Thursday, July 15, 2010

Making Sense Might Be the Point

CMDA devotionals are typically a highlight for me.  But this one missed the mark!

I think it's a pretty bad sign when one has to resort to Jesus Christ Superstar for theology.  Jesus never said anything like "You're awfully good at what and where but not so good at why" on the way to the cross.

The "why" of Jesus' sacrifice is explained repeatedly in the Scriptures, from the OT ("But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed."  -- Isaiah 53:5.  See also Isaiah 61.) to the NT ("He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him." -- Thessalonians 5:10).

In the case of suffering, Hebrews 11 and Job give us incredible accounts of Christians who endured suffering.  I put a bit more stock in their description than what any uninspired man writes.

This week I saw a sign that said "God is movement, not explanation."  -- Elie Wiesel.  I don't believe this.

(Originally written 10/27/09)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: CMDA <>
Date: Tue, Oct 27, 2009 at 7:30 AM
Subject: CMDA Weekly Devotion - Making Sense Is Not the Point

My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes. Job 42:5-6

This week one of my friends called to tell me that the child of one of my Christian colleagues committed suicide.

About every other year I receive news that one of my colleagues across the country has lost a child they love to suicide. More often than that, I hear of Christian doctors who lose their children or see their children broken by tragic accidents, or drugs, or disease, or alcohol or war. These are Christian doctors who raise their children the best they can during busy lives of service; and one day, they turn around -- and their dear child, for whom they would have given their lives, for whom they had dreamed a future, around whom they had wrapped a chief purpose of their lives--the child they loved is shattered or gone, and all those dreams and all that purpose is gone as well.

This doesn't make sense; not with a God who loves us and Whom we love, not with the effort that many of these parents have put forth in our lives to serve Him. Certainly, great students of the Bible can develop rational thought processes around our unworthiness and God's purpose and free will that provide logic within Christian theology for such losses; but, when it is our child who is broken or gone, it just doesn't make sense. Our brains may check the theologic-logic off as sound but our hearts remain crushed and ignorant. So, what do we do with such unsensical and unbearable tragedy?

Perhaps making sense is not the point. In the rock musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, the character of Jesus is headed for a nonsensical cross and cries out to God, "You're awfully good at what and where but not so good at why." Just so, I suspect that God doesn't want us to dwell very long on the "why?"s linked to suffering in this life, except for those that move us toward corrective action. There are just some things in life that we will never be able to wrap our limited minds around.

The more I learn of God and His work with us, the more I am drawn away from logic into relationship. There is little logic that matters in the chronic suffering of a child or the loss of a child in a world where God loves us and we, as followers of Christ, as servant doctors, do our best for Him. Within the immensity of such loss, the most important path to wholeness and healing leads not toward reason, but into the arms of the God we do not understand. And though we may resist those arms within our pain, until we feel them hold us close we cannot be made whole again. Making sense is a shallow and superficial satisfaction, and far less true to life than the pressure of those loving arms.

Someday, it will all make sense. Some day, we will have all the grand data and see clearly how the many colored pieces of life fit together. Someday, we will see that even our greatest tragedies have been redeemed and that all of our nonsensical pain has turned into joy for us and those we love. But, till that day comes, making sense is not the point.

Dear Father,
Let me ask "why?" briefly, in case You need to correct my steps. But then let me put the question down and run into Your arms. Amen.


So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

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