Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Helpful Observation

Back from the hospital after a long day... we're hopeful that all will be ok. The comment to my last post from Shiloh Guy was very helpful and an encouragement to me (assuming you discount the nice things said about me!), and reminded me of something important to add to my one-sided conversation here.

I've been writing about discipline, and how I'm trusting God's purpose and plan in all of the circumstances of my life - even the bad ones. But it's so normal to ask "why?" For example, why does my young son suffer? How can a father even begin to comprehend suffering of that nature - so far out of my control - how can anything good be found there?

C.S. Lewis' book A Grief Observed is a treasure of honesty in the midst of suffering; so personal that Lewis published it anonomously. Towards the end of the record of his wrestling with God following the death of his wife Joy, he made a statement which resonates with me tonight - when I'm thinking about today's "why" questions:

"When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of 'no answer.' It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, 'Peace, child; you don't understand.'

Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask - half our great theological and metaphysical questions are like that."

I'm not sure about the percentage he mentions, but I think Lewis was on to something important. I thank God that His ways are higher than mine... that He has a greater plan and purpose than my mind can comprehend.

I don't want to stop asking questions. And life cries out sometimes with them... But I don't have to be overwhelmed by them. We do really "see through a glass darkly" now.

So while many of my questions are unanswered, I still find comfort in the character of our God... I believe that He's worth loving, following - and even trusting - regardless of my understanding of the path along which He's leading me.

1 comment:

Shiloh Guy said...

Well said, my brother. You well know I am not particularly gifted in the area of mercy but I am at least feeling the struggle your lovely wife and you are carrying on. You express your heart well. There are tears in my eyes and prayers on my lips.