Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Why her?

It was remarkably quiet in Zac's last night. The most peaceful study we've had for ages. It was partly because Gerry wasn't there and also possibly because football on the television kept others away. We continued with the book of Acts and Peter's miraculous escape from prison. Doing this study I'm appreciating all sorts of things I hadn't noticed before and I'm realising that different people find different things important.

Me, I'm not in the least interested in whether they were temple guards or Roman guards but I can see that for some of a more historical bent it could be important. But the big question that was raised last night was the 'why him' type question. Why was Peter helped out of prison by angels when, in the same chapter, James, another one of the original 12 disciples, was beheaded for his faith? Why Peter? Why not James?

It's a question many of us will have asked in various contexts over the years. In my case, specifically, I'd say, why did God allow Anne who had four children under 10, to die of cancer? What was the point of that? What did it achieve? I've known plenty of people who've died too young, including my own mother, but this death, Anne's, was the most cruel.

There are plenty of pat Christian answers and I hate them. 'It's all part of God's plan.' 'It was her divine destiny.' 'You can't see the bigger picture.' Pah!

I don't think there is an answer. We don't know why. Only God knows.

And I suppose at some point in our Christian life we'll all be faced with a question for which there is no answer. And then we have to decide: do we accept it or do we throw in the towel? Or to put it another way: do we have faith in a loving God whom we don't understand but whom we trust? Or do we say, it's all rubbish and I'm not going to believe this nonsense any more?

I made my decision about 24 years ago. Since then I've pleaded with God, I've screamed at him, I've questioned him, I've argued with him, but I haven't regretted my decision.


Mauigirl said...

It is a very difficult question when "bad things happen to good people," as the phrase goes. I of course have been thinking about a lot of these things lately with my mother dying and all and all I can figure is, we don't know what effect any one event has on the rest of the world. Whether God is orchestrating it or not, whatever happens is what happens, and we just have to make the best of it and move on. Because it's possible something good comes out of the bad thing that we feel has happened, but we may never know what that good is, or it may not happen for 50 years afterward, but wouldn't have happened if not for this one bad thing. So that's how I look at it I guess...

CherryPie said...

I don't really know the answer either.

Sometimes it seems quite obvious after someone dies, you can tell they have completed their life's purpose. The person has done so much and the legacy is left behind to be seen.

Other times it isn't so obvious. I always think the answer and reason for things that initially seem tragic will reveal itself in time.

So far that has worked for me...

Leslie: said...

I ponder on this, too. From the time I was a child who finally understood that not all parents were like mine, when Lorne got cold feet way back when, why the man I married ended up dead by his own hand, and now with Lorne being so sick. And today I found out my best friend has breast cancer! God said He would never give us more than we can handle, but sometimes I think "Why me, God?" And then I answer myself with "Why NOT me, God?" I know I have the gifts of mercy and faith but it would be so nice to be able to just relax and KNOW that all will be okay in the end. I do believe it will be, but there's still that "but" that never goes away. I'm glad you can talk about these things openly so we can dialogue even if through our blogs. Thanks, Liz! :)

Furtheron said...

To me this shows there isn't a "grand plan"... life is life and you get the good and the bad sometimes not in equal measure. I know people who've lost children and that is very very difficult to deal with. I've seen very good people get ill young and die and I've seen good people not "get it" and take their own lives - I have a funeral of a young lad like that to go to soon... in jeans and t-shirt as he asked.

Bottom line... Life is Hard. If you have a faith like you have I do somewhat envy you as I don't as I can't see the basis for it. Is there some great force at work in the universe? Maybe. I don't understand those that get angry at God because he allows war, poverty etc. I think - but if you believe in God and he is doing this and you are unhappy with it isn't it your view of God that is wrong here?

The path we all travel trying to figure this stuff all out is the most worn out path in the whole of human existance surely...

Anonymous said...

I hope I don't offend, my disclaimer is that one of my very good friends is a christian! ;0) She asks how I can not believe and I ask how she can believe... I like some of the bhuddist ideas - not sure about shaving my hair or wearing orange though ;0).

Religion has caused a lot of bloodshed, to me the bible is basically a rule book, this how you should live. Add in a bit of fear and you can (in theory) control people.

I just think that we are an evolutionary mistake and everything is random.

Amanda xx

Liz said...

Yes, mauigirl, it could be many years down the line that we see tehresult or we may never see it in our lifetime. May be it's easier not being a Christian to take a 'these things happen' line. Not that it makes dealing with the things any easier but there's not the anger with God as well!

We're all getting through our lives and coping with tragedies of some sort or another, cherrypie, so I guess we've all worked out our own way of dealing with things. Otherwise we'd all be mad or dead!

And this is another angle on the same question, leslie: sometimes one person seems to get far more than her fair share of pain. Why? So many questions for God when we meet up.

Furtheron, I don't believe God does bad things but he allows them to happen. Much of it is down to free will and the choices we make. But obviously not when a young mum has cancer - so I'm going to be angry. Like a child rants at a parent but then when it's over is held close and comforted.

Course you don't offend, amanda! I am more of an evolutionary mistake than most with my six toes!
Religion has caused bloodshed but the message of the gospel is love. Yes, the bible is sort of rule book but the 'rules' are designed to help us and stop us from hurting each other or ourselves. Thou shall not commit adultery: if you do people will get hurt.
The religious leaders who try to control or lead through fear are not following the truth of Jesus.
I think orange would suit you!

Rose said...

I don't know the answers either, Liz, but I do know that when people say in such situations, "It was God's will," I can't stomach it. I don't believe that God controls every part of our lives; we make our own choices. Otherwise there is no sense when two lovely, talented young women (former students of mine) are killed by a drunken driver. Although I believe God is there to help us through such situations, there is a certain amount of fate or randomness, whatever you want to call it, at work in the world.