The Why That God Doesn’t Answer
This blog has afforded me a number of privileges, the greatest of which has been the connections I’ve made with those in the blogging community who are grieving. Grieving hard.
Young woman who have lost their spouses. Suicides. One man whose wife was raped then murdered. Miscarriages. Then, there are the slow deaths from dementia / Alzheimer’s / cancer, and the limbo of wondering, “What is wrong?” as the dementia turns to anger, abuse and eventual death.
Tragedies. All. Darkness I’ve been privileged to feel.
Many have expressed that they’ve wrestled with the “why” that God doesn’t answer.
The “why” that expects a response. The “why” that pastors say will one day be answered in the next life, when our perspective is clearer and our hearts are closer to God. The “why” that some Christians claim is soothed by the soft, quiet voice of the Holy Spirit. And others dismiss because they know with certainty that death was somehow “God’s will.”
Yet, for many believers, and nonbelievers, the answer to this why cannot hold out to the next life. For too many this “why” is answered, not by the soft, quiet voice of the Spirit, but by the darkness of silence.
A “why” that is only multiplied by silence. A “why” that grows into disbelief and continues to be solidified by the silence that started it.
The other week we held the funeral for a 50 year old that was killed in a motorcycle accident at our funeral home.
What made this particular situation more tragic wasn’t just the way he died, but the fact that he left his wife, young son and even his father behind.
As I was parking the family vehicles in the procession line, I spoke with the deceased’s mother-in-law for about 10 minutes.
She wanted to talk and I wanted to listen.
She explained to me that, as there were no witnesses to the accident, the theory is that he lost control of his cycle as a result of a deer jumping out in front of him, causing him to attempt an evasive maneuver and lose control of his cycle.
The mother-in-law explained that nobody knows for sure a deer caused him to lose control – as there were no witnesses — but given his superior riding ability, his familiarity with the specific road he was on, and the fact that there were skid marks at the place of his accident all seem to support the theory that he was lost control while attempting to avoid something … that something probably being a deer.
Unknown and unexplainable deaths can often lead to a grey and confusing grief. I’ve noticed that grief works its way through a person in a slightly healthier manner when it has some explanation, but when there isn’t an explanation … it just sits like a morning fog.
The forever question of “How did he die?” was answered not with a “real” answer, but with an answer that sufficed … that somehow made the grief that would otherwise be grey and confusing into something something slightly more healthy. It was an answer that we “imagined” from the best evidence we could supply. An answer from our own imaginations.
And I wonder how often the heavy “whys” of death and God aren’t just answered by our own imaginations. I wonder how often we simply speculate based on our knowledge that God is good, that death is bad, the man is somewhat free to mess up … that s*** happens. And after convincing ourselves numerous times over, we simply come to believe that our imagined answer is “the truth.”
The silence to the “why” is so maddening that we just fill it with answers of our own making.
And maybe it’s somehow healthy for us.
And then I wonder if the silence to our “why” might just be due to the fact that God has no answer. Maybe he’s not there at all. Or, maybe we’re asking a question that’s inspired by something that has no response.