Monday, February 25, 2008


Are Christians afraid of sorrow?
Yes, and why not, you may ask.
An article I read recently discussed the tendency of Christians to rush to happiness and to generally shun full-throated lamentation.
The extremities of which are the prosperity preachers, the name it and claim it proponents, also known as the blab it and grab it disciples.
I don't think I need to spend any time discrediting that particular line of thinking.
But the majority of us find ourselves in the middle.
We are so averse to trouble that we're in a terrible rush to justify every misfortune or tragedy that befalls us. One might think we were attempting to justify God to others.
Not so much. I think we are trying to justify God to ourselves.
One obstacle that has always presented itself to me when contemplating a direct request to God is just this. What will I do if God does nothing in response to my request?
The initial problem may well be that of complacency. I have no needs so desperate that I cannot afford to make do without them. Well enough. No point in making a mountain out of every molehill. (But then, had I the faith, every mountain would be a molehill.)
Too many mountains. No problem. I'll climb them.
God no doubt watches me strap on spikes and sling ropes and picks over my back at the foot of every molehill and quietly urges a new perspective.
Hearing no earthquake, fire, or whirlwind, however, I carry on. I'll save the mustard seed for when I really need it.
So it is with sorrow. We are deathly afraid of that which we cannot put in a box labeled Romans 8:28.
Upon a tragedy or mysterious problem we immediately begin casting about for answers to the riddle until we find one that is presentably plausible. Having a good reason to look at makes us feel better. The reason might be something so simple as God wanting us to not have to look for a reason.
Or bluff.
"That didn't hurt so much."
You'll notice that although Job did an awful lot of complaining, we're told he never once sinned with his mouth.
And you'll notice that although God set him straight, He was proud of him.
At the end of the book Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis, Orual concludes, "I ended my first book with the words, no answer. I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You yourself are the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice? Only words, words; to be led out to battle against other words."
And to Job's anguished question, God replies, "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?"
When we receive the answer to our questions, we are not so much awed by the answer as by the futility of the question.
The answer to these riddles undercuts the posing of them.
We have no right ask the question.
Yet, when we do, God supplies the answer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very good,although a little over my head.