Monday, November 21, 2005

Just a little talk with Jesus...

This afternoon, a young man walked into a mall in Tacoma, Washington with a rifle. He began randomly firing at shopper and employees. Then, he took a group of them hostage in a record store. The police eventually negotiated his surrender and the safe release of all of the hostages. In the end, six people had been injured, one critically.

As the news report ended, I was overwhelmed with pain. My heart goes out to the people who were caught in the crossfire, the witnesses, the injured and the families of the injured. But the pain that I felt wasn’t theirs, it was the boy’s. The unbelievable hurt, rage and confusion that would lead someone to walk into a store and open fire on innocent people. It’s mind boggling.

That happens to me sometimes. I’m always very attuned to the pain of others, but every once in a while I can feel their pain as if it was my own. Through some odd confluence of inherent temperament and spiritual gifting I’ve become like a human suffering antenna. It's like I was at the Holy Ghost Super Powers Store and the guy behind the counter was like, "Sorry we're all out of Walking on Water and Raising The Dead, how about some Empathy." Not exactly the intuitive choice, given my emotional illiteracy. Although, I am strangely more adept at managing the emotions of others than my own.

Anyway, I was overwhelmed. I was bawling, yelling at God, and working a Soduku. I’m also a whiz at multi-tasking, a much more practical and enjoyable gift. Surprisingly, the “HARD” Soduku puzzle became considerably less difficult once my emotional tirade began. Go figure.

In a class that I’m taking, we discussed the fact that God, being omnipresent, is present while we’re being hurt. And though he’s not always prone to divulging the reasons why bad things happen, he may be more forthcoming regarding his whereabouts and activities at the time of the incident in question. Understanding this is a vital component in forgiving God and healing. With that in mind, my response was “I don’t care where you were and what you were doing. I just want to know why you let that boy be hurt like that, even though you knew what it would lead to.”

God countered with His free-will speech. He went on to say that He loves that young man more than I could ever imagine, the same way that He loves me. And seeing him hurt, hurt Him more than I could imagine. He reminded me He had done the same thing with Jesus. Which led me back to my original question of how he could just stand there as if he were powerless, when he can do anything, when he can do everything.

“I don’t like you when you do that.”

“I made sure that no matter what happened, his life was spared. As long as there’s life, there’s hope.”

“But there’s so much pain.”

“But there’s hope.”


“But there’s hope.”

So, that went on for a couple more rounds until I gave up and moved on to tell him that I didn’t understand how he could stand to watch and feel as we hurt each other. It would suck to do that all day every day. He went back to free-will, saying that making us free to hurt each other made us free to love. So, I said had he not given us free will we could have just been made to do the things that we do to show we love each other. We do good stuff all the time without our hearts being in the right place. He didn’t respond, leaving me to reason within myself about the value he places on motives versus actions. I let that one go.

“So how can we hurt each other so badly, if we’re really made in your image?”

“You’re made in my image with the power of life and death.”

We talked for a little while longer and I finished the Soduku in record time. I’m not a really an overly competitive person when it comes to sport, I enjoy winning as much as the next guy, but losing isn’t a big deal. Debates, however, are another story. I like to be right, and I like to have the other person(s) concede that I am right. And if I don’t have the answer, I want to make sure that the other person isn’t any closer to having an answer than I am. I rarely engage God in this type of discussion for that very reason.

I don’t know why I am sharing this exchange, but I am. So, there you go.


At 2:43 PM, November 25, 2005, Blogger Kingfisher said...

"So how could I ever argue with him, construct a defense that would influence God?...As it is, he knocks me about from pillar to post, beating me up, black and blue, for no good reason." Job 9 (Peterson version)
Sometimes there's just no reasoning with God. Being good doesn't mean he isn't dangerous (per C.S. Lewis). At times its down right frightening to believe in him, ignorance would bring more bliss.

At 9:56 AM, November 28, 2005, Blogger The Black Sheep said...

Truly, there are moments when being obliviously asleep would be easier.

Great C.S. Lewis quote, never heard that one before.

Thanks, kingfisher,



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