Pastor Tim at Reluctant Xtian had a thought-provoking post last week with the title of this post. There are things worse than cursing, he says. Things, I would agree, that misrepresent the faith and take us into difficult territory. For my money, his #1 is pretty close to #1:
“It’s all in God’s plan…”Say what?
Which is just a first cousin to my #1:
"God doesn't give us more than we can handle."Both make some tough to uphold presumptions and place God in a really difficult light.
In the same ballpark is to tell a child (or even an adult) that someone died:
"...because God needed them in heaven."Even the Biblical story of Job tosses away all these. Yes, God's voice from the whirlwind doesn't give much comfort...
"After all, I Am God. You weren't there when I created the world, so just be quiet and accept it."...but it comes a lot closer to the trust and truth of the matter.
With Christians spouting some of these vacuous platitudes, is it any wonder that atheists and agnostics have such a difficult time accepting what we have to say? Why do we think we have to have easy answers to these questions? Why do we even think we have to be able to figure out the answers?
Perhaps the greatest comfort may be to know that even when we don't have answers, that somehow in the great ways of God what we are going through can be redeemed. Even when explanations fail- and they almost always will- we can simply accept that this is the way it is. Sure, that is easy for me to say today. I have been through those other times, when like Job iw as ready to yell through clenched teeth. And maybe those days will come again.
But somewhere in the depth of the awesome love of God I can find that answers are not The Answer. As Robert Kennedy quoted the Greek poet Aeschylus:
‘Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.’