Sunday, August 23, 2015

all the questions

A drunk driver slams into the back of the patrol car our son-in-law is sitting in, he walks away, unharmed.  Those that love him are reminded that everything can (does) change in an instant. The relief at seeing a photo of his chubby-cheeked smile as he holds his infant son brings gratitude (and fears too) in a flood of tears.

A diagnosis changes the path forward. Our friends have come, packed their things, said their rushed goodbyes, and left.  Our cousin has begun his treatment, too young for metastatic Cancer - his relative youth doesn't change his test results. Cancer cuts a path of destruction, those that pray and love the patient(s) refuse to stop hoping and asking for miraculous healing.

A four year old in Texas drowns. The end of a young life cut way too short yields sorrow and grief and questions that extend far beyond Texas. Those that love his family refuse to stop hoping, praying for the grief to be bearable and the healing to begin.  

A woman in Haiti spends the night searching for help for her sick child, only to be turned away again and again.  Her baby dies in her arms between hospitals.

It has been several years since my boxed-up with a bow theology was destroyed. It was bound to happen at some point. To this day it remains a messy and uncomfortable thing - for which I am grateful. Boxed up is false.  All the answers is a way to create comfort. It lacks honesty. All the answers were never meant to be ours. Early 2008 our infant daughter fought Pneumococcal Meningitis in Haiti and lived. That same week, another family in Colorado, with the same diagnosis, suffered the loss of their child. I cannot explain what broke, but I knew I did not understand the questions, let alone the answers. 

"Suffering often has a way of stirring up our need for theology. 
We are beings wired for logic, we want the dots to connect. How can we exalt a God our hearts adore, without questioning the evil our eyes behold?
Don't ask me to rectify tragedy with theology. Frankly, I don't know how to. My lips will spill plenty of "I don't know's" and my answers for you will come in tight hugs, a hot meal, and shared tears.
But, here's the thing. I believe we are given all we need (2 Pet. 1:3). So I can't help but think that if healing were to be found in the answers, we would have them. 
I can't help but wonder if by some miracle we were given all theological understanding, that we would find ourselves...lacking.
What I'm learning is that Jesus is perfect theology. 
What I'm remembering is that there are two realities at war here. 
What I am sure of is His character. And when I can't seem to rectify that character to my circumstances, then I will choose to step in to what I know instead of what I don't know.
What I know is that He is a good, good Father. 
What I know is that the enemy steals life, and Jesus gives life. 
What I know is that there is this Great Story, in which all redemption comes to pass, where mercy overcomes with finality, and this need for answers falls away under the weight of glory. 
What I know is that everything He touches is redeemed. 
What I know is that His pursuit is relentless.
His peace is overwhelming.
His comfort is steadfast. 
He weeps. I believe he weeps.
So, there's so much I don't know. There's so much I question. 
In this moment, we choose to step into the reality of heaven. This reality that we pray will pour over our friends like a wave of cool water upon burning skin. This reality that will sustain them through indescribable grief. This God, this Rescuer, to be the stability of their times (Is 33:6). Our Perfect Theology who offers all we need for healing. We step into that. And so our lips will spill plenty of hallelujahs and our arms will lift in praise. 

Our answers will come not in what is explained but in what is received. 
He is mercy. 
That I know."

-Keri Duckett
(Pronoun edits and emphasis made with permission of author)