By: Rev. Stephen Coleman
One hot summer afternoon, my dad and I were riding in the car together, heading home just after playing a round of golf. Somehow, the subject of the death of his mother arose in the conversation. My grandmother died of cancer at age 62, when she was still a vibrant and engaged person, a teacher of history and French. Her death impacted my father greatly. He could not understand how a good, loving God would allow his mother to die so early in her life in the manner that she did. In his grief and his questions, my dad admitted to me that he turned away from God. Consequently, he turned away from whatever faith he had.
Grief and suffering are hard, difficult, and often unfair. In response to these situations people often draw closer to God or they sometimes turn away from the Lord as my father did.
I do not always have answers to the questions in life. What I do know and believe is that God is big enough to take our anger, our doubts, and our questions in the midst of the grief and suffering we face.
It is okay to yell, scream and even curse at the Lord. The Psalms are full of such expressions (See Psalms 6, 13, 22, 44). The most important thing is to keep talking to God and being honest about your feelings to the Lord. You may find the Lord is closer than you think, helping and healing in ways we cannot see, hear or know.
Paul Claudel, a French dramatist, poet and diplomat, once said, “Jesus did not come to explain away suffering or remove it. He came to fill it with his presence.”
After that conversation in the car, I did not have any further conversation with my Dad about his faith. Yet, what I can proclaim this day is an assurance —- an assurance of God’s love and presence for you and me, for my grandmother, and my father, and for this world.
Help us all Lord, to believe where we have not seen.