We all need to face it at some time, perhaps even many times. “Why did God let this happen?” Even if we don’t say the words, the question wells up within us.
In the last couple of years there seems an unusually high number of such situations in my corner of the world among those I know and love. Young adults burying a spouse; parents burying their children in the prime of life; little children burying their parents; accidents, wounds, and sicknesses that weaken, maim, and linger; plans for great things patiently and lovingly made then cruelly destroyed; innocence carefully protected then devastatingly undermined; those entrusted with profound obligations failing the people who so needed them. The list goes on, as human life goes on.
I dare not offer some kind of ‘explanation’; I could not do justice and would over simplify that which should not be over simplified. I do but offer one observation.
With my own eyes, in a number of these oh-so-real situations, I have seen something which I do not think I otherwise might ever have seen. It can sound trite, yet the reality is anything but. We can choose to believe, to trust, and to keep on loving; no matter what. That is what I have seen.
To say of those suffering ‘what else were they to do?’ is to miss the truth. Those of whom I speak—and this is certainly not true of all in such situations—made a choice they did not have to make. They chose to open their hands, to open their eyes, and to open their hearts. Even as it seemed a knife was being driven in further. And they said in effect, “This does not change what I’ve always known to be so.” “It is all gift.” “We are so blessed.”
Yet something thereby does change. Now they do not simply know what they’ve always known. They have come to know it better. Now they see, from a vantage they could not have found, but has nonetheless been offered to them.
And offered to all of us looking on. We look in wonder. And we see through their eyes and through their choice. What was given to them is now a gift to us too: an inestimable gift we might never have found on our own. This is ours to receive, and to keep receiving. Together. As human life goes on.
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