Sunday, December 16, 2012

Why God?

When things do not go the way that we think that they should or that we want them to go, we cry out, “Why, God?

When something horrendous like the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut breaks out, those who suffer the direct effects are hit by such a shock that they are left with little other than to ask and cry out, “Why, God?”

Since we all have suffered shocking things in our lives and we all have suffered some form of loss and grief and anguish and heartache, we all relate to the circumstances of such an event so that we all are inclined to cry out, “Why, God?”

But deep down we know that this is pretense.  We are only pretending not to know why these things happen.  We pretend not to know because to admit that we know the reason is to face reality honestly, which leaves us with accountability, very painful accountability.  We do not want to face this.  We would actually rather allow things to become worse than to face the truth openly and honestly so as to confront the real problem and to deal with it.

Moreover, we know the futility of asking, “Why, God?”

After all, God has plainly told us why.  Even if He had not told us, the answer is plain for us to see.  There is no real mystery here.

No one can escape the truth.  The truth is unavoidable.  We attempt to find ways to bury it or to hide from it, but eventually the truth comes to the fore.  Eventually the light of the truth drives away the shadows in which we lurk so that we stand exposed by the light.

This is true both individually and societally.

Why does shit happen?  It happens because of the sin that is in the world, sin that inheres to each one of us and to society as a whole.  We are sinful people.  We are a sinful society.

We ignore the truth.  We bury the truth.  We lie.  We accept what is wrong and try to excuse it.  We allow what is right to be ignored and denied and even to be persecuted.

We have allowed God to be replaced with free will.  We have allowed creation to be supplanted by evolution.  We have allowed absolute truth to be diminished to relativism.  Theology is rejected for psychology.  Divinely revealed knowledge is cast aside for subjectively deduced reason that is given the pseudonym of science.  Grace is renamed as decision or commitment.  Love for neighbor and brother is replaced by tolerance.

We excuse the sacrifice of children by calling it “choice” and even a “right.”

Is it even possible to find a movie that does not have revenge as part of the plot?  Revenge, murder, selfish gain, selfish disregard for the safety of self and of others through extreme sports and fast driving.  Even running red lights is presented as cool.  Stealing of vehicles and breaking traffic laws is promoted as exciting and even acceptable.  Irresponsible and promiscuous sexual behavior is displayed as the norm.

The answer for people’s problems is taught to be some form of pharmaceutical wonder drug.  Depression is no longer counted as a reaction to grief and suppressed anger so that it now is a disorder caused by chemical imbalance that must be controlled medically.

And then we see the results of our defiance and cry out, “Why, God?”

Thankfully, God is not satisfied with merely answering our belligerent demand.  He does not stop with simply answering the question of why these things continue to happen and to become even more prevalent as society moves farther and farther from Him.  He presses onward to give the answer to the problem.  He actually puts the answer into action.

In slightly over a week we will again celebrate His answer, His solution, His salvation.

For those who are genuinely weary of the pretense and the perpetual denial of truth that always leads to the same disappointing end, He has provided His Gospel.  For those who are truly tired of seeking answers for themselves, He has given His Church on earth and the means of grace.  For those who honestly admit their own helplessness and cry out for real help, He says, “Come to Me and I will give you rest.”

Perhaps it is time that we stop crying out defiantly with, “Why, God?” and come together to cry out with relief, “Thanks be to God!”  This is the great gift of the Christmas season.  His name is Jesus.

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