MUSINGS FROM MIKE
As I write this I have spent time with several people and families that are struggling with illness, misfortune, difficult times. In Texas, another ten people have been killed in another school shooting and in our own back yard a school bus accident on Route 80 took the life of a student and a teacher.
Why? What did these people ever do to deserve this?
The answer is nothing. Life came along and hit them where they were most vulnerable and the cost to them and their families was huge.
So big that many people want to re-think their faith in God. “What kind of God would permit such suffering?”
My first answer to someone asking that question is to ask them a question? What is it that caused this for you? Where is it coming from and how close is it to your heart? That is important and the way that Jesus functioned with people who asked him hard questions.
If it is coming from a general sense that life is unfair and God has not done a very good job creating us, then I ask the person, ‘How would you make a better world?’ ‘How much responsibility do you want humans to take for things?’ Because the truth of the matter is that humans are responsible for much of the injustice and suffering that happens in our world. But even for undeserved suffering that has no human origin I try to say openly – “Life is like that and my belief in God helps me to know that it is unfair and God’s grace inspires and powers me to fight it.”
If the person has suffered a loss that is very close to them I want to hear more about it. I want to know how to come alongside them and listen just like Job’s friends listened to him. Out of that conversation and with the inspiration of God’s Spirit I pray that I respond in the most helpful way. I try to come alongside people the way Jesus came alongside the human race – in person, with grace, and a huge amount of love in his heart.
There are lots of terrible things that can happen and they leave all of us blasted and vacant feeling. But that is when Jesus steps in to help us be the people of hope, the people of compassion, the people dedicated to making a better world, a world healed from suffering and injustice.
‘I came that you may have life…’ Jesus (John 10:10)