Things are difficult right now as I know they are for a lot of people. I’m not going to list everything that is weighing on my mind, God knows I went over it all plenty this weekend. But one thing that is especially hard right now leads me to revisit my faith, and the people I loves’ faith.
It was over twenty years ago when I met a guy who, when he was growing up, lost his mother to cancer. His name was Greg. His mom was sick for a long time, and from her bedside, he had to watch her suffer. Greg was in his mid-twenties when he talked to me about it. He knew that I lost both of my parents suddenly in an accident, and he was puzzled at how I made it through that ordeal seemingly “intact”, I guess. Greg was openly bitter and angry at God for letting his mother die in front of him. She was a young woman and didn’t deserve to lose her life in such a way! He didn’t deserve to lose his mom at such a young age! He genuinely wanted to know, wasn’t I angry? Didn’t I hate God, or even lose my faith in Him?
First of all, of course his mother didn’t deserve to die! No, Greg didn’t deserve to lose his mother at such a young age! And for that matter, my parents didn’t deserve to die in their forties by a freak accident. However, I do remember being surprised at his question, although I suppose it was a perfectly understandable question. It had never really occurred to me that God didn’t exist, though I’m sure I felt maybe abandoned by Him more than once.
I really didn’t know what to say to Greg, except that my faith is what got me through. I just knew that my parents were with Him, and one day I would be too. He seemed surprised, even skeptical. I added, “If that isn’t true, what’s the point of any of this? What was the point of us even existing?” I asked. “I don’t know”, I said. “I just feel that, somehow, and that’s what makes me want to keep going.” I wasn’t trying to convince him, I was just saying what I felt.
Two people have said to me that they question their faith in the past month. They both know my friend who has cancer. “It’s so unfair, so cruel!” they say. “Why her? When horrible people walk the earth and live well into their nineties? How can He be good?”
I didn’t say anything. Maybe I should have, but they were both so upset that I felt that anything I offered up would sound hollow and inadequate. And they’re right to be angry at the world! I’m angry and devastated too! I’m scared to death to lose her! I’m scared for her family! It shouldn’t be happening to her! We all agree on that!
But, I think God put us on this Earth a long time ago, and we did what we did. I don’t think he picks and chooses who dies when, or what happens to those people over there, and not those other people over here. I think Man has fought and killed. Nations of people die of starvation, while wealthy nations eat themselves to death. We have created things that can cure us, and other things that destroy us. Our cigarettes and old asbestos sickens our lungs, we have deadly car accidents on our interstates, and we make chemical substitutions for the sugar in our coffee. Abused children have grown into adult abusers and even murderers. You get the point. I don’t believe God should be blamed for the consequences of man’s choices.
But, what He did do, is give us love. Love is what makes life matter. I believe that God is that love, and that’s why we’re here. The best illustration of that point that I always think of, is a dying person. Let’s say a man. His last few hours or minutes of his life, what is he thinking about? His job? His stuff? The old grudges he holds against some family member? No! He’s thinking about the people he loves! It could even be a loved one who has died! He loved them! He wants to see them! When you strip away all the crap and junk of your life, what’s left at its’ core is love of another person. I love Victor Hugo’s line in Les Miserables, “To love another person is to see the face of God.”
For love to be right there at the last few moments of life, where only the most important of important things would be…you could say it’s the meaning of life! Makes sense to me! So, when I die, I know with all of my heart that I’m going to be with God and the people I love.
This is what I believe, somehow. I believe it with everything I have. It’s what gets me through devastation and loss, and what makes me grateful for the people in my life. It gives me peace and it gives me hope. If it’s not like this, I just don’t see the point.