Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Why do things happen?

On Sunday, I was struggling with the age-old question of "Why?" Why do things happen? I'm a logical person and process things based on what I can know. I become afraid of the things I don't or can't know. I avoid them and only play the games where I know the rules.

The process of merging my logic with faith has been an exercise in accepting that there are things I cannot know. There are many, many things that I will never have the answers to. It reminds me that I am the child and not the Adult. It reminds me that I am the created and not the Creator.

Sunday my logic and faith collided with such force my why question went to a dark place. What if there is no reason why? What if the bad things that happen mean nothing? In a moment of deep darkness, you lose your grip on everything – even hope and purpose.

Much later I recalled a podcast I listened to this year of Rob Bell's Easter sermon. I encourage you to listen to the whole thing (select number 9, March 23, “Boasting Will Abound”, 49:10 minutes), but if you want to get to the why part of it all, skip forward to about minute 34:40. In it he uses a monologue from the movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age where Sir Walter Raleigh is describing to Queen Elizabeth what it's like to sail a vast, unpredictable ocean looking for a land that you've only been told exists. And then Bell says,

Resurrection is the belief that no matter how bad it gets, no matter how dark it is, no matter how long it's been since you haven't seen anything on the horizon, resurrection is the belief that at some point you will see land. You will see land. Others will see land. All of creation will see land. Resurrection is belief that God hasn't given up on this world despite all evidence to the contrary. This world is loved. This world has been rescued and this world will not be abandoned.

You have not been abandoned.
I have not been abandoned.
And, one day, it will all come beautifully into view for everyone.

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