Friday, March 31, 2017

Why, Lord?

Have you ever been tempted to cry out with King David and with Christ, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" (Psalm 22, Matthew 27:46)

Or perhaps even to exclaim with Jeremiah, "Why did I come forth from the womb to see sorrow and pain, to end my days in shame?" (Jeremiah 20:18)

And then there is Job who lost so very much and says, "Man born of woman is short-lived and full of trouble." (Job 14:1)

Being human is hard. It's a tough gig.

When I said this to a counselor friend, she added, "Yes, and no one gets through unscathed."

At the very least we all wish our precious children would. The problem of evil becomes excruciatingly personal when it affects them.


We get into the habit of comparing our family's or our personal burdens to those that others carry. But suffering is suffering. Pain is pain. And we all have our cross to carry up a hard hill.

It is easier, I believe, if we are following Christ up Calvary, eyes on our beautiful Redeemer, remembering that he chose a criminal's cross for our sake - and that He now helps us with ours when we ask for His strength, love, peace, and courage.

God in Jesus Christ has given suffering meaning. We carry our crosses, and we unite our suffering to His, knowing full well how he can transform it for the sake of others and for our own lives, too. After the Passion and Crucifixion of our Lord, there is Easter morning.

If suffering had no meaning, if it was not redemptive at all in all its many forms, then human existence would be nearly intolerable at times.

Yet, by God's grace our crosses can make us more compassionate, more patient, and, astonishingly, more grateful. By God's grace that cross can inspire us to become far richer in the supernatural love for God and others known as charity.

But it is still a cross, rough and weighty. It's okay, I think, to sometimes ask, "Why, Lord?" as David, Job and Jeremiah did.

Why did this happen to my child? Why this cross for her?

Why do our angels, given charge over us, not intervene more often, even without request? Is it because free will, ours and others, is paramount?

Why did such a terrible thing happen to a really nice person?

Why is it so darn hard to overcome my weaknesses when I know how I should change?

Why is there so much evil and chaos in the world when God is loving, merciful and good and we are made in His image?

We don't get our answers, it seems, in this life. But, miraculously, if we persist in hope and love, we are able to praise God even in our distress and uncertainty as the king, "blameless and upright" servant, and prophet did.

Bless the Lord, my soul;
all my being, bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, my soul;
and do not forget all his gifts,
Who pardons all your sins,
and heals all your ills
Who redeems your life from the pit,
and crowns you with mercy and compassion,
Who fills your days with good things,
so your youth is renewed like the eagle's. (of David, Psalm 103:1-5)

Sing to the Lord,
Praise the Lord,
For he has rescued the life of the poor
from the power of the evildoers! (Jeremiah 20:13)

Then Job arose and tore his cloak and cut off his hair. He fell to the ground and worshiped.
He said,
"Naked I came forth from my mother's womb,
and naked shall I go back there.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
blessed be the name of the Lord!" (Job 1:20-21)

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