I wish when I blogged I could be as eloquent as some writers are. You know those writers, the ones who can pull you in and write so fluidly about their discovery that by the end, you too have reached an epiphany about life? I’m not good at that. Usually, when I blog about what’s actually in my heart and soul it’s as messy as the thoughts going through my head. I tend to just sit and type and publish, without editing. This, of course, can get you in trouble. Filters are good and necessary for the preservation of self and relationships.
This isn’t one of those posts that I worry might cross some line in putting too much of me or my life “out there” for people to see. This is simply one that I’m finding a hard time tying up in a nice little bow. I’m wrestling with so many things right now and have had more than my far share of thoughts today to share it all with any coherency.
I’ve started writing this post several times, not really knowing where to take my inspiration. I thought about talking about the fact that I watched The Matrix Trilogy for the first time ever this weekend, and since I watched it all together I thought about referencing the beauty of Hope mirrored in its story. Or the fact that the Frenchman believed in “causality” only, a perfectly human need, despite the fact that he was a computer program.
I thought about referencing this blog post, suggested to me by a friend. It’s one of those eloquent posts I mentioned earlier, one that lets you into just enough of the author’s life to not compromise her but to really understand her and have your own epiphany. I thought I would explain that I think in a similar way to her, that I too, find myself defining my life, my questions, and my quests in the negative rather than in the positive.
But then I stumbled across this blog post that had this verse from John 9:1-3 that so perfectly reconciled for me how God can have soverignty over our creation without having culpability in the flaws of our humanity. It so clearly answered the questions from the previous post that stumbling across the words could be considered serendipitous if I were one to believe in fate.
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
One of the things the blog post mentioned was the human need to recognize causality. The question to Jesus in John 9 shows that inherent need: to reconcile the suffering (the effect) we need to understand the cause (his sin, his parent’s sin). That’s what causes such heartache and suffering when bad things happen and we don’t know why. We understand causality and find comfort in it. We think we need the whys and the hows. Jesus tells us that’s a flawed need. We don’t need the whys and the hows. We need Him, we need God.
One thing I don’t think I expressed well in my last post was the fact that I don’t think I am the only one who ever has these questions. I am not alone in my suffering or in my questioning, today or any day in the story of humanity, as so many stories from the gospels show. Passages such as this simply reaffirm my belief that God really knew what He was doing with Jesus’ part in the story.
And such passages make my heart ache when people can’t understand how very relevant the words of Jesus are to every single person today. Because Jesus didn’t speak to a certain person or group of people in a certain culture at a certain time. Jesus spoke to humanity, the thread that binds us all together; the condition that transcends time, culture and individuals.
And that human condition, THAT is what is, in-and-of-itself, imperfect and flawed. Not the blind man, not me, and not you. And it’s not by His doing, but by ours. Again, transcending time, culture, and individuals; bigger than my sin; bigger than one sin by many or many sins by few; a condition impossible for humans to escape because it is the humanity itself that is flawed.
Yet, despite how intrinsically flawed we are, we are so blessed, and undeservingly so, to have a God who CAN overcome our humanity, who suffered humanity himself to do so. And we are even more undeservingly blessed by a God who offers to us the ability to Know Him, who can turn our mourning to dancing and our suffering to joy, who offers us the chance to reconcile our imperfect humanity with His perfect holiness.
And truly, isn’t that the bigger mystery? Look at the world today. Look at the greed and the selfishness and the anger and the lust and the gluttony and the hard-heartedness; the obstinance and the self-glorifying and the impatience; look at the negligence and the self-righteousness and the arrogance and the self-importance. If you look for these qualities, you won’t have any trouble finding them. All you have to do is look at me.
I’m human. I understand causality so I should understand suffering in this imperfect world and this imperfect human condition…
But Grace? What an idiot I am to question suffering and not stand in complete and total awe of Grace.
God, You continue to prove to me just how big you are, how You’ve anticipated the needs of your children, though we are undeserving of such consideration. And yet I continue to act like a petulant child, expecting and demanding that you give that proof, that you make good things happen, that you be my private geni to make all things good. I sit and expect Grace rather than being brought to my knees because of it. Please forgive me.
I’ve been asking the wrong questions. I’ve been wrestling with you over the wrong things, over things beyond my control, but fully in Yours. Suffering? How can I not understand suffering? Even if I can’t see direct causality, I can understand suffering, imperfection and crumminess. It is all more than deserved. How self-centered, how imperfect, how HUMAN of me to simply expect Your Grace without a hint of awe or wonder and question your soverignty over my suffering. Father, forgive me.