Let me confess a particular irritation with God. For some of you I’ll come across sounding like an immature believer whining about how hard it is this side of heaven. You might just write me off as mindlessly leaning into feelings instead of faith. That very well may be the case, but I pray for God’s patience, and yours, as I throw a bit of a tantrum. You see I’ve grown weary of God’s delay in restoring us from the brokenness and pain in this world. I’m frustrated that he hasn’t come to our rescue yet. I’m dumbfounded at the notion that God is “waiting” while his children drown in a sea of pain, death, and fear. Seems to me like a loving God would be getting here at breakneck speed to rescue his children. What in heaven’s name is He waiting on? I know, I know, some of you have answers to that question. There’s a good chance I’ve heard them in my 30 plus years of being a part of church. They just don’t cut it at the moment.
My wife Christina works at a children’s hospital. I’m there fairly often because one of our daughters has physical therapy at the same hospital. It’s heartbreaking as I sit and watch broken and diseased kids stream through. I always smile and imagine what it would be like for them to be restored. In my mind I say, “just wait kid, God’s going to fix that!” These kids walk awkwardly, some of them have bodies distorted from some debilitating, often rare disease. They’re bald because of cancer treatments, contorted, or exiled to a wheelchair. One kid I saw on a recent visit could only grunt and moan with his shriveled up hands flailing spastically around, every time he made a sound. I won’t even go into the stories my wife tells me. I marvel at her capacity to prepare parents for the deep grief of loosing a child. C’mon God, you can end this!
Sometimes I can’t tell if believing in God is a help or a hindrance. It would be easier if I weren’t a believer then I wouldn’t have expectations of God. I don’t blame him for the pain I just can’t get over why he hasn’t done anything about it. Then there’s the tension of reading the Bible and seeing God display his power but not seeing that same power on display today. I know he has the capacity to end cancer. So maybe if not for adults then how about pediatric cancer? Didn’t Abraham negotiate a deal with God in his day? Is there a deal we can make, to at least get a bit of a reprieve?
So, I’m still left scratching my head wondering why God doesn’t act and act decisively, visibly, and immediately?
Several days ago I stood in front of a woman who 6 months ago lost her husband to cancer. He was in his forties. They have 2 kids. She held back tears as she shared with me the journey of grief they’ve been on. Their teenage daughter can’t talk about it but she found her crouched in her closet sobbing one day saying she misses her daddy. She’s a talented High School athlete and her daddy would come and cheer her on but he’s not there anymore. Their younger son is getting by, but is understandably heartbroken and confused as to why his daddy is gone.
I don’t mean to be down. If you know me you know I’m an optimist and I smile and laugh a lot but I can’t shake this ache. Maybe it’s my proximity to the pain and grief since ministry brings it up close and personal. Could be, I’m just weary of the journey. Don’t worry I’m not going to jump ship, I don’t believe that’s the answer. I still desperately cling to hope even though my heart aches.