Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 30: Whatever For, Sandy Hook, Lesson in Faith

The question from agnosticism is, Who turned on the lights?  The question from faith is, Whatever for? . . .

That's a pretty big distinction Dillard makes.  Who? or Why?  I guess, as a person of faith, I have to go with the second:  Why were the lights turned on in the first place?  I've never really thought about faith like that before.  Of course, I've always had questions about God, but I've never doubted His existence (well, maybe once or twice as a teenager).  My big questions were things like "Why does God allow things like the Holocaust to happen?" and "Why do people have to suffer horrible diseases like cancer and AIDS?" and "Why does God allow people to put coconut in candy bars?"

I don't have any answers to any of those big questions, any more than Dillard does.  Terrible things happen every day.  Things without rhyme or reason.  I can't imagine that the Creator had a hand in Columbine or Sandy Hook.  The world is a really broken place.  God didn't break it.  Human beings did.  We break it every day through hatred and racism and xenophobia and homophobia and Islamophobia and any other kind of phobia you can name.

I have diabetes.  My wife suffers from bipolar disorder.  My life has been touched by a whole bunch of addictions--alcohol, prescription drugs, pornography, sex, food.  God didn't put those things in my life because he was testing me.  I'm not Job.  Sure, I could tear my clothes, throw ashes on my head, and shake my fist at the heavens.  I could go all Old Testament.  But that's not where God is, either.

God comes into the picture in how I react to the challenges in my life.  Do I lose hope and faith?  Turn my back on God when it feels like He's turned His back on me?  That's the easy thing to do, I think.  The big ole middle finger to the Master of the Universe.  Anger is simple and, in a strange way, satisfying.

The hard thing to do is to try to find God in the middle of a shitty situation.  That's where faith is really put to the test.  One of my sisters hasn't stepped foot in a church since my other sister's funeral in August, 2015.  She's that pissed.  Of course, she doesn't see that she's also absolutely miserable.  Happiness is always out of her reach.

This afternoon, I found out that I will be teaching two courses next semester at the university.  That news after a couple months of profound anxiety.  Plus, the classes are pretty good.  Ones that I've taught recently.  Now, at the end of this whole period of worry, I'm sitting in my office at the university, thinking to myself, "What a waste of time all that hand wringing was!"  I know that, if I had just laid my problem at God's feet, I would have saved myself a whole lot of misery.

Saint Marty was given a lesson in faith today.

Even Adam had questions

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