Monday, February 22, 2010


I have to be honest. If ever I were to lose my faith, it would be days like yesterday that would do it.

I don't get death. I can't wrap my head around it. I hate it.

Biologically, I understand how life ends. Even theologically; I can accept that we live in a broken world and bad things happen sometimes. But that age-old question of why the innocent suffer, why the meek have to go gently into that good night - I just can't live with it.

Old age is different. In that case, death is a release. A life well-lived is the legacy. Leaving behind an aged body for a new one in glory - that sits with me just fine.

Likewise 'deserved' death, if you can call it that. A life of drug or alcohol abuse, fast and hard living, ravaging the body until it can no longer sustain life; or the drunk driver who heads out and drives straight into a telephone pole. I may not like it, but I can accept it.

But days like yesterday, I just can't make sense of. A father and his family, all gathered in a hospital room, his infant daughter kept alive solely with the aid of machines. And his choice to keep her alive with those machines, or to turn them off and let her die. And this no sickness, no disease, no result of sin; this a tragic accident, a choking in the night.

The family held her and loved her. I baptized her, splashing the water on the wisps of hair covering her head. We prayed, I anointed her with oil, signing the cross of Christ onto her forehead. We claimed the promise that she belongs to God, is loved by God and her family here. And we released her into God's care.

Later her father held her as she breathed her last.

I'm going to say it here, for the world to see. I think God has got a lot of explaining to do someday. This is not how it's supposed to be. And any who would try to offer up an explanation will fall desperately short.

I don't doubt God's goodness. I don't doubt that eternal life awaits God's children. I don't doubt that the blood of Jesus still saves. Don't worry about that.

It's that place where answers evaporate and hope seems all that's left - I confess I don't like it. In fact, I hate it. I can't accept it. It's not how this world is supposed to be. The silence of God is thundering.

It was a hard day.


Kim said...

I cried as I read this. Really cried. I have no words, only understanding.

Janet Oberholtzer said...

I'm sorry!
I'm sorry for the families loss and for your hard day - sometimes this world just sucks!

Mandolynn said...

When I was seven years old, our family lost a baby that was born with a heart defect. The baby lived for almost three months, with my parents having to make a decision like you describe in the end. My mother has never recovered. Never. Accepted it, trusted God with it, lived with it, loved in spite of it, but still never really healed. It's an ache that can't be healed on this side of the veil. This is the verse from a hymn of her childhood that she had engraved on the baby's headstone:

"We'll know why clouds instead of sun,
Hung low o'er many a cherished plan,
Why life was ceased when scarce begun,
Not now, someday, we'll understand."

God's strength to all involved. I know how much it will be needed.