God is not in control. At least not the way you think HE is. God does not have A PLAN, at least not in the way you envision. It’s meaningless, meaningless. All is meaningless.
It pains me, saddens me, makes me mad when I hear the words, “despite [insert terrible thing that has happened], I keep telling myself that God is in control. that God has [this place / these people] in the palm of HIS hands.”
And while it may be true, in one way or another, while it may be true that God has the whole world in God’s hands, I guess I just don’t buy it.
I don’t buy that there’s some underlying meaning to that death, that massacre, that rape, that miscarriage, that war.
I just can’t buy that God had it out for that particular friend of yours who suffered that particularly horrendous thing, just so HE could make a point later on. I guess I just can’t stomach the idea that God would hand this to you, or to them, or to that entire people, to somehow be glorified.
Or, perhaps more to the point, I’m not sure I can believe that God receives any glory through the incitement of death, massacre, rape, miscarriage or war. It just doesn’t add up.
And I get that we want things to make sense. I get that we want there to be some sort of hidden meaning in the godawful things that happen to us, to our friends and family, to those in the world around us. I get that we want it all to hang together. But sometimes it just doesn’t. Sometimes it makes no goddamned sense.
Sometimes, just sometimes, I’m not sure that God had anything to do with it.
One thing I do know: God may not have fore-ordained that disaster, but God is present in the midst. God is present with us the midst of our brokenheartedness. God is with us in the midst of our despair. God is with us in the midst of death, massacre, rape, miscarriage and war.
And God is not there in some triumphal way. God is not there celebrating another victory enacted through untold violence. No. This is Emmanuel. God with us.
With us. Not against us.
God, through Jesus, has entered deeply and profoundly into the suffering of humanity.
God, through Jesus, has entered deeply and profoundly into the suffering of creation.
But God has not entered into this suffering with easy answers. God has not entered into this suffering to prove a point or activate some sort of bizarre plan rooted in divine violence.
And yet God enters into the story of this long-suffering creation to accompany us, to walk with us, and to invite us into a community of suffering servants who do not now, nor must ever again walk through suffering alone.