He slipped in behind us at the memorial for our friend who lost her battle with cancer. In the few short years that I had known him, he had changed from a sweet little boy of 8 or 9 into a handsome man in the making of 15. Less than two weeks later Doug and I sat, watching the sanctuary fill up with a thousand hurting hearts – gathering to commemorate the life he took in “a terrible tragic moment.”
|Robert "Tex" Higginbotham, Jr.*|
Attending two memorial services in less than one month generates sorrow and bewilderment.
Asking why is not wrong, the pastor said. But from whence we seek the answers is key: conventional wisdom and common sense often aggravate the pain. And when we look inside ourselves, the answers are often a painful dead-end. What we find there is too often guilt, fear, shame, and humiliation, as well as anger, anguish, and confusion – the fruit of the mankind’s Fall. (Genesis 3)
Some may say, “All I can say about Christians: You people will believe anything.” (Randall Dean, Dallas Morning News, Letter, February 4, 2014)
Did God really say . . .? I believe God did say many things that bear on our sorrows, and answer our hearts’ deepest cry. And I believe that seeking Him in the midst of nightmares such as cancer and suicide is the only answer to this anguish. (1 Chronicles 16:11)
Christians believe there is a purpose and hope in every human life that is created – that an infinite and personal God rules and reigns, and one day, death and sorrow will cease. (Psalm 139:13-16; Romans 8:28, 37-39; Revelation 21:1-5) The family whose child -- brother, nephew, grandson – acted impulsively and wrongly, testified nevertheless to the gift this young man’s life was to them and us – and to the gift that God’s Son and Spirit are to them.
And as if by special delivery, I received an e-mail meditation from one who knows a bit about suffering:
Does God ordain? Permit? Plan? Allow? The verb is not so much the important thing as the noun: God. And God is love.
Your ways are higher than mine, Lord, and Your thoughts are unsearchable. I praise You that one day You will give us the key that will unlock sense out of seemingly senseless suffering. ~ Joni Eareckson Tada
Who do people say I am, the Lord asked of His disciples – who do you say I am? (Matthew 16)