Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Unanswerable Faith

I know all the pat answers and once upon a time they even satisfied me. I was one that knew all the "Sunday School answers"..... those answers that are what I'm supposed to know and say but haven't really thought it through, waded through the questions and uncertainties, figuring out where the theoretical meets real life and that things look very different in the midst of these questions. When the questions become reality, it so often seems different.

I've wondered at times what "faith" is.... is it just not thinking? Not allowing oneself to question? We always say that a person has "great faith" when they stoically respond in unwavering trust. I don't think I'll ever be one of those people. I question. I cry out. I want to understand and make sense of life and it is hard to let it go. I know the answers; I know that I'm finite and God is infinite. I know His ways are higher than my own. I know that it is best to have a God I don't understand because if I did, He'd be just like me and how "Godlike" would that be?

We have faith that God sees the big picture and has a plan, but sometimes I really seriously wonder about that. I don't see it. I wonder if God is so omnipotent why can't He accomplish certain things without the things I feel are unnecessary or even cruel. How to grasp a kind, loving, merciful God with so much pain? I know we're fallen; I know this world will bring us pain and to look forward to Heaven. I know.

Sometimes I think there are two sides to me: The one that knows the "right" answers and the other side that isn't satisfied with them.

This week my cousin's best friend, nearly a sister, though one is black, one white, died. I found out about it on Facebook. At first I just thought it was some type of kindness; it was written as a letter to her friend, recounting her character and how much she cherished her. She mentioned their anniversary was tomorrow and she'd miss her. I thought for sure her dear friend, who had been in her wedding just a few years prior, was out of town.

I was mistaken. As it unfolded on Facebook it became clear her friend had died. Dozens of folks were asking what happened? And there was no response.

I wondered if it was suicide, though it did not make sense knowing the little I knew of her friend. But if it was a car crash, that would be mentioned. If it was anything, wouldn't it be made known? WIth the secrecy I assumed it was suicide, and I wondered how a Christian could do that and wondered if it (depression) was chemical, why did God make a person that way?

Today I discovered it wasn't suicide. I don't know much of the details but her friend died of an asthma attack at the "happiest place on earth" while vacationing with her 15 year old and her 2 year old. And it brings me to tears to even contemplate that. What was intended for fun and pleasure transformed to a nightmare. A toddler without a mom. A teenager left to graduate and go to prom without mom's beaming pride and smile. And both left with the imprint of such tragedy.

My pastor last year preached a message that I'm still musing over. He said he no longer believes we have a "death day"...... that our choices dictate our death. Later on when I questioned how God's sovereignty fit in, he called it a paradox and really never fully explained, at least to my satisfaction. There's a part of me that wants God to be in control of EVERYTHING and to think our choices don't really matter. But, of course they do! If I wanted to die, could I do so? Would it be what "God wanted" and "ordained?" Yet...... when there is such tragedy like today, I wonder if it is comfort in knowing that God has it under control and is in control of this and how she died? Or is it a comfort to think he's not in control of the manner she died? Really, which is worse?

I know my answers but for me of little faith, they often fail to make sense and be of comfort. I truly desire to understand. I want to know these answers. I want to know the extent of things. I desire to know a God that is all loving and yet there is so much sadness in the world, and I get it but sometimes it doesn't help.

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