Wednesday, 18 November 2015

The Beat Goes On

Thank goodness for funny moments.
I suggested to my husband that, as we waited another day for news about his brain illness, we listen to a significant CD together. 
He thought he’d lie down on the couch to hear it. It is a very touching CD by Steve Bell, with music and thoughtful words about dark times. Soon after the album began, as I was grabbing kleenex to wipe my tears, I heard my husband snoring, fast asleep. 
Off to bed he went for a nap while I continued to hear the CD’s wise comfort. 

A few years ago this Canadian musician put out the album called “Solace”, at the suggestion of a dying friend. The music CD comes with a second CD of Steve’s radio interview with several people. They discuss the difficult issue of Christian belief in an all-loving God who allows suffering. Obviously this conundrum has been a puzzle for the ages and comes without any solution, no matter how much faith we have.

During the show, besides a chat with my nephew Dr. John Stackhouse about his helpful book, Can God Be Trusted?, Steve also talked with Lydia Harms. Years ago she was widowed and left to raise four young children by herself. As a long time devout follower of Jesus, she was furious with the way God had let her down by allowing her husband to die so young. 
Not being a shrinking violet she responded aloud to some of the mindless comments people made in their awkward attempts to be polite or helpful during her grieving. One poor man at the funeral wished her, “All the best”. 
“All the best?!” she responded, “I just buried it!"
I think she refrained from actually hitting him.

I need no lesson about raging at God. S/He and I are long comfortable with that kind of honest relationship; God’s love has proved unconditional. 
What I found interesting was Lydia Harms’ admission that her fury at life’s injustice and at God’s mysterious silence in response, still erupts from time to time, even many years after her husband’s death. 
Her mixed and even paradoxical experience of celebrating God’s goodness one minute and feeling angry hopelessness the next, mirrors my own. 

As I wander through the new set of circumstances foisted on me recently, I might sound to others like either a determined spiritual pilgrim, in my gratitude for God’s faithfulness, or like an expert at distraction (three cheers for Netflix), or like a loser Christian who doesn’t really believe any of the bible’s Easter story when things get rough. And yup, that’s exactly what I am, all three of those. 

I am not ashamed of this admission. Only if God is truly greater than our weakest weakness, is there any point to Christian faith.

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