can look around me and breathe out with joy that “life is good,” does that heighten my belief that I am loved and protected by a God who is Almighty? Does that make me believe that He is infinitely good?
When I am in chaos, in the midst of fire and in storm, am I prone to believe that He is less merciful, less loving, less of Who I always thought He is?
I’d like to concede the latter to be false, but the evidence of my thoughts and actions beg to plead a different case.
Because a vulnerable 20-year old never deserved the abuse he endured.
A 7-year old girl should never know how it feels to be sexually abused.
No one should be burned alive in the place they call home.
A father, a brother, an uncle in Cleveland, should have sold his car peacefully without a gunshot wound leading to his death.
The news headlines should never need to report 13 deaths and 100 injuries in Barcelona.
And at 2am no one should ever hear that there is a foreign mass growing uninvited in their sister’s brain.
Yet these events and ones of even greater calamity continue on, and here we are, humanity in all our helplessness, left to fend for ourselves, left wounded and crying out to end all the earth shattering pain that surrounds us. And there are those of us who have sang every single hallelujah, who have been pushed further than our knees, face to the ground, wondering ‘how dare you God’ allow any of this to happen.
How dare you,
Amidst the thousands of unanswered why’s, there is a man who is sick named Lazarus, the brother of a servant woman, Mary. Upon hearing of his deathly sickness, Christ should have ran to heal his ailing body, to wipe away his physical suffering and the emotional turbulence Mary and Martha were experiencing. But He didn’t.
“So, when He (Jesus) heard that he (Lazarus) was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was.”
He stayed a long and dragged out 4 days, allowing deaths grip to take hold of Lazarus’ weak body, and grief to sweep through his family like a storm.
Why didn’t He stop this?
Why didn’t He care?
Did the sacrifice of the weeping woman at his feet deserve such grief?
How dare you,
The corpse was left rotting for 48hrs in the tomb, then “Jesus said to them (his disciples) plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.” John 11:14-15
What about Lazarus and Martha?
What about all their family and friends?
Was their suffering worth the belief of the 12 followers?
“Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.””
What about Mary’s sake?
“Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?”
They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
Had he come earlier, would he not have spared himself and all of us the tears and the grief?
When I realise that too many questions will always remain unaccounted for, maybe those two words are enough to let all the questions remain unanswered. Maybe those two words are the only words that can really soften our hearts to a God who not only allows calamity, but weeps and grieves over it too. Because our alternative is resentment and anger; which I have found to be the heaviest loads to carry, too great for our fragile human hearts.
Maybe deeper than all our questions and pain, the soul cannot rid itself of a truth it bears; the presence and goodness of God. Maybe this is the real problem: the collision between the world’s realities and the Truth give birth to a frustration. A frustration of struggling to live in the the tension of the Truth that God is so good, yet so much calamity surrounds us.
In the tension, sometimes all there is to do, is to raise our hands in surrender, pleading with the Psalmist,
“Restore us, O God;
Cause Your face to shine,
And we shall be saved!”
There are questions unanswered, there will be a million more.
Here’s to our fragile, questioning, human hearts, that are fighting to hope and believe in the glory (“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” John 11:4)
No one can ever minimise your suffering.
God is good. Life can be hard.
Yet His wounds are not the end of anything..